What NOT to do

What NOT to do
Sunday musings...

So often we are caught up in what we have to DO to progress, to develop,  to build the career,  to grow in our craft.  If you are like me,  you even run lists in your head while trying to fall asleep!

There are lists on stickie notes,  on your smartphone;  lots of ways of keeping track what needs done:  activities, deadlines,  appointments,  auditions,  classes and on and on.  

If you are like me,  I am AMAZINGLY GREAT at making lists.  I am also great about adding to those lists;  making more lists; 

I am not always good about changing those lists - and often I find them later - half done,  sorta done,  not done.

I get down on myself for not always following through with what I feel is necessary to get done. 

I've wondered if perhaps we sometimes should go at things from a different angle.

There are no tricks in developing craft.  Wanting to be able to "do" something isn't going to happen instantly.  However,  recognizing not just what you must do is only half of it;  recognizing what you do NOT need to do is also CRUCIAL.

So,  if you are a list person,  try creating a "I WILL NOT..." list.

What is getting in your way?   Keep it simple,  keep it clear.  Don't try to cross everything off the list immediately.  Maybe begin with several things,  and work for changing ONE THING A WEEK.

Sometimes WANTING something just isn't enough.  Sometimes DOING is confusing.  Sometimes,  recognizing what NOT TO DO/NOT TO WANT allows for more clarity.

Work it backwards.  Here is an example:

I want a job -  I need to audition.  Are you auditioning?

I know it's a schlep,  and it means often an early morning.  So,  don't decide to get up at 5 a.m. every day next week!  Make a decision to NOT hit your snooze for ONE morning next week and get your butt down to that audition.  ONE morning.

See where I am going?

Again, the "don't"s  can be as daunting as the "do"s.  So,  take it easy on yourself.

Instead of saying "Don't be so hard on myself",  specify it one step at a time:  "Don't let a negative thought enter my mind while I practice today".

I have also found - and continue to find - that a balance of "do/don't"  is crucial.

DO something for your business every day.
DO NOT ignore your gut about a possible submission.

DO practice today.
DO NOT practice longer than X number of minutes.

DO get out and work on your physical strength.
DO NOT stay up too late so you are not fatigued.

DO practice today.
DO NOT multi-task while trying to practice today.


One thing at a time.  One day at a time.  One decision at a time.

For everything you DO,  give yourself a DO NOT. 

This will allow you to focus and give yourself permission on more specificity  in your world.

Nothing worth having happens immediately.  Wanting it isn't enough.  Doing isn't enough.  Not doing isn't enough. 

Clarity of focus,  focus of action,  action without self-sabotage.

One thing at a time.  One day at a time. 

DO NOT overwhelm yourself.
DO keep breathing.

Remember what Miles Davis said  "I always listen to what I can leave out.”




Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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