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How do I overcome this career crippling block?

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Hi Mark,

I trained as an opera singer some years ago, but I'm really reluctant to go onstage anymore, even though I don't particularly suffer from stage fright or have any memory lapse problems. Nothing really bad has happened to me onstage to put me off. I used to sing professionally and be onstage three to five times a week, sometimes more, and I made a good living. Now my voice is better than ever due to a great teacher, but over the last few years I've backed away from it and manage maybe one solo recital a year nowadays, and I have to be forced to do that.

I've used NLP, I've had hypnotherapy from various therapists, but I can't identify what the block is to fix it. Any ideas on how to fix a block if you don't know what it is? It might be money, it might be that my parents saw being onstage as 'indecent', or it might be that I feel a fraud as I don't come from a musical background. But it didn't stop me at music college from doing well. However, now I can't make that jump back into the profession.

Any ideas would be a huge relief. Thanks and best regards,


This question was submitted by 'Julia'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Julia,

So it's not stage fright. And you know you are better than ever. Your memory is fine and there has been no trauma. I'm guessing you sing fully clothed, so your parents' idea that appearing on stage is 'indecent' is curious. Does it feel 'indecent'? Or have you transcended that particular piece of emotional propaganda? You may be getting closer to the truth of the matter when you talked about feeling a 'fraud', which is typical of maladaptive perfectionism.

Feeling like a fraud is really common (except amongst real frauds). Institutions, organizations, large buildings, and suit-wearing people can all conspire to make us feel a kind of 'how did I get here' feeling. We all inhabit so many different roles. If I had a brother and he became Pope, it would seem strange to me that he was in such a position because he would still 'just' be my brother. When we know ourselves in other roles, it can feel weird to be 'officially recognized' in some way or even lauded.

It's vital to remember that everything around us - every education, legal or governmental institution, idea, club, or organization - was at one time simply...made up by someone. We developed as a primate species and made all kinds of stuff up, just as children make up games. Now, I'm not saying any of these institutions and august organizations are invalid or not valuable, but the fact is none of them were here when we arrived.

Because we, deep down, know this, then many of us fall into the trap of feeling as if we are not really good enough no matter how many (made up by others) certificates we hold. You have been depriving people of your talent and it's time, of course, to stop doing that. I want you to start thinking of the stage not as some place you go to 'perform', but as a chance to really feel at home and to give to others. I have no idea how useful my strange advice is going to be, but I just want you to think about how everything we have was made up, came from someone's imagination, and how the imagination is always playful, no matter how serious it's seen to be. Dwell on that for a while until you feel ready to join the game again and give to others through your talent.

All my best,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - March 4th, 2014 in

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