This one is huge for me, and something that I struggled with for a very long time.
There is a distinct difference in being humble and being self-deprecating.
Nobody in the professional world wants their first interaction with you to involve building you back up after you continually tear yourself down. It’s exhausting for them, and that person will likely never call you back.
Because who wants to work with someone that constantly needs reassured, or is so obviously self-conscious about what they’re doing that they can’t stand by their own work?
This might sound a little brash or too straightforward, but it means a lot to me because I used to be this person. I let my self-consciousness immediately come to the fore upon meeting other musicians, and I could tell that they were put off by it.
**Please keep in mind that I’m strictly talking about professional situations. Yes, of course if you’re in the company of friends and feeling weird/self-conscious/unconfident about something, there is totally a time and place to address that and ask for feedback or reassurance. But in the professional world, confidence is key.**
So what’s the solution?
Audit yourself (honestly!) and consider why you aren’t as confident as you could be. Did you cut corners practicing? Is that showing up on the gig? Are you so accustomed to asking for approval that you always come off this way? Whatever it is, you must be honest with yourself, and take the necessary actions to fix it. Self-awareness.
This might mean something concrete needs to happen, like additional practice. It might also mean you have to adjust something in your own personality, like simply telling yourself that you are the bomb if you struggle with self-image, because let’s face it, if you put in the hours inside the practice room (or in whatever profession you're in) and you’re doing the right things, then you truly are the bomb.
Once you give yourself reason to be confident by handling your business and handling your self-image, you then need to worry about the second word above: humility.
What does this mean and how does it manifest?
Once you have the confidence, don’t let it outwardly show. Rock everyone’s world by how you play (or whatever you’re doing), but don’t talk about it.
So, moral of the story:
Ask yourself if you’re self-deprecating in professional situations. Be honest. If you are, find out why. Then handle these insecurities (easier said than done), and works towards confident humility.
It’s a journey to find the right balance, and I don’t think anyone truly has it right. Keep soul-searching, making adjustments, and handling your business.
Thanks for reading!