Monday, March 24, 2014

Your success is not a threat to me

This past weekend I had the honor terror opportunity to play with the Lake Charles Symphony as it provided the music for a production of Prokofiev's Cinderella performed by the Lake Charles Civic Ballet. It has been about 8 years since I've performed in the pit, and the last time was also with the Lake Charles Symphony when I was a student at McNeese.

Me playing flute but totally not from this weekend
For several reasons that I won't go into, I was feeling a little uncomfortable about being there. Okay. I will go into it. Well, just one reason. One of the reasons was because I was feeling unprepared. I didn't have my music for very long, and my fingers just weren't working the way they used to. I don't get to practice the way I did when I was a student. It's hard for me to try to squeeze in practice time with two little cuties running around wanting to touch everything and strew my music everywhere. I did the best that I could, but I didn't want to look at anyone while I was over there struggling to sound halfway decent.

Through all of my self-consciousness, I noticed that the piccoloist was doing a fabulous job. She had a gorgeous tone. I wanted to tell her the entire time, but I was feeling really shy. We've played together before, so we just sort of smiled at each other when we would pass by each other. Finally, right before we were supposed to perform, I worked up the courage to tell her that I thought she sounded great. It completely changed the dynamic of our interactions after that. We talked and laughed after that, when before we were both being kind of shy and quiet around each other. I'm not sure if she was feeling shy. Maybe she just thought I was being a snob. Sometimes shy people get mistaken for being snobby. I was actually just feeling really self-conscious about just about everything this weekend. Oh well. I'm glad it's over.

I realized something about complimenting her, though. I realized that I do that a lot. I notice something nice about people and I just HAVE to tell them. And they love it! Who doesn't love it? Who doesn't love to hear good things about themselves? But I really mean it. I won't say it if I don't mean it. I never tell someone that they sound good when they don't really sound good. I'm not good at giving out false compliments. People really have to earn them. But once they earn them, I just can't contain my excitement for how awesome I think they are.

I also realized that my telling someone that they are awesome, and my recognition that they are doing something well, doesn't diminish me in any way. I don't become less because someone else is excelling. I remember when I was a younger flutist at the beginning of my journey, I would worry that someone else doing well meant that I was failing. I wasn't so forthcoming with my positive encouragement. As I have grown, I have no problem telling someone that they sound amazing. I even go so far as to tell trumpet players when I like how they sound. Can you believe that? Trumpet players!!! Of course, I am no trumpet expert, but I can tell when I like it. That's about it.

It really is okay when others do well. I can still do well when others are successful. I can still be successful when someone else, dare I say it, is even more successful than I am. Just because someone else is playing in more concerts, or playing in a better orchestra, or has more degrees than I do from better schools doesn't mean I am a failure. It doesn't make me less of a flutist. It doesn't mean that I can't feel successful or that I am not successful too just because someone else may be more so. Someone else's success doesn't threaten me or my ability to succeed as well.

*In case this wasn't obvious, this totally can translate to doula work. <wink wink>

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