In today’s world, where the music industry is overwhelmingly competitive and incredibly difficult to crack, it is quite normal to feel self-doubt creeping in. Wherever you are in your career, keeping a sense of belief in your art can be tricky – even famous musicians at the top of their game have bouts of self-doubt. So here at BandMix, we’ve come up with some tips for overcoming self-doubt and maintaining faith in your music.
One of the most significant contributors to self-doubt is comparing yourself to others. We’ve all been guilty of checking other artists’ social media pages to see how successful they are, and that’s okay, providing you’re not comparing your career to theirs. Everyone will take different paths in life, and it’s helpful to be focused on your path rather than someone else’s. When you’re checking someone’s Instagram at 4 am and comparing your life to theirs based on a photo feed and captions, that’s when you may need to take a break.
Don’t think too far ahead
It can be easy to feel like you need a 12 or 24-month plan in place, especially if you’re more advanced in your career. However, focusing on the here and now can be useful in overcoming self-doubt. Slowing down and processing your thoughts a little more mindfully can help you gain more faith in your music before you rush to complete your checklist.
Set realistic goals
If you have a long list of unrealistic goals you want to achieve, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Ensure both your short and long-term goals match up what is practical and achievable in that space of time. With some realistic aims, you’re sure to be able to believe in your art a whole lot more.
Focus on your strengths
It’s common to worry about things that are out of our control, so focus on what is achievable within your grasp and capabilities. You may have some self-doubt around not being able to play an instrument well enough or not having the skill to write a good bio – in these cases, play to your strengths and maybe recruit some help for the things you can’t do.
Share your thoughts with others
A quick way to get some of the self-doubts off your chest is to share how you’re feeling. Speak to someone you trust about what’s bothering you, as they may be able to put your troubles to rest. More often than not, issues spiral when we overthink them, so talking openly and honestly to a friend may help you to realize that you’re doing fine. If you’re struggling with getting something done on time and need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it! It may be that you need another musician or a new member of the team, and BandMix can help you find one at www.bandmix.com.
Follow your intuition
Like many art-makers, following your gut is usually a way to know if you’re doing something right. Especially if you’ve got some big decisions to make, trust yourself and your instincts, and you’re sure to believe in your music a great deal more.
You’ll have heard it a million times before, but channeling some positivity into your day can boost morale and help overcome self-doubt. How you picture yourself is one of the most significant contributing factors to your mental wellness, so shifting some of your more negative thoughts into positive things will help you maintain a level head. If you’re experiencing negative thoughts, notice that they are unhelpful and see if you can focus your attention on something, however small, that is more fulfilling for you as a musician or artist.
See how far you’ve come
Part of the joy of a journey is being able to look back at your achievements. If you’re suffering from self-doubt, take a moment to reset and assess how far you’ve come. Noticing what you’ve achieved or how you’ve progressed over time is a quick way of settling any doubtful nerves – but be sure to look ahead for what is to come, too!
Mental health check-in
Check-in with your mental health regularly so that you can recognize when things are starting to go wrong. If you’re suddenly overcome with self-doubt and worry, understand that this is perfectly normal! You may want to think about why this has come about – is it because of a recent decision or a new project you’ve been working on? Recognizing why you doubt yourself means you’re part of the way to fixing the problem.
The overarching moral here is trusting your instincts, being kind to yourself, and enjoying what you’re doing! You most likely began creating music because you thought it was fun and believed in yourself enough to get started on it, so pump that energy back into your work again. Once you’ve begun to shake off your self-doubt (and it can take some people longer than others), you’ll soon be on your way to fully believing in your art again. Hoorah!