I feel vulnerable and somewhat uncomfortable writing this post, but I have experienced a breakthrough, and I’m hoping that by sharing this story, I will inspire and invite more of the same into my life.
You see, I am a closet pianist. I say “closet” because hardly anyone hears me play. From the way I hide my playing, you’d think I was ashamed of it and perhaps I have been, in a way that makes no sense whatsoever. I have after all, many years ago, completed Grade 8 in piano which should indicate some level of skill!
But somewhere along the way, I started to believe a few things…. that I wasn’t particularly good, that I perhaps didn’t deserve my Grade 8 qualification.
“She’s not particularly talented. Just very persistent and hard-working”
Not sure who actually uttered those words, but I certainly heard them enough times so they stuck and have defined my playing ever since.
My children are now learning the piano which has unexpectedly re-ignited my passion. I heard “The Swan” by Saint-Saens on YouTube one day and felt really drawn to it. When I found the sheet music, I was despondent. I thought the left hand was a little too much hard work, but then decided to give myself a push (or more like a shove!). I am a coach after all. If I can coach people out of their limiting self-beliefs, I most certainly can do some work on my own!
So, I’ve been learning the piece, playing it, surprising myself a little each day. It seems I can actually play the piece.
I started digging around some old books recently and found to my greatest surprise (and embarrassment), that I’d had the sheet music for “The Swan” for 25 years. It was in a book that I regularly played but had decided at some stage that it was too hard.
So, unwittingly, I’ve proven to myself that I can overcome a self-limiting belief.
“If you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, either way you are right” ~ Henry Ford
Last week, I attended the Suzuki Music festival with my son and was inspired. The philosophy behind Suzuki music is that every child has the potential for talent given encouragement, the right environment and persistence.
Suzuki students play by ear and my other limiting belief is that I am unable to play any music of consequence without sheet music. So I’ve decided to challenge myself in a very public way by sharing this story.
I will learn and play “The Swan” by memory. I am anxious because in spite of how much I psyche myself up, I no longer have the technical skill I used to, when practising three hours a day was commonplace. But, “The Swan” isn’t the most difficult of pieces and I believe what I’ve set myself is achievable. It may take a little while and I will probably stumble and get frustrated along the way but I will do it.
So, let me ask you…. what are your self-limiting beliefs and will you join me in challenging yours? I would love to hear your story and perhaps we can travel this journey together.
Update 3 years later – I now play this piece by memory. It took 3 years but I did it!