I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 10 years old. It all started with classical lessons at the Conservatory in Bruges.

My teacher used to always file my nails for the best sound, that’s how serious things were there.

Slowly, I started to rebel a bit into playing some harder music.

I formed a punk band with friends called Elevation (we never performed though).

Here’s a song we made, called Monday Sucks:

Eventually, I evolved into playing songs by the likes of Jack Johnson and Bob Marley.

I really enjoyed this type of playing: it was a great tool to bring out stuffed energy and emotion. It’s healing. I loved it.

But there was something holding me back.

As much as I loved playing in my bedroom, I’ve always struggled to perform in front of an audience.

I’ve dealt with social anxiety since I was 16 years old, which definitely doesn’t make it any easier to perform in front of people.

The thought of it alone has always made me really anxious.

Having the feeling of being really ‘seen’.

Being scared of what might come out. Not being in control of the outcome. Worrying about not being good enough.

Yes, the whole spiel.

It terrified me.

And it still does to this day.


Taking the ‘self’ out of the equation

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to go to an amazing wedding in Pérignac, France.

The first couple of hours of the wedding day, the ceremony took place in this idyllic setting between two trees.

Between these trees, a friend and I performed ‘All I ever know’ by Trevor Hall.

In the past I was so pre-occupied with myself, my performance and me, me, me… Resulting in a lot of nervousness and anxiety.

On this wedding day though, a simple mindset shift made performing way more easy for me to do. Here, I tried to drop my ‘self’ and focus all of my attention on the audience and their experience.

Today, I focus on the possible gift of music and presence.

Everything that is bigger than my ‘self’.

That’s a whole other game we’re playing here, right?

Because the ‘little me’ and the story he tells himself are not that important.

And definitely not true either.

Use this mindset shift

This mindset is gold, not only for a concert on a wedding, but also:

-While wanting to give the most impactful speech at work

-To elevate positive emotion in conversation with your collegues or boss

-For living in true leadership, with vulnerability and a true ‘us’-mentality

Here’s a little something for you:

Where in your life are you playing small because of your ‘little me’ and the thoughts it tells you (and you believe)?

What would your life look like if you could observe and feel those sticky icky negative feelings and breathe through them… And then do the ‘thing’ anyway?


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