Everything you ever wanted is on the other side

career classical musician inspiration mindset

Greetings from St. Louis!


As a second clarinetist in the Cincinnati Symphony for many years, it's rare to guest in other orchestras - either it's difficult to get leave or you're not known and hence, invited.

So when the email came from St. Louis to play guest principal...

I had a choice to make.

Yes!! Or, Pass.

Alright all you sleuths, the "greetings from St. Louis" probably gave it away. So, I said yes and I'm currently writing this from my hotel room looking out at the Arch and buildings you see in the photos above. The photos show it was a gorgeous few days, but what I truly had to weather was my own internal flow of endless thoughts.

"You're not a principal player."
"You're a fraud."
"You're sound is too small."

"What if I mess up."
"What am I doing?"
"Why aren't people saying hi to me?"
"I must sound terrible."
"They'll never hire me again."

It's been incredibly challenging and uncomfortable.

So then... has it been a bad week?

Despite the "what will they think" internal dialogue, it's been an amazing experience on many levels. When I said "yes" I knew it'd be an out-of-my-comfort-zone experience. Not having "principal chops" I had to think bigger and play bigger than I normally do.

Did I present a perfect, flawless, polished me? No.
Did I have flubs? Yes.
Did I revert to playing small? Yup.

But here's what I realized.

  • While your 'shadow' self has the loudest voice, your 'super' self is quietly bringing out your best
  • You can hold two equally strong emotions at the same time
  • You can play well despite / alongside / even with the shadow's narrative
  • Leaning into your full resonant voice helps you quiet the mind and keep singing the music
  • When you shift into a mode of sharing vs. proving, what "they think" is neutralized
  • People aren't thinking about you as much as you imagine they are - most of the time they're lost in themselves (fact)!


Tools like breathwork, centering, and body alignment in addition to mind work has helped me say "yes" and embrace challenges like the one I had this week. I'm using tools like this every single day, and I want this for you too!

I'll leave you with one final thought: Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear (words of George Addair). Going to the edge of your abilities (or what you think they are) then going a little past them to see that you are more capable than you think - - this is the real reward!

Let me know what you're currently braving, and if we can help!


Cheering for you,



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