You probably don't suck as much as you think.

Nearly every time I get off stage, I think about what I could have done better and focus on the things that didn't go perfectly. I beat myself up because I want it to be great. Sometimes even half way through a show, I'll notice that the crowd might be a little bit quiet or not as enthusiastic as I'd like. 

I've talked to almost all of my entertainer friends about this and everyone goes through it. We want our show to be the best it can be. Some nights everything works. There's a great crowd, all of our routines are working, there's not technical issues happening behind the scenes, everything is perfect.

Those nights spoil you. You start to expect that to be the normal. It's not. Most of the time, things aren't perfect.

  • Sometimes the sound system stops working
  • Sometimes you're performing in a cafeteria and the smoothie blender picks the worst times to interrupt the show
  • Sometimes you drove 12 hours to the show and you're tired
  • Sometimes the ceiling height is inches above your head and you're trying to do a juggling show

But chances are you're not an entertainer, so you haven't had these problems. But you've had some issues in whatever you do when the situation is less than ideal. 

You can't do much about the actual situation, but you can decide how you'll react to it. Since perception is reality, you can change the reality of the situation by changing how you're looking at it.. how you're thinking about it.

I've had plenty of shows where I wasn't especially happy about my performance when I walked off stage. 

Here's a poster from a recent show at Washington & Jefferson College the audience members signed FOR ME after the show.

Luckily there's always a reminder that I need to change my perception of the show. It's easy to forget that the people that come to my show have never seen anything like this before. They are so excited to see what I do up close and in person. 

I've never done a show where people haven't come up to me when I finish and thank me for coming to perform for them. Sometimes it's a huge line of people wanting photos with me, but many times it's only a handful of people, but never zero. 

Two nights ago a girl was so excited after the show she told me all of her favorite parts of the show and how much she absolutely loved it, then gave me a hug. 

No matter what you're doing, there's a few people who are admiring you. Thankful for what you're offering to the world. They might not be waiting for you after work to get your autograph, but trust me that they're there. You're making a difference and people appreciate that. When things are tough remember that someone is counting on you.

I'm counting on you.

Don't let me down.