“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs
We all crave feedback. We want it from our partners, parents, co-workers, and teachers. Need I even mention social media? We want our parents to be proud of us, our bosses to appreciate us, and our partners to love us. We pay therapists to listen intently and give us educated feedback. We read self-help books, listen to podcasts or scan blog posts (ironic, I know) for a nugget of wisdom to help us stabilize our uncertainty. We constantly search for validation, reassurance, and acceptance from others.
I was (ok, am still at times) a prime example of the above. I diligently went to therapy and internalized every morsel of feedback. I would always call a friend or two or even three to seek advice on something I should do, or I would call my mother. I would seek out and latch onto teachers who would talk incessantly for hours. I would come across as curious, appreciative, and humble. People generally liked me. I was agreeable and easy to get along with. But the painful truth was — I didn’t trust myself and my own judgment.
My agreeableness became a crutch. I didn’t know my personal boundaries. I would be too accommodating and then feel resentful. I had a general hesitancy when speaking, an inability to hold pitch when singing solo, and mostly holding back my feelings to remain liked. Worst of all, being in a terrible and manipulative relationship because I valued his opinion more than my own.
Fortunately, a director friend recommended that I study with the late Bill Esper. A week later, I was in a two-year program with an impressive group of students. A handful had just graduated from Yale, one actress was on the British Office, and another left within the first week because he booked a Network TV show. Bill partnered us up, gave us exercises to practice, and then we would present to the class.
Bill would then give notes and directions. Certain people got a lot of feedback. But…