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The Singers’ Maybe Trap

Are You Trapped in “Maybe”?

It is that special indecisiveness that can haunt a performer.

What does being trapped in maybe sound like?

Q: “Which will be your practice days this week?”
A: “Maybe I can get in some singing on Tuesday and Thursday.”

Q: “Will you approach some venues on your trip to New York?”
A: “Maybe if I have a little time left over after family obligations.”

Q: “When are you planning on increasing your repertoire the way that we discussed?”
A: “Maybe when I find just the right music.”

And so on…

Breaking Free

If a client of mine can break free of the maybe trap startling growth can occur.

After two phone coaching sessions a famous singer-songwriter on the verge of refusing to go into the studio to record his new album switched his mind from “Maybe I need more time to prepare” to “Yes, I can record right now.”

A painter made the movement from “Maybe I can afford a model now and then” to “I can’t afford not to hire models!”

With that new yes came a burst of creative effort. Both in our personal and our creative lives, good things happen when we champion yes.

Understanding Your Maybe

Why then do we so often say maybe rather than yes?

For all the obvious reasons, including the fact that, even when we say yes, there is no guarantee that our work will turn out well.

Yes is just a starting point, not a conclusion. After the yes comes the work, with its successes and failures, elations and letdowns.

So yes is not pure deliciousness but only the opening without which good things can’t happen.

Maybe is a state that puts us right the verge of meaninglessness. Maybe plays to our weaknesses, our anxieties, and our doubts.

Maybe annoys us, frustrates us, and disappoints us. But still we get trapped there because of our everyday resistance to mustering our inner resources, and pulling ourselves by the collar or the bootstraps in the direction of some hard creative work or some rigorous practicing.

“Die Maybe!”

Listen to yourself this week. When you say something that sounds suspiciously like maybe, stop yourself.

If, for example, you hear yourself say, “I’m pretty tired today so maybe I’ll practice tomorrow,” exclaim, “Die, maybe!” Champion yes instead.

Say, “I will practice today!” If you hear yourself say, “I wonder if there’s enough time left to practice, so maybe I’ll practice tomorrow,” exclaim, “Die, maybe!”

Say, “Let me use this last bit of time!” Every yes of this sort is a passionate call to action: kill maybe and get on with your work!


Take a look at Eric’s brand new book, Making Your Creative Mark, filled with practical advice for artists!