Jun 23, 2023

No, I don't play the violin. Why you have to stop overselling yourself.

The worst advice I have ever received came at the age of 15.

I was with my drama department on a field trip in New York City; we were at a Broadway masterclass, learning about auditioning from an experienced Broadway actor.

“This industry is all about competition; when you're auditioning, you have to be willing to do anything, and I mean anything. You gotta show ‘em what you're made of... Show ‘em that you’re number 1; if they want you to smile, show all your teeth; if they want you to flip your hair, break your neck, kid!” He told us in a rush.

We, eager drama nerds, ate up this man’s every word. It’s not every day we plebians hear from a Broadway star... Wicked’s very own Flying Monkey #4.

“I remember my audition for Fiddler… Fiddler on the Roof... After nailing the dance audition, I remember they asked me, ‘You do play the violin, correct?’ Without missing a beat, I responded, ‘Of course….’ So I got another audition and called up every musician I knew for free lessons, and I learned how to play the violin. Sometimes you just got to say YES. Y-e-s.!”

After the class ended, as I walked out the door, I couldn’t help but ask the actor about his experience, “So what was it like playing the violin for the first time in front of an audience on Broadway?” The man tripped over his words as he struggled to put on his very long scarf. “Oh, um, well, I didn’t… I uh, I booked Mama Mia that month; you wanna talk about a SHOW….” Without finishing his train of thought, he walked away.

He didn’t book Fiddler.

Have you ever felt the need to lie to win someone over professionally greatly? A little fib here and there happens, but I am talking about a straight-up LIE. “Maybe if I say this lie to get my foot in the door, I can figure out how to do it once I get hired?” Maybe you are a contractor and want to score a client by pitching an idea that you know you can’t totally achieve.

Perhaps if you’re like me, you were always advised to say “yes!” Not just yes, but “hell yes, I can!” to win people over; you were told to oversell. The millennial generation approach, "I can do anything; I can do everything all at the same time."

But there's a problem there, always saying yes. It presents an illusion of who you are, a person with no boundaries, no ability to be prudent, and no recognition of your own skillset or bandwidth, and eventually dropping the ball altogether if you're not careful.

Yes, sometimes a little “fake it till you make it” can go a long way. But overselling (or lying) runs a lot of risks.

1. People can smell bullsh*t from a mile away. In a job interview or pitching to a client, don’t be so convinced you’re so cunning that your “hell yeses” aren’t a little shrill.

2. Your work will be sloppy. Sure, you'll be able to finish a product, but is it actually good... I am sure this actor could play the violin; I am also sure you and I would never want to hear it.

3. People will lose their trust in you! You might score the deal, and you might secure the job, but by overselling and overpromising things that are out of your depth, you can easily make a bad reputation for yourself.

4. The mask always drops; the truth eventually will reveal itself.

So what do you do? Coming across with a "no can do" attitude will not win anyone over. But authenticity always does, being able to communicate your bandwidth with an attitude of openness.

Focus on building relationships and growing trust with the person you are working with. First, lean into your solidified strengths and turn your weakness into spaces of curiosity and growth. Collaborate with others who excel where you fall short, and learn to ask for help from these people. Instead of focusing on impressing, focus on trust.

There is a difference between one person saying, “I can do everything because I am the best,” vs. another person, “I am competent, reliable, and always growing in new skills,” Which person do you think will get the job?

Discover similar content and expand your knowledge.

Jul 6, 2023

Opinion: The Social Media Blame Game

Conscious Consuming means we decide to control our social media, who we follow, what we follow, who we allow to follow us, and how much time we spend at the service of our well-being. We set limitations and take accountability to prioritize our mental health. Here are a few tips to practice conscious consumption and regain control over our social media usage,

May 10, 2023

The rise and fall of the Kardashians

What can we learn from the rise and fall of the Kardashians? Everything can be traced back to one word: trust. Build trust with your audience.