Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Angela Myles Beeching | Beyond Talent Consulting
The Professional Musician's Roadmap
Sign up for MONDAY BYTES Weekly career inspiration direct to your inbox.
Beyond Talent:
Creating a Successful Career in Music
  • MONDAY BYTES BLOG: weekly career inspiration direct to your inbox.

    Sign up here

  • CHECK OUT MY BOOK, Beyond Talent.

    Read here

Negative Self-Talk?

MONDAY BYTES — December 5, 2016

During the holidays, with all the season’s extra stress, mindset issues are compounded.’Tis the season for self-flagellation?! Let’s stop beating ourselves up with the negative self-talk!

I’m especially interested in antidotes to negative self-talk because getting tripped up by our own musician mindset is so common it’s chronic.


Our mindsets are the habitual ways we think—of ourselves, our abilities, our peers, and our profession. We all have habits of thinking that can get in the way of making our desired changes.

So I’m happy to bring to you one of my favorite excerpts from Andrew Simonet’s book Making Your Life as an Artist. Simonet includes a terrific set of Principals for Building a Sustainable Life.

He presents these as counter messages to a set of common “limiting beliefs” many artists are prone to have.

Simonet first provides the limiting fixed mindset statement (see how many of these resonate with you!) That’s the negative self-talk. Some of these statements are so commonly held by musicians you may not even recognize them as self-fulfilling negative prophecies.

Simonet then answers each negative fixed mindset statement with a positive reframed growth mindset response. (For a quick refresher on Carol Dweck’s fixed/growth mindset work go here.)

Use Simonet’s principals to help reduce your own negative self-talk and get moving faster on creating the life you want. These may be especially helpful this season.

As an added bonus, check out the other terrific holiday book recommendations included—great gifts for yourself or other musician friends!


From Andrew Simonet’s Making Your Life as an Artist (download it free!) Try reading these aloud. In italics are the beliefs many creative artists harbor with the counter-message below each.

“Success will either happen to me or it won’t.
I am building an artistic life, not an artistic career, step by step, thinking long-term and staying responsive to changing circumstances.

No one cares about my work.
By offering a strong artistic voice as widely as possible, I give citizens a chance to come close to my work.

I am competing with other artists for scarce resources.
The success of other artists is good for me. And mutual artistic support is worth more than money.

I need I need I need I need I need.
My skills are needed in the world.

The future is scary and I don’t have time to think about it.
With limited, regular planning, I work toward the art, the values, and the life that I believe in.

What I do is frivolous and I am lucky if I get paid for it.
We are highly trained professionals, and the work we do, collectively, is essential in our culture. I expect to be compensated fully and fairly. I have the freedom to do unpaid or low-paying work that is rewarding in other ways.

I never have enough time or money to make my work perfect.
With the time and resources I have for each project, I will do the best I can.

I have to do everything I possibly can for every project, even if it kills me.
No opportunity or work of art is worth the well-being of the people involved. I can say no.

I have to work all the time, with no time off.
I schedule down time in my day, my week, and my year, essential to my wellbeing and artistic growth.

No one cares about art.
The world is hungry for noncommercial experiences, for moments of focus, connection, and insight instead of the profit-driven distraction provided by the entertainment industry.

I wish I had the career that ___________has.
I define success for myself, and trust that impact does not correlate with fame.”

Now let’s get real: a new set of mantras alone won’t catapult your career forward. But a change in mindset can get you unstuck so you can move forward and do better work.

Here’s some more ammunition:

In addition to Simonet’s terrific book, here are 5 more that are great at helping musicians overcome negative thinking and other career obstacles.

These aren’t “dream it and it will happen” books. These are candid, no-nonsense books that name some of the typical mindset snags that creative artists have and they offer practical and real-life tips and solutions for getting the work done.

Do yourself a favor: buy yourself a present for the holidays. Browse these on online and choose whichever resonates the most; read it before the new year—you won’t be sorry!

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Make It: a Guide for Recent Music Graduates by Emilio Guarino
Awakening Your Business Brain by Jennifer Rosenfeld and Julia Torgovitskaya
Break into the Scene by Seth Hanes
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This week: I’d love to get your feedback on the negative self-talk messages that resonated for you or others that these ones brought to mind!

And when was the last time you read a book to help improve your career and your life? If you have other book recommendations, please email them to me—I’d love to get these, too.

And for for individualized help managing career stress and managing time, let’s set up a time to talk–reach me at

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

4 Step Holiday Stress Busters

Happy Monday, *|FNAME|*!

Need more holiday stress solutions? If you’re like me, the holidays always wreak havoc. My regular schedule goes out the window, my productivity is trashed, and my sleeping and eating are likewise disrupted.

With Thanksgiving over, you may be recovering from the overdose of pumpkin and tryptophan. And if you survived the holiday dinner conversations that turned political, you may be breathing a sigh of relief.

But wait, there’s more . . .

What with Cyber Monday, the relentless holiday consumerism, and the unknowns of 2017, we’re in the wind up for an additional month of holiday stress.

With too many items on our to-do lists and feeling pressured to be as cheery as a Hallmark card despite any anxieties—our priorities can be blindsided. We can end up taking care of a zillion other “shoulds” instead of taking care of ourselves.

If you’ve got all the stress plus crucial work that needs to be done between now and New Year’s, try my 4 step Holiday Stress Busters.

To start, recognize the enemy (warning: reflected objects are closer than they appear):

1. Our own negative self-talk
2. Catastrophizing the future
3. Comparing ourselves to others—especially on social media

To counteract these I recommend (for myself and others!) the following 4 Steps:

I. Adopt a Morning Ritual
Don’t worry—there’s no incense or chanting involved. I’m talking about a way you can start EVERY day that helps you get centered and tuned in to what matters most.

For some, it’s meditation; others practice yoga or run. Find what works for you. Something that helps you focus positively so you can start the day with less stress.

Schedule in your ritual for the same time each day so it becomes a habit. The regularity itself will be a signal to your body and your psyche that you’re on track.

For me, a crucial piece of my morning ritual is the walk I take before I begin work. Getting outside gets me out of my head and connecting with the natural world.

Of course, it helps if you have a terrific walking partner (thank you, Florrie!). And because we have a standing meeting time and place, I can’t roll over and hit the snooze button. After the walk, my head is always more clear and I’m predictably good to go.

Hold on . . . If you think this sounds a little too easy, you’re right.

Here’s the catch
I find the morning ritual doesn’t work unless I:

II. Prepare the Night Before
At the end of each day I think over my work and prioritize what absolutely needs to get done tomorrow. Not the 15 items I’d love to cross off my to-do list. But the 1-3 things that are truly important (as opposed to simply urgent).

This doesn’t mean to ignore the urgent items on the list. It simply means that you prioritize what’s most important. And this is crucial:  I designate time for these important items in my calendar. And I tackle them in the morning after my walk—when I’m least distracted.

If I prioritize and get a good night’s sleep (I’m still working on that part!), and the next morning do my walk, it makes all the difference.

But there’s one more crucial piece. How to deal with the negative self-talk and comparisons that are inevitable with our use of social media. Like any 12-step program, you . . .

III. Admit You’re Addicted
If you’re sleeping with your phone, and if checking messages is the first and last thing you do each day—you’re addicted. If you eat meals with the phone on the table, interrupting real time in-person conversations to check and respond to messages—you are addicted.

The fall out is you’ve built a habit that short-circuits your long-form concentration and focus. Does this affect your ability to solve complex problems and create solutions? Is it affecting your ability to practice, perform, and teach at the top of your game?

What do you think? 

If you’re not convinced already, see this handy infographic on social media use courtesy of Go-Globe.

To reclaim your sanity . . .

IV. Unplug Your Bedtime and Your Mornings
Don’t use your phone as your alarm clock.

Earmark the hour before bed as unplugged “wind down” time and put it in your daily calendar. It’s a good time to read, or listen to something soothing or inspiring. Make it a totally screen free hour (no movies or TV, tablet, laptop, or phone). It’s important to help your brain quiet down.

In the morning, NO checking of messages, or emails before you’ve taken care of yourself fist. This means doing your morning ritual and then a first time block of priority work—before connecting to the internet.

This probably means getting up early. I know. Not everyone’s favorite thing.

But if mornings are when your thoughts are least distracted (as is true for most of us), then it’s your best creative work time. Whether it’s practicing, writing, booking your next tour, or organizing your fundraising campaign, designate the distraction-free time you need. Even if you only have an hour for this, that time can make a world of difference to the rest of the day and week.

This is about putting yourself—and your creative work—first.

Worried that the world might blow up if you unplug for a few hours?

Get over yourself!

As Simon Sinek says, There’s no such thing as a Facebook emergency. 
Unless you’re a doctor on call, your messages can wait.

The unplugged morning ritual and time block are the best antidotes I’ve found for dealing with stress and social media madness. By claiming at least a part of your mornings for yourself, you set the stage for a more positive, productive rest of the day, the week — and happier holidays.

Give it a go:  Try the morning ritual and distraction free time blocking this week. If you do it consistently over the next month you’ll lower your stress. And you’ll be starting the new year with a great habit!

I’d love to hear how this goes for you or whatever else helps you stay on track through the holidays. Email me at

BONUS: Here are two video inspirations on counteracting social media madness:

A terrific Creative Mornings talk by Simon Sinek aimed at millennials but great for all (well worth 30 minutes).

And a great clip from Seth Godin on using social media for professional purposes (just 2 minutes).

Want to work on a custom-tailored plan to better manage your career projects and stress? Let’s set up a time to talk – reach me at

Here’s to lowering all of our holiday stress!

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well


De-stress Your Holidays

MONDAY BYTES — November 21, 2016

Want to de-stress your holidays?

We’re in the official slide into the season. For many, it’s downhill. There are all the usual issues: we over-indulge, we over-spend, and we don’t get enough sleep or exercise.

As we head towards the new year, there’s the extra anxieties about our career and financial goals and whether we’re on track. Not a happy recipe!


This time around the usual end of year stressors are compounded: many of us have family members with opposing political convictions. So the holidays are promising to be—as a mentor elegantly described—”a real sh#t show.”

To help us all de-stress, I’ve got a tip guaranteed to get you feeling better PLUS it will most likely, make a special someone else’s day as well.

Thursday is our official day of thanks. I’m always surprised we have just the one day for this, because we need a lot more. Thank you’s, that is. We never get enough and we never give enough.

Let’s be honest: when’s the last time you received (or sent!) an actual thank you card or letter? I’m talking envelope and stamp. Something tangible sent by an actual person through the mail—one that wasn’t in response to a gift.

Not very recently, right?

This is the week to send at least one. I’d suggest you choose the person who you think really doesn’t know how much they’ve influenced you—and how grateful you are.

This might be a former teacher, co-worker, or long-lost friend. Thanksgiving is a perfect “excuse” to look these people up. Mail them a handwritten thank you detailing what it is that you so appreciate about them.

It might be they helped you through a dark time. Or were a terrific role model for you. Or that their advice changed your thinking and behavior and made all the difference.

Doing this simple act—writing a letter—will help you reflect on all that you have to be grateful for. In terms of feelings and states of mind, gratitude is where it’s at.

What’s more, the person on the receiving end will love getting your letter!

This week: send your overdue thank you and lower your holiday stress with gratitude. (I’m mailing mine today!)

I also want to express my gratefulness to you, dear readers: THANK YOU.

Thank you for inspiring me, and for sending the comments and feedback that keep me questioning assumptions and exploring new solutions to career dilemmas. You can always reach me at

Happy Thanksgiving!

all the best,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well