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How to be Your Best Under Pressure

Introducing Calvin…

Chelsea: Welcome! I’m so excited to introduce Calvin Strachan. So Calvin, tell us a little bit about yourself. Thank you so much for coming on.

Calvin: Yeah. Hi nice to meet you Chelsea. Good to see everybody, hey everybody as well. I’m a speaker and a coach and most of my focus is on how to be your best under pressure. And I’ve taken real liking to your content Chelsea, how you help people with stage fright, performance anxiety, and really helping people out; so it’s a nice synergy to be able to be here today so thank you for that.

If you’d rather listen instead of reading, check out the podcast version below! There’s also a video version on YouTube found below:

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How to Be Your Best Under Pressure

Calvin: Yeah it’s kind of a clunky story right. So I’ll be as brief as I can. Basically I’ve always been a fan of self-improvement. So starting back when I was a kid playing sports, I was always a fan of like you can do whatever you set your mind to type stuff, but I had no idea that even existed. So fast forward to Austin University and I was selling knives, believe it or not taco have you ever heard of those things. And the manager played a Tony Robbins tape, and I thought what was that? Whoa what is this? It was so amazing and I was like “I got to get more of this”. So I got really enamored into Tony’s world and then learned that there was a whole industry behind self-improvement.

And so fast forward as I kept reading books listening to cds, going to courses, I had a chance to actually meet Tony Robbins live in person and that really kicked things into high gear because he took a liking to me, and he coached me, and gave me a free coach, and all these things happened. And as a result of that, I felt the need to pay him back. And so I ran a club in Toronto that taught a lot of his concepts and other concepts. And I went around helping people in Toronto. I’m from Toronto, Canada.

For about eight years around seminars on how to help people get better and so my journey really started there. So speaking to tens of thousands of people on how to improve your life, how to get better. And what I noticed was it wasn’t so much the motivation people needed right. Getting excited and jumping up and down, it was like when the moments came the key moments came, could they be their best in that moment, right? Everyone was driven, everyone’s excited, but it’s like when it comes down to the audition, or the rehearsal, or the interview, they know what they want to say, but the pressure gets to them and they collapse.

And so taking all that I learned from that journey it’s hard to really focus on that, how to help folks be their best when it really mattered the most that’s how I got here yeah. 

Chelsea: That’s wonderful. And what do you feel like as far as a piece of advice where when everything goes awry, when everything goes wrong, or they’re in a high pressure situation, and then they have something that they want to do, what do you feel like really gets in the way?

Calvin: What gets in the way is people feel like it’s wrong to feel the nerves. They’re trying to resist the nerves. So part of my background as well as I used to be a television actor in Toronto, which means you haven’t seen any of my work, but it’s okay. Right, so I’m a television actor, and you’re going to audition, there’s so much pressure and you think you shouldn’t be nervous, do your best and so that gets in the way. The belief or the perception about how you should be feeling in that moment and I like what you’ve said as well on your channels. It’s that pressure is normal anxiety nerves are normal and sort of lean into it, and most of us resist it. So one of my favorite quotes I learned. is that when you resist it it’s kind of like resisting a screaming toddler. Like the more you ignore it the bigger it gets and so the idea here is just kind of lean into it and embrace that moment rather than resisting it.

Chelsea: Yeah. Have you had any moments yourself through your career because I know you’ve been speaking on stages, and you’ve been with a lot of groups have you struggled with stage fright yourself? 

Calvin: Absolutely, and I think back to being an athlete you know. I played a lot of volleyball, basketball, and soccer. And before big games your heart is going through your chest, you’re nervous, you make silly mistakes. So for sure in the sports arena absolutely, as an actor you know before going to a commercial or a movie set, and the director’s like “cut do it again”. And you’re thinking “oh what did i do” it’s just several points and of course as a speaker where I’m in the public and there could be hundreds or thousands of people out there and all of a sudden you’re just forgetting what you’re supposed to say. So I have struggled with it. And so over time realizing that it’s okay right those nerves don’t mean you’re gonna mess up it just means you’re ready. Your body’s more heightened and ready to go for it. So that simple switch helped me to get through those stage fright moments yeah.

Chelsea: That’s wonderful. That’s so cool and you’ve been in athletics and you’ve been on stage and you’ve been acting, I mean what have you not done!

Calvin: It’s a funny joke I say: I’m part jamaican. So I’ve had like 100 jobs so I’ve done a lot of things. 

Chelsea: Oh that’s awesome. And how do you feel because I’m sure that you have been affected by this past year and the pandemic. How has that changed your life in any way, or maybe a mindset, or your attitude about things, or your energy about things, or even just your life in general, and what you’re doing? 

Calvin: Yeah. How does it change my mindset, the pandemic, I would say it’s allowed me to be more authentic. So what I mean by that is like we’re all sort of in this reset pattern of like what’s really most important. And so I’ve sort of gotten away from like trying to show myself as more than I am, and just sort of embracing what I am , you know. If I’m nervous, I’ll tell people. When I’m on a zoom, or a webex call, or a team’s call, I’ll say “hey I’m feeling nervous, I’m feeling anxious”, or if I’m in trouble with nerves myself, I will reach out to my inner circle more, so I’m allowing myself to go more into the vulnerability. I would say because of the pandemic, or before, I may not have shown that vulnerability as much or as now, I’m willing to allow that to happen more because of the pandemic. Yeah and what makes you feel like you can be more vulnerable now because of the pandemic, I think it was just  a focus on what’s truly important right. And so being able to really connect with folks. So before we were all sort of showing off you know compare and despair kind of thing on social media, and then we’re all at the same time going through this incredible shift,  and it really felt like we just have this we’re missing out on not connecting. And I think that idea that I’m not connecting was what really drove it is that it really got me if that makes sense. 

Chelsea: Yes yes, that does. And through that what do you feel like has made a difference as far as being able to connect with people, and really feeling like you can be that, and not being afraid about what well what are they going to think about this? 

Calvin: Yeah. So part of it is my work on pressure right. Knowing that it’s normal. So some of these feelings of apprehension or hesitation or anxiety that I started studying through the pressure stuff also apply in this connection space because you’re trying to connect with someone. You feel similar things, what are they going to think, what are they going to say, I’m going to do this right. And those are okay and those feelings are normal now. So I allowed myself to realize that feeling that way means I’m going in the right direction. And so it just kind of helped me to expose myself. Also I love the work of Brene Brown, if you know her. And she talks about when you are vulnerable, it’s our truest form of courage. So I sort of took that mantra on to say yeah if I’m not being vulnerable, I’m not being courageous. And so I kind of felt sort of like I don’t know, motivated or empowered to embrace that vulnerability as a badge of courage so that’s what kind of happened. 

Chelsea: And how do you feel like that transforms? I mean going from accepting this feeling of insecurity, wondering about “oh what are they going to think”,  or so for example performing, going on stage, and being like what or the audition what if they don’t like it, or what if I don’t get the gig, and then how accepting that, and embracing that, can we find courage or confidence through that?   

Calvin: Yeah how do we find courage through that, I think the big thing is I’m not sure I’m finding courage, but I’m placing the focus in a different area right. So I’m rather attaching the courage to get it. I’m touching the courage as I’m showing up because I can’t control if I get the gig or not you know. When I was acting,Ii was like I gotta get this and that puts so much more intensity and pressure on me versus focusing on what I can actually control. And what I can control is how much I prep, how well I do, and that allows me to be more courageous to focus on what I actually can do versus what are they going to think. And it really takes away from my sense of achievement, identity, self-esteem when I’m pushing it on somebody else. And so I try to focus on me and what I can do. That really gave me that sense of courage in those moments. I know I’m kind of rambling there but that’s kind of how I did it.

Chelsea: No. That’s awesome, so say that you’re going to go on stage and maybe you’re nervous. What are some things that you think about that you can control? 

Calvin: Yeah, so typically for me before I go on, and for those who are about to go on stage as a singer, piano player, actor, I generally am writing things out. So if I’m feeling nervous, like really nervous, I’ll get my phone and just start dumping all of it out. Like oh my gosh this is all that angst I’m putting it in my phone. That’s the first thing I’m going to do, just let it go. The second thing I’ll do though is, I’ll affirm my value right. So I’ll simply say okay what’s good about me, what do I like about me, and it doesn’t have to be like big awards, it could simply be you know I got two kids, I got a house, I have friends, you know. I had a good dinner last night, just things that make me feel good about myself and that starts to dissipate some of that feeling before I get up on stage. And the last thing is, I wouldn’t just sit still. I think one of the big mistakes I made before. I’d be waiting in the audition room or waiting before I go up on the stage just sitting there waiting and they call me, and then I’m just building and brooding right. So I make sure I’m not sitting still, moving around, staying loose and when they call my name I’m in the right state before I get up on that stage. That’s how I do it. 

Chelsea: Right, and how do you feel like you get in the right state when you’re doing that? Is it some kind of physical thing that you’re doing so that you’re getting ready when they do call you? 

Calvin: Yeah great question. It depends on where I’m at. So if I’m in uh well we’re all in a lockdown situation. But when I was live backstage, I’d have headphones on right. I turned music on. I’d be walking around in the back area. So I’m not staying still, I’d probably kind of bounce a little bit kind of like you might see an athlete before an event, you would see a hockey player, football player, basketball player. They kind of walk around. They don’t stay still. Okay so before the performance the same thing. If it’s a boardroom situation a little harder right. So maybe what I’ll do is, I’ll go in the hall or the bathroom somewhere I can let go of some of that space and get that going. Or I’m in the parking lot in my car. I’m not letting myself just sit there okay Auditions one of my voice coaches told me she would say you know what put headphones on in the audition room. Even if there’s no music on it just so that people aren’t talking to you making you nervous, just to keep yourself separate. So there’s a few things you could do: walk out in the hallway, put some headphones on, you know That’s a couple things I used to do back in the day yeah. 

Chelsea: That’s so interesting that you say that because one of the things I feel like I’ve found is especially with the outside stimuli, and getting in the way of that, especially before going in and sometimes. Or I have students or myself where it does seem like when people are talking to you all of a sudden it’s like the people pleaser inside of me is like oh well you know it’s all about you and like what do you want, and let me respond to you, and they’ll say like oh my focus is completely shot yeah.

Calvin: I’m forgetting my lines, panic sets in absolutely yeah totally.

Chelsea: So you had mentioned in one of your steps affirming your value and that is really really fantastic. And one thing that I wanted to ask you about after hearing that is this mindset. I feel like we as people, we as humans sometimes look for our value in our accomplishments or our feedback from the world and what we’re doing, or what in their mind is a value and of not. And how have you kind of worked through that to feel like you have purpose and your life has purpose. But it’s that, the fact that it’s purpose in that and not that you have to like go out and I don’t find a purpose and get some sort of feedback and value from the world and that do you know what I’m saying? 

Calvin: Yeah it’s just a tricky one because in Canada/US we’re taught to accomplish and if you don’t accomplish you’re nobody kind of thing right. That’s it’s not like a written rule but it’s like an unwritten rule kind of thing. And we’re seeing that in social media too the compare and despair type thing. So it’s been hard for me but we’re looking at other teachers. So a couple of them like one was like TD Jakes if you know who that is. And he’s a preacher in the U.S.. And he has a really cool analogy where he says you think about football players. You know one of them is a big fat center if you ever watch football and one’s a kicker and the skinny kicker. He’s like imagine you are the kicker and you’re super skinny and you look at that big fat center and you go oh look at me I’m so skinny, he’s so big, I’m a wimp. You start beating yourself up because you’re not as big as the center. He’s like well the funny thing is you’re the kicker you’re not built to be that way, that’s not your role, it’s not your job. You’re built your way for what you’re supposed to do. 

And so when that happened to me I was like yeah I’m comparing myself to others who have a bigger car, bigger house, more money, more kids. I said but wait a minute you’re designed the way you are for what you have, stop because it’s not fair to you to compare yourself to that person. That’s not how you’re supposed to be right. And that was a big opening for me to see yeah be kind of weird. And then the next thing was like a guy named David Burns. And he’s a big guy on cognitive behavioral therapy and he points out that a lot of our self-defeating beliefs are around this approval addiction. And what happens is as we try to get approval and we don’t we start feeling bad about ourselves and sometimes we stop showing up. So if I can’t make more money than him, Ii can’t make more money than her, if I can’t get a better husband than him or her, I don’t even try. And then you’re short-circuiting your life so it really puts the focus on okay look you’re not designed to be that way. It could be really disastrously hurting your life to compare really focus on what you can control okay. And that really started to help me shift because some of my friends are VPs of companies, and they have degrees, and their doctors, and all the entrepreneur, all this stuff. But I’m a speaker. I’m not supposed to be looking at spreadsheets and accounting files, and looking at oh I’m going to go here with my new business. I’m like no no. I’m here to serve you on stage that’s okay. I’m built the way I am what I’m supposed to do and that’s kind of how I look at it. Does that help? 

Chelsea: Yeah, that’s wonderful. It’s so insightful. Sometimes in life I feel like even in a certain phase of my life where in the moment I’m like oh there’s so much more that I should be doing or could be doing. And then I’ll fast forward and look back at where I was in some place and be like wow I can’t even believe how much I had already accomplished. And at that point and so it’s almost like chasing the wind in a way. like when is it going to be enough and when is it enough for us? 

Calvin: Absolutely 100%. Yeah it’s a tough thing to get off that accomplishment achievement train. It’s important. It’s nice to achieve it is. I understand just staying focused on what’s the right thing for you, that’s the idea. 

Chelsea: And as far as comparison goes especially with social media now, and which is more highlight or bragging rights or everything we’re proud about you know. Most of the time how do you feel like you keep your sanity, and keep your eyes uh just on your path and your focus without being so distracted by everybody else? 

Calvin: Yeah I do. What’s interesting is that I do try to minimize my time on social media, even though I post a decent amount. But I tend to only post for myself. First of all, I only try to post things that help people right. So you don’t see my shoes, or my house or my oh I work look, at my six pack. I’m not doing things that would create sort of envy or seem braggy right. I’m really for myself trying to only post things that make people get better or help them. And so then I try to pivot my attention to the same things on social media. So yes if my friends are posting their brand new car, of course I’ll help them out and say good for the like. But for the most part I’m trying to really just focus on those channels and sources that are helping to make me feel better. And I sort of learned that from if I heard of Jay Shetty or Prince EA. That’s the same sort of thing they said too. It’s like are your posts helping people or hurting people? And I tend to focus my attention on those who are helping versus comparing. That’s how I get through it. 

Chelsea: Right and that’s wonderful. I’ve noticed that about your Instagram too. Every time I will go to your profile. And sometimes there’ll be some new videos I have to catch up on or something. And just like oh this one’s awesome, this one’s awesome, this is awesome. So really your media account is really just full packed full of value and insight and that’s amazing. 

Calvin: Yeah thank you! Yours as well. I love the performance anxiety things like all the stuff on piano. I love it. I love your channel. That’s how we get connected. 

Chelsea: Right exactly exactly. No, it’s awesome. Thank you. And so can we dig a little bit into your process because one of your specialties is helping people under pressure. Under high pressure and everything going through that. And so can we spend a little time digging into maybe some of the first steps or the highlights or blueprints in that? 

Calvin: Yeah yeah absolutely. So for me, it’s for those who also teach on pressure in this area that we’re both in. I know you said it, and lots have said it. It really is the practice laughing at myself now one of my other jobs was I was a medical device sales rep. And so what that means was I would go into the operating room and I would help a surgeon do a knee surgery or a hip surgery. And I stood by the table and gave instructions on how to do the surgery, high high high pressure role. And so what could happen sometimes if something goes wrong, or they drop the instrument, or they break the wrong bone, or they cut the wrong area, and they turn to me and go what do we do? And so why I’m telling you this is because the only way to get through that kind of moment is the practice is the prep Without it you get so full of doubt, uncertainty, confusion, hesitation, that you choke. And so anybody whether it’s a piano player, actor, singer, politician, preacher, whoever it’s your prep. You got to prep your guts out like to the point where it almost seems like it’s almost too much. And it’s like I know what I know. it’s like you know if you’re not over prepared, you’re under prepared. And so that’s what I would do. I would practice the surgery non-stop before I got to the room. So if anything happened I never got flustered or thrown off because I was so prepared. If I wasn’t oh my gosh disaster would strike. So that practice is the first thing that helped so far. 

Chelsea: Yeah absolutely. And what do you feel like because sometimes if we’re practicing and practicing and we’re not under pressure ,when we’re practicing we feel fine. We feel like we were able to focus but then sometimes there’s a change that happens. And I just felt that but and so even though it’s like oh I’ve done this, I could do this in my sleep. But then all of a sudden I get up in front of this or this or this person or doing this and all of a sudden I feel like I maybe forgot what I was going to say. Or it’s great function as well. So what have you done to address those things?

Calvin:  Yeah. You want to try and get as close to the same conditions as possible as best you can. So I know sometimes it’s hard like for auditions. Like say you’re not going to have a room full of cast directors right. But you may want to try and call some friends or whatever to be in the room. And have them start being rude to you while you’re auditioning okay. Or maybe you’re an exam or something and you have two hours you say you know for practice. Cut your time in half so put yourself as close to the scenario as possible for practice. So in the surgery example, I would bring the drills home, bring the saws home, bring the bones home ,and I would practice in my house as if I was in the room. I would also practice as if the saw fell on the floor. Now what do I do? So I put myself in as close to the same conditions as possible. So when I go to the real thing it’s not so jarring. And so to really bring it home for folks, if I think about students I’ve coached in the past and I go listen. If you’re going for an exam you can’t be studying on your couch watching tv, because when you go to the exam room it’s whisper quiet. There’s rows of people and it’s not even close at all. So now you’re thrown off just by that right. Singer, same thing. You can’t be kind of singing it while walking around your house. You gotta imagine having three or four people looking at you, checking their phone, not paying attention, and put yourself in that place when you’re ready when you get in the room. 

Chelsea: That’s awesome. And what do you feel like helps with I feel like in general we as humans we don’t like being uncomfortable. Yeah so when we have the opportunity to say oh well I can practice and get this fake audience in front of me or whatever the scenario may be. But then there’s this thing that kicks in. It’s like oh but I don’t want to be uncomfortable in all these negative emotions or feelings. Have you felt any connection with that? 

Calvin: Yes yeah. It’s like I’m going to leverage TD Jakes here again. Where he says if there is no test there is no blessing. And so when I’m coaching my clients, I’ll say to them if you’re not feeling any kind of  pressure, or tension, or insecurity, or uncomfortableness, in your practice or even in your actual activity odds are you’re not getting the blessing. You need that pressure, tension, anxiety, hesitation thing in order to get to the blessing. So if you’re ignoring it, you’re not building up enough muscle when the real moment comes. And so many folks are like well that’s not no no no no no you need it. There are very few places where you’re going to have success without work. And so you need to be experiencing that sort of attention for any activity you do, that’s what I tell folks.

Chelsea: I love that. That’s awesome. And also with the aspect of practicing mistakes when in retrospect to singing, or performing, that’s something that they can do too right. That’s just like what could go wrong because sometimes we just sing it all through. Like I have this completely memorized but there’s so many times where in lessons, or before recitals, or something will say okay now we’re going to pretend that you just forgot the words, and you have no idea, and you have to recover. And what do you do, and how are you going to keep your composure? And it’s sometimes I think people have such a high expectation for themselves that they expect perfection. But it’s really about recovery. I mean how do you handle yourself when those things happen? And that can kind of make or break this absolutely true right.

Calvin:  Yeah. Maybe think of something. When I think of a singer, when I was acting what typically happened is, you go into an audition and you’re prepared, and I know my lines. I’m ready to go and the casting director producer is like you know what, why are they reading these lines, read these ones Oh you weren’t ready for that right. Or you’ve prepared this whole piece ready to go, and they go we’ve only got two minutes so start in the middle please, go from the middle. You’re like but wait I’m prepared from the beginning. And now for a singer I got the whole song ready to go, I’m good. How do we start from the last frame and get yourself to practice these weird scenarios so you’re not so jarred in the room? Because yeah you go from beginning to end and beginning again yeah. You get kind of used to being complacent. But start in the middle or try and go backwards like just weird things that keep you sharp so you don’t lose your attention, or lose that so you don’t get caught off in the room so I’m trying to say. 

Chelsea: Right. Do you feel like asking someone or having someone just throw certain scenarios at you would be helpful when you’re practicing with them? 

Calvin: I think so too. I think because I kind of equate actors and singers in the same sort of ballpark. Where you walk in this is like hot. You’re in a room with this high pressure thing. And they’re kind of paying attention, they’re looking through their papers, checking their phone, and you’re singing or acting right. So you want to have that someone in your house going okay so what song are you singing, what is your name, okay okay ch cha cha okay uh anyways miss melcher go right. Someone does that to you so you’re kind of like oh when it happens not thrown off. And they go no no start from the third quarter, the third verse, go third verse what’s the third verse. I don’t know what’s going on right. Or give you a totally different song in the middle of anything like that really reduces the pressure when you’re in the real situation. I would recommend that for sure absolutely. 

Chelsea: Right. And how do you feel like you probably coach people how to do this? When you enter a room, whether it’s an audition, or for speaking and just really feeling. Are you focusing on mindset, or inner thoughts, or affirmations, or body language? 

Calvin: Yeah for auditions I was a great phrase called set it forget it. So I would try and do that and I would get so cold. It was hard to do in the beginning because you want to be so perfect, you want to get it right ,right. So prepare and prepare like crazy. Once I’ve got it, I literally just let it go and just be present in the room. I don’t try to think what’s my next line, what do I say, I’m trying to set it and forget it. And the main thing I’m focusing on you said mindset. Yeah I’m trying to make sure I’m in the most loose, comfortable, present state possible. As opposed to thinking oh look it’s look at her, look at her face, she totally rolled her eyes, he took this watch check, this watch oh my god like no. I’m focusing on me and just being totally present and just trusting enough work to get through. 

Chelsea: Yes and I love how you mentioned being present. Could you dig a little deeper into that? And because I feel like there are often I know especially with me there are some times where I want to be present, but there are so many thoughts going on. And so many other things and I’m like okay no just focus on the present just be here, just think about the music, or think about whatever it is that you’re trying to do. 

Calvin: Yeah. There’s a couple things here. So one would yeah for sure use the writing piece I mentioned before. So writing it out, get that stuff out of the way, affirm your value for sure. If it’s still stuck I’m going to start to notice my breathing. So like how is my heart going too fast, how’s my breathing going, I’m going to really tune into me. Because if I feel that heart grade going fast, slow down right versus letting myself get caught up in the loop. It’s like oh oh whoa whoa slow down, relax. So one thing you could do is something called anchoring I just learned. Where you’re focusing on five things you can see okay. So you’re about to go in the room, there are five things you can see. Just look around okay. It’s the computer I can see  Chelsea, I can see my phone, okay great. There are five things you can hear. I can hear the traffic, I can hear my heartbeat, I can hear my daughter, okay great. And then okay what are five things you can feel? And so just that simple five five five really allows you to become more present to where you are. Because it can be kind of abstract, be present you go what do I do right. So what are five things you can see, five things you can hear, five things you can feel and that’ll bring you back into your body. And you’ll be able to actually relax more at the moment. 

Chelsea: That’s awesome, that’s it. I love that. Are you currently teaching, or coaching, or doing group coaching, what are you currently up to?

Calvin:  Yeah. I’m coaching for sure. Like one-on-one clients. I’ve got a handful of those. Because I’m busy coaching as well, and speaking. So my two main things are speaking and coaching. So I’m speaking on finding a way to win, be your best under pressure, and then I’m helping folks do the same thing. So how to be their best when it matters most individually as well yeah. 

Chelsea: Awesome. And one thing that I wanted to ask you before we wrap up, is talking about you in one of your videos. You talked about confrontation, and avoiding confrontation ,and sometimes especially in the performance aspect. I remember in an audition that I had  felt so prepared. I felt so good about it. I did it. And there were just two men by themselves in the back of the room. And I took a trip all the way to New York City all by myself. And I was like oh look at me, I’m like doing this. And then at the end one of the guys said, “you know that character choice that you did right there, well I don’t agree with it. So I don’t think it was an appropriate choice.” And in the moment, my face felt hot, and I felt embarrassed, and I was like okay hold it in. Like don’t cry, don’t cry, you’re fine. But it’s like in certain situations like that, especially in auditions, where it’s kind of like this balance of being what they want but being yourself and being authentically you. But then also if there’s moments like that, feeling like you have the confidence to really stand up for yourself in an appropriate way. 

Calvin: Yeah. So this is a tough one because auditions like that, sometimes it’s a power play right. From the director person thing. But assuming it’s not something that’s interesting that happens is they want to see how you’re going to react to pressure. And that’s why they do it okay. And so it had happened to me in job interviews, and auditioning. Where they go “you know what I don’t believe you” and you go. You want to cry, as you’re saying right. So the important part here is like it’s okay whoa whoa whoa just calm down, relax. And that is being present to you thing. So what tends to happen, is we tend to react versus respond okay. So we get that punch in the mouth, and we go and you panic, and your mind’s going too fast, you can’t think, and now what do I say I’m going to lose my audition oh my god all right. So slow down okay and then simply respond what do you mean, can you explain me further. You know it doesn’t always work in auditions, but that’s the first thing you would start with is just first get present, and then say what are you getting at, can you explain more please. And the tough thing about the artist world is they say you know what, do it again and do it better. You’re like what does that even mean right. But the important part is like can you calm down and then just respond versus react. That’s the trick to that moment in the confrontation space is try and make the other person feel safe in the confrontation okay. So rather than just a lot of people kind of lash out in that moment, if you can make that person feel safe they may give you more of an answer, more of a response. Versus if you just gotta jump out at them you’re gonna go well you suck and you go and then it gets worse okay. So calm down, make them feel safe, and simply respond. That’s usually how we get through a moment like that, yeah. 

Chelsea: And so if there was say in this specific example, if I felt like it and for me I was actually very much not feeling confrontational. I was just whatever you say, like whatever you need. but I felt in the moment I totally just clammed up. And I was like okay, thank you, bye you know that one. But do you feel like there would be a way especially for performers, and auditions to respond in a non-confrontational way and that doesn’t come off as disrespectful, have a conversation about that?

Calvin: Yeah I think like back when I was acting in the days it was like they talk about a-list actors or really strong actors and they have this unbelievable confidence. So in that moment if you were to see an Anthony Hopkins or something like this right, or a Meryl Streep they wouldn’t be unusual for them to go what do you mean okay. And so someone’s like well I’m not Meryl Streep or Anthony Hopkins right. So what you want to do is act as if. So for my other coach training you’re going to leverage or associate to someone else’s ability success leaves clues so in that moment you act as if you are Meryl Streep. You’re not being confrontational, not being eager, not being braggadocious, you’re simply saying as a professional actor, I would say huh what do you mean. Even though you’re scared to death, and you’re shaking like crazy inside right. You’re going to pretend as if you are Meryl and you go okay can you what/why it  why/what don’t you agree with that choice, or what where do you see I went wrong here right. And that’s what they would do. And so a lot of times for a lot of my clients whether it’s actors, singers, wall street day traders, I’ll say act as if you are the best day trader, act as if you are the best teacher. Well how would they respond in that moment and try to try to use that as a model instead of your current model. And as they do that they’re able to find the right answers, the right questions, the right statements. That’s how I’d say to act as if you were the thing you wanted to be in that moment. 

Chelsea: Yes I love that. I saw a TED Talk one time by Amy Cuddy. I think it was called fake it until you become it that type of thing. And showing that you can really embody more confidence in that way. So that’s really fantastic. Well thank you Calvin so much for talking with me and for your time and this incredible insight. We’re so grateful for you.

Calvin:  Great! Thank you. I flew by. I can’t believe it’s already been this fast.

Chelsea:  I know. I feel like I want to turn you on like Tony Robbins or Chalene and just like listen to you talking for hours and hours on end. So it’s fun that you mentioned Tony Robbins because Chalene Johnson is very similar in that way and she’s kind of my Tony Robbins and so they actually I think did some collaboration together recently. Some sort of fun thing so I think her and Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins all kind of did some fun program together. 

Calvin: So that’s right that’s right. I have seen something like that recently so that’s good. Well I’m honored. It was an honor to be here. I really enjoyed it. As always I enjoy your work and I really appreciate this I seriously do.

Chelsea: Thank you, it means so much that you would come on here. When I first found you on Instagram, I thought oh wow this guy is incredible. And just kind of trying to start a conversation and then how responsive, and how amazing, and how humble you are and I’m kind of like a fangirl over here. So really thank you for coming on here, and thank you for your time, and for talking. So I know my audience will really appreciate hearing from you and all of the insight that you have to offer. 

Calvin: Great! Well I hope I could sure, that’s good.

ChelseaThat’s good, thank you.


Thank you so much for tuning in this week. I hope that you enjoyed it and learned something don’t forget to like it and subscribe to the channel. I post new videos every Wednesday and a new podcast every Friday thanks.

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