8 ways to defeat self-doubt as a musician

8 ways to conquer 'Starving Artist Syndrome'

How to win the battle against ‘Starving Artist Syndrome.’

[This guest post was written by Jamie Leger.]

Sometimes it feels like we’re treading water in this competitive music business. And those daily challenges can drain us, deplete us, leave us feeling hopeless.

The pervasiveness of Starving Artist Syndrome is what makes it so destructive. It can be a lingering presence, one that makes us want to crawl back into our shells, grow apathetic, stop trying.

The effects of Starving Artist Syndrome on the artist:

  • depression
  • hopelessness
  • apathy
  • lethargy
  • confusion
  • frustration

The effective use of your resources is a MUST in order to survive and develop in your career.

Perhaps the most powerful resource you have in your arsenal is your mind.

Your mindset could spell the difference between success and failure in a number of aspects of your life and career. Most successful people will tell you that mindset is critical.

The thinking-feeling-doing (or not doing) cycle that is your life comes down to using your mind in a way that either serves you or drains you.

Without harnessing the power of our minds, we are out of control.  We give our control instead to fate. All the while, our minds, our inner operating system, could be working powerfully FOR us to help us fulfill our goals and desires.

Mahatma Gandhi once observed:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Here’s why you need to win the battle for your mind

Your art requires it

You cannot reach your true potential as an artist unless you have the power of your mind on your side

Your audience relies on it

They need you to deliver. Your message. your music.

Here are 8 tips for winning the battle for your mind:

1. Get a jump on your day with morning rituals and routines

Before it gets a jump on you! How you start the day often determines how the day goes. One of the most powerful ways to start your day is with rituals and routines that prepare, refresh, and ground you in yourself and your lifestyle.

I’ve been doing morning rituals now for over a decade and I can say that they are crucial to my success. Without rituals we are open and vulnerable to distractions or the whims and objectives of others. We can become habitually reactionary creatures.

Let rituals and hard work guide you to better answers, one morning at a time, over the course of a life.

“Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

2. Build unstoppable self-confidence with an unbroken self image

Be the superhero of your own movie. If your self image is positive it can give you the confidence to solve any problem or overcome any setback. On the negative, it can make you doubtful of your capabilities and potential and become a self-fulfilling prophecy to your detriment.

Think about how differently you feel when you are doing something you’re great at, compared to when you feel uncertain. When you’re in doubt, your mind starts to show pictures and tell stories about how you cannot or will not be successful and it breaks your self image. Over time this destructive downward spiral can corrode your self efficacy, your belief in your own ability to get things done.

“The most important question anyone can ask is: What myth am I living?” — Carl Jung

3. Give the mind enough evidence for why it should support you

The best thing you can do is to just stack up wins as fast as you can. Whatever your endeavor. Give your mind all the evidence it needs to support you in the task at hand.

If your mind knows what it’s doing it feels better and helps you in the ways it can.

4. Fall in love with what you have

Make what you want what you have, and be as happy as the day is long.

Be proud every day that you get to do what you do. Throughout your daily activities, exercise gratitude and slowly build that thinking into your unconscious mind. Do this so that you automatically trigger a sense of happiness and love whenever you are doing your work activities.

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” — Unknown

As they say, if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. If you feel content with where you’re at and find joy in doing the work then you’ve got one piece of your life handled. This is one of the hardest things for people to find; be grateful for having given yourself that gift.

5. Choose how to feel

You don’t have to wait to feel the way you hope to one day feel. You can generate thoughts that trigger feelings; and generating those feelings starts to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Viktor Frankl says:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

6. Be on purpose and on plan

When the mind has a purpose it has a set objective to work toward and thus can spend its time working on that. There’s nothing more satisfying than being on purpose, when every cell of your body carries a message and you are working on purpose and on plan.

Ask yourself questions to discover the deeper reasons and meanings behind your output. Meditate on your purpose until you find it. Then keep refining and refining.

If you don’t think that will work for you, ask yourself, what do you think life wants out of you?

“Instead of asking ‘what do I want from life?’ a more powerful question is, ‘what does life want from me?’” – Eckhart Tolle

7. Don’t go so fast

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

You aren’t just trying to have more, faster, because you’ll go too fast and miss the moment. Instead, cultivate a deeper awareness for the process and cycle of everyone and everything on earth. Be appreciative and savor the flavor as you go.

8. Abandon your doubt

Doubts are some of the slimiest, most insidious ways to use the mind. They creep in and sabotage your thinking and your confidence. You must learn to abandon doubt. If you get overly attached to doubt, it gets programmed into your mind.

Unless doubt serves you in some way, try to replace it with healthier, more positive thoughts.

“Just before you begin a good workout at the gym, you may get a feeling of doubt that you can actually do it. The same goes for your mind when you are about to tackle a difficult piece of work. You have to set your mind to the job and buckle down to doing it.” — David Hewitt


As a modern artist, you are the creator of your lifestyle and career. It’s up to you to choose the life you want and that means taking ownership of how your mind helps or hinders you. Once you’ve established your own powers of responsibility, you have regained choice and power over your thinking, feeling, and doing circuitry.

Once you’ve won the battle for your mind you can truly own your music career and change or improve any aspect of your life. Think about what a gift that is! It is freely available to you for the rest of your life.

Modern artist development facilitates and supports the process of finding and expressing from ones true self. It’s about developing as a person, as well as an artist and an entrepreneur.

This integrated training allows compounding benefits that flow out from each area of your life. If you are interested in modern musicianship, you can always advance the conversation with a coaching session. Book a complimentary music career growth session to gain clarity and focus on your vision and goals.

— Jamie Leger 
The Music Business Architect for Independent Artists & Creators



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