The simple identity shift exercise you need to be successful at the cello

beginner cello mental toughness self development Oct 23, 2023

Have you ever heard a little voice speaking in your head telling you, “you are not enough,” or “do you really think you can do that?” I sure have and still do! 


It is so easy to get into habits with our thoughts when we are living a fast paced life. We don’t take a short moment to pause and check in with ourselves and ask, “does this thought align with who I want to be?” It is more important to look at who you want to be in the future, than to look at the past and let that define who you are. If you get stuck in the past, all that means is that you are remaining the same and not changing. You may get to the end of a year and realize, “wow, I am in exactly the same place as I was a year ago.” If you want to stop this cycle then keep reading. Because there is absolutely a way for you to go from letting the past define your identity, to showing up as the strong and competent person you want to be. This doesn’t have to take years. In fact, it can take just a few minutes of slowing down and checking in with your thoughts to change this, and therefore change our identities! 


Specifically, we will be talking about what kind of person it takes to learn the cello, and how successful cello students learn, think and act in order to change their identities. 


In today’s blog post we will be going through three things:

  1. How do we develop our identities (current & desired)
  2. What is an identity shift, and how do you change it?
  3. The identity shift exercise you need to go from unsatisfied to energized with your life!

Let’s dive in!


How do we develop our identities (current & desired)


In childhood, when you are expected to be a certain way you live up to that. For example, if someone tells you, “you’re just not a musical person,” or “you are never on time,” then you fulfill that expectation. When you are little you can’t very well control how you see yourself because we imitate so much of what we see and learn. However, when we get older we keep these old identities and don’t learn to create new ones based on where we want to be in life. 


Ed Mylett explains this like the thermostat of your life. If you set a thermostat to 70 degrees, it will keep the room consistently at that temperature, regardless of the external factors. The only way to increase the temperature in the room is to raise the thermostat’s level, and when you get cold, you do exactly this. 


With your identity, if you see yourself at a certain level, no matter how hard you work to raise that level, you will always fall back to the comfort zone. Your identity is the thermostat to your life. This can only change when you change how you see yourself. Zig Ziglar says, “You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.” 


For example, if you see yourself as a 1-million dollar earner in your business, but you want your business to make $20-million, you will not achieve that level unless you start showing up as the kind of person that makes $20-million dollars. This does not mean that you will be spending at that level, it just means asking yourself the question, “how would 20 million dollar Susan show up today?” How would she finish this workout, what kinds of actions would she take to make 20 million dollars in her business this year, etc. 


This is a concept that I have been learning in the sales program that I am in: Guide Culture Academy. Macy Mcneely, the co-ceo has been focusing on this topic and I just had to include it in this post about identity because you will not achieve those high goals you have without this identity shift. 


What is an identity shift? And how do you change it?

By definition, the word “identity” means: “the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Character is something you can develop and therefore control. I would argue that you cannot control your personality. So it is important to look at what you can control in order to create an identity shift into who you want to be. 


So what can you control? You can control your character which comes out of your attitude and your actions. Your attitude is a combination of your general outlook on life, the way you react to what happens around you and how you decide to feel about the emotional triggers that present themselves every day. Most importantly, your attitude is based in your identity, how you see yourself and is influenced by your self talk. 


Your actions can often be a result of this, because how often do you find yourself talking to yourself throughout the day, thinking: “I can’t believe I made that mistake yet again. I must just be a horrible person.” Or “Maybe I’m just not cut out to learn new skills as an adult.” This kind of self talk re-affirms the kind of person you already see yourself to be, and change is not possible with this kind of attitude. 


What would happen if you started saying things to yourself like: “Yes, I see I made a mistake here. That’s not like me. I will try ___ next time and see if that works better.” 


Do you see the stark contrast? The key is in your reaction to what happened. Not necessarily changing the input YET. Once you have your attitude in check, then you have the power to change. Not the other way around. So the key takeaway here is to become hyper aware of a few things.


  1. What are you saying to yourself? The book of James says to “keep every thought captive” and that means to really take a look at your self talk. 
  2. Secondly, check what your actions are as a result of that self talk. If you change the self talk, you can change your actions, and then you change your life. 
  3. Thirdly, write down the kind of person you WANT to be and then list out how that person talks, acts, and the goals they have. Start showing up as that person NOW and you will see incredible results quickly!

Identity shift you need to be successful at the cello

The identity that successful cello students have + how they see themselves + their self talk 

So let’s go through the exercise outlined above about learning the cello. You will never be successful at it without first changing how you see yourself. 


Step 1: List of thoughts you might be thinking about yourself and the self talk surrounding it

  • I am not a musical person. 
  • I am not capable of learning new skills as an adult. 
  • You have to start an instrument in kindergarten in order to be successful at it. 
  • I am not smart enough to learn the cello. 
  • I don’t think I will be successful at it, so I’m not even going to try. 
  • It’s too hard of an instrument to begin with. 


Now there may be other things you might be thinking to yourself about learning the cello, but this is a start. 


Step 2: Check what actions you might or might not be taking as a result of those thoughts/self talk. You can also list the consequences that are happening based on these. 

  • (action you are not taking) - Not taking a chance on yourself to learn the cello. (See if it could in fact work for you)
  • (action you are not taking) - Not truly looking at your schedule to see if you can make 15m of time to practice
  • (consequence) - Feeling mentally tired at the end of the day because your brain did not have a chance to have a break
  • (consequence) - Coming to the end of each year in basically the same place you started off the year
  • (action you are taking) - Scrolling more on social media to escape the stressors of life



Step 3: Write down the kind of person you WANT to be, and the thoughts, actions and beliefs that person has. (this defines + re-affirms your identity) (BTW, this is also a partial list of beliefs + actions that a successful cello student has!)

  • You are kind + patient with your kids 
  • You have incorporated music into your everyday lifestyle 
  • You believe you are capable of learning new things
  • You believe that the cello can develop you brain
  • You show up for your own self care every day
  • You get up 15 minutes earlier to get your practicing in 
  • You believe that you are getting better everyday 
  • Playing the cello is just something that you do. 

So how do you feel after going through that exercise? Do you feel more clarity on the kind of person you want to be? If you have been struggling with the decision of learning the cello or not, perhaps this has helped you through that thought process a bit. If so, please comment below your own thoughts about learning the cello and I will help you out with some free coaching to work through this. 


Now I want you to imagine with me for a moment what your life looks like with the cello in it. THis is why you have clicked on this blog post. You want to know practically and emotionally so that you can have that identity shift too. So that you can be fully confident that learning the cello is in fact the right next step for you. 


Picture this… I can see you now. 

It is December 31, 2024 and you are sitting down to reflect over the past year. You have been playing the cello consistently for almost a year. You started in January and slowly have used the cello as a way to decompress after a busy day as a mom, life coach and business owner. 


In 15 minute segments here and there during your day you have learned the skill of playing the cello and are able to play a variety of Christmas Carols (to you and your kid’s delight!). This Christmas was one of the most musical you have ever experienced and you know it is due to a decision you made last year to truly become unrecognizable. 


As you sip on your peppermint mocha, savoring the last few sips of Christmas flavors, a feeling of warmth spreads over you, not just from the warm latte in your hand, but from deep within you. You feel proud of yourself for learning this new skill. And you know that you are better for it, having developed your brain, your level of joy and satisfaction in life. Looking out the frosted window, you feel calm and can’t wait to see what the new year will bring! One thing you know is that it will bring many more hours of enjoyment, learning new songs and seeing your daughter smile as you play. 


That’s the picture you want to see, isn’t it? 

What this means to you:

This is so possible for you friend! In Inner Voice Academy there are new cello song tutorials that are matched specifically to you and your skill level. What this means for you is being able to enjoy your practice sessions, knowing that you are learning at exactly the right rate. The real value is feeling so proud of yourself for learning a new song every week. This adds to your identity and shows you what kind of person you are. It builds up a reservoir of belief and proof that you are consistent and you can trust yourself


In a study done by Kumon, they rated levels of confidence before and after learning a new song with 500 people. The level of confidence was significantly higher after learning a new song than it was before, because by doing so you increase your feel of self accomplishment. 


This gives you the ability to trust yourself, and having that as a core of your identity is what you want, isn’t it? 

How to do this:

Very soon an exciting new version of Inner Voice Academy will be released! In this updated membership there will be song tutorials so that you can always have something new to look forward to. Right now, you can save your spot to Inner Voice Academy and get access to the Simply Sound Course (and more!) for only $315 a month! This means that you get to lock in this price for 2024, when all new students will be paying the new price. (Details to be announced soon!)


HERE is the link to join and I will reach out to you right away about your cello goals so that you can experience the bliss of learning new songs, building up that identity of who you are. 


If you are unsure if the cello, or if Inner Voice Academy as a way to learn the cello is for you, then sign up for a free discovery call using THIS LINK. I can’t wait to chat with you!

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