Podcast Interview - "The Performers Edge" with Cailin Howarth, Nini Tolson & Daniel Tolson

Podcast Interview – “The Performer’s Edge” with Cailin Howarth, Nini Tolson & Daniel Tolson

Cailin Howarth is a classical singer who was trained at the Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne and has performed on stage more than 100 times across Australia and in Europe in front of audiences of up to 5000.

As a consultant, she has shown more than 250 people how to overcome performance anxiety and deal with setbacks more effectively.

And today, she is going to show you how to get The Performer’s Edge in your personal and professional life.

Learn more about Cailin: www.theperformersedge.world.

Learn More about Daniel Tolson & Nini Tolson: https://mentaldetox.com.au/stop-self-sabotage/.

Watch The Podcast on YouTube

Podcast Transcript


Daniel Tolson  (00:00):

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. Our guest today is a classical singer who was trained at the Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne, Australia and has performed on stage more than 100 times across Australia and in Europe. She’s also performed in front of stages up to 5,000 men and women as a consultant. She has shined more than 250 people. How do I become performance anxiety and deal with setbacks more effectively? And today she’s going to show you how to get the performance edge in your personal and professional life. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and help us welcome to the Mental Detox Podcast, our good friend, Cailin Howarth. Welcome!

Cailin Howarth (00:48):

Hey, thank you so much for having me. It’s wonderful to be here.

Daniel Tolson  (00:51):

Oh my gosh. In front of 5,000 people. It must be a surreal experience. It must be just looking out over a sea of people. Ha. How were the nerves?

Cailin Howarth (01:03):

It’s, it’s funny, it changes over time. You do become more used to it. The more times you do it, but there’s always that moment before you walk on stage of just almost tear up. And then as soon as you stop it, it’s just invigorating.

Daniel Tolson  (01:21):

Wonderful. I love that word invigorating. Now you’re, you’re, you’re many things. You’re, you’re a business owner. You’re a freelance classical singer and a management consultant. You’re delivering a psychometric assessments, you’ve traveled around the world, singing on stage is up to 5,000 people. How have you managed to do so much in such a short period of time? How have you managed that?

Cailin Howarth (01:49):

So I guess for me, I had a wide range of interests and I’m a, I’m a highly driven person and I just love becoming a leader in certain areas. So I mean, my, I started off with music when I was young. And I, I studied at the Conservatorium as you said. And through that experience I became really interested in the performance psychology side. So why does certain people succeed in performing? Why do certain people deal with setbacks that a lot of certain people suffer with performance anxiety more? And it was from there that I, that I vented more into the psychological side of performance. And began working in business psychology as a management consultant where I learned a lot about like the metrics and how to use those to best enhance people’s performance. And I just, I just love learning. I love learning about as much as I can and just yeah, learning learning is, is a big part of my life and I think that’s why managed to at this point do so many different kinds of things. Cause I’m always trying to learn something new.

Daniel Tolson  (03:04):

I’m sure what a lot of people have dreams of singing on the stage and they maybe think in their mind that the gods had come down off the mountain in Olympus and touched you on the head and gave you all these superpowers and they said, thou shall succeed and thou shall fail. Is that the truth or have you had to overcome obstacles to success?

Cailin Howarth (03:28):

Absolutely not. There have been so many obstacles and I am absolutely one who doesn’t believe that Helen plays a huge role in success. In my experience, it has so much more to do with the time and the effort and the motivation to succeed than anything else. I think about when I think about it in singing terms, you might be born with, you know, really large lungs and a really large voice box or larynx for example. But if you don’t then put in the work to develop those those natural abilities, all those natural ill then you’re not gonna get very far in, in whatever it is you choose to do. In, in my personal opinion for me, there’s been so many challenges to overcome. I experienced some of the challenges in my thinking, but a lot of my clients do performance anxiety thinking once thinking I’m not good enough. And so it’s given me a really good perspective now to be able to, or people who are experiencing the same thing.

Daniel Tolson  (04:38):

I, I agree. As I mentioned before, my mother wanted me to be a boy soprano and

Cailin Howarth (04:45):


Daniel Tolson  (04:45):

When I was young, I would say to myself, I don’t want to have that high voice. And when I got all of them and I started to do more business, I realized that having a good speakers voice was absolutely critical to success. And I went out and hired one of the world’s top vocal coaches by the name of Bob Coff. And we’ve worked together for almost three years now. And at the start my voice did not resonate. But through practice, rehearsing feedback and guidance, it now resonates and it’s a very different voice three years from before. And so what I know is that these things can be developed should you have the desire to do it. I didn’t have the talent, I didn’t like to public speak, but I learned the skills. So I, I absolutely agree that what you say is that a lack of belief holds people back. What are some of these self limiting beliefs that hold people back in, in your opinion? What do you see in your field?

Cailin Howarth (05:54):

Yes. So I said the people that I work with, which is sort of current creative people performing artists, the biggest thing that holds people back from success is the beliefs that they can actually do what they want to do. Which people find surprising given that performers being on stage in front of 5,000 people. As you said, a lot of people assume that you must be incredibly confident if you can get up there and perform in front of people. But the truth is, so how many people in, in my industry that I’m working with now is still terrified. So yeah, improving self efficacy and confidence is a big thing that I think about with my clients.

Daniel Tolson  (06:32):

So, so efficacy, what is it and how do, how do I get more of it? I’m Grady, how do I get it?

Cailin Howarth (06:40):

Don’t we all, don’t we all? So cells, the efficacy is the belief that we have in our own inability to do specific tasks. And it’s, it’s different from desire and it’s also different from confidence, which is generalized. So in my instance or in a performance instance, self efficacy would be, I believe that I can go out there on stage and sing this Aria really well. And one way that I speak about with my clients to improve their self efficacy is to keep a list of three things with them at all times. A list of three things that they know that make them really good at what they do. Because when we face [inaudible] or we’re having some kind of negative [inaudible] Mmm. People are who experienced a decreased level of belief in themselves that’s when negative self talk comes up.

Cailin Howarth (07:43):

So if we can change the way that people see themselves and their beliefs, it improves their self efficacy. So these things might be in my instance as my free things off that I write down off. I don’t know, it makes me good at what I do are all of my clients have had a positive experience working with me and it’s made a positive impact on the Korea. And then the second thing is that I have a very specific skill set and a niche skillset at the thing honed over many years. Which enables me to support my clients. So like keeping a list of these things that may test good at what we do, we can refer back to them in times that we might be doubting ourselves.

Daniel Tolson  (08:24):

Mm Hmm. There was a, as a research that I was looking at recently and only about 36% of the population are able to identify an emotion that they’re experiencing at any given time. And I’ve also learned that most people don’t have an acute awareness of what their strengths are. They can be very general, I’m good at this, I’m good at that. But they don’t truly know when you work with people, what are some, the things that they start to

Cailin Howarth (08:55):

Learn about their special skill sets? What, what do you see at the surface? And they started to have these aha and breakthrough moments. Yes. So I use a lot of Slack, a metric text in my coaching with people, which helps to identify these strengths in people. And what I have found I learned how to use these and I was trying to do these psychometric tests working as a management consultant and I now use them with my performing arts clients. And what I have found is that people, as you said, are often not aware of strengths that they had. So by saying, look, this is what the data says these are strikes, the mule is that really changes people’s opinion on what they can actually do and what they can actually achieve because we are often so much capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. So even just making people aware of these strengths that they have, I have found to be a really powerful tool. So improving people’s confidence in their self efficacy.

Daniel Tolson  (09:55):

I love psychometric assessments I was doing on one for myself probably about this time last year and I made a video I want to, and one of the strengths that I had was setting high standards. That was the first thing. The, the Pat that held me back was that I was setting standards so high for myself that only failure was possible. So the strength was onset of high standard, but it was so out of reach that I always

Cailin Howarth (10:27):


Daniel Tolson  (10:28):

And then it actually set me back in my personal evolution. And it wasn’t until my coach pointed that out that they said, look, there’s a strength and a weakness here. It’s helping but it’s also hurting you. And just that one piece of awareness was Abu. It brought it back into my attention and consciously I could start to manage it and it made a huge difference. And I’m a big believer and I believe you use Hogan assessments, is that correct?

Cailin Howarth (10:55):

Yes, I do. Yes.

Daniel Tolson  (10:56):

Wonderful assessments. And if people haven’t used them before, they should start to use them today in my opinion. Absolutely. Have you done those? No. With this one I don’t think I did. But have you done assessments before? Yes I did. Which one? The EQI assessment. And how long did it take you to do it?

Cailin Howarth (11:14):

Probably about [inaudible] you know, like my husband, you know when you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it. But no for me like as you said, we thought that we are okay. We don’t need those assessment to tell us who we really are though. When the assessment came out, I kind of surprised like my, my score is now low but I would expect a little bit higher limit that. And I think I really liked the point when you share that, you know, when we doing those assessment we see the strength of ourself cause most of the time most of the people probably just focusing on the weakness, you know, as he’s saying on that good enough I couldn’t do this. But when bring out

Daniel Tolson  (11:54):

Those assessment like is focusing on the positive side of us, I think that’s brilliant and wonderful.

Cailin Howarth (12:02):

Absolutely. My approach focusing on the positive to bring about a sense of self awareness. If you’re more aware of your strengths, you’re going to be more confident and with high confidence you’re going to put yourself out there for more things. And if you put yourself out there for more things, you’re more likely to get better opportunities and better chances of success. So I very much like a positive psychology approach.

Daniel Tolson  (12:23):

We had a client in Melbourne, very high performer and he was earning about $600,000 per year on straight commissions. And every opportunity he had to take an assessment, he jumped on it because he said two things. He said, one, you have to constantly learn about who you are and what you can do. You’ve also got to learn what holds you back and the things that you’re not strong at. That was the first thing he said. The second thing he said is the scariest thing in your life is actually to find out who you are and who you are not. And we had this conversation with somebody else in the office and the other team mate put off taking the assessment fat eight months because he was actually petrified to find out who he really was. And I sat down and I said, look, what are you worried about?

Daniel Tolson  (13:12):

He said, I’m really worried about learning about who I actually am. And I said, why is that? He said, because I don’t like myself and who I have become. And eventually he took the assessment and he was shocked to discover he was a different person and he wasn’t playing to his strengths. That’s so perception was totally different. And when he realized when he took this assessment, that’s who he was and how we went about things and what drove him, he said, I’ve got it wrong. I’ve been playing small, I haven’t been using it. And as soon as he started to utilize these strengths that he became aware of, his sales results doubled and quadrupled and he went from one of a good performer in Victoria to one of the top performers doubling his income. It’s phenomenal.

Cailin Howarth (14:00):

Wow. Yes, absolutely. I think, you know, having a greater sense of self awareness and improving your confidence. It’s not only good for your psychological state, but it’s also in my experience with the performance that I work with really good for the technical side of performance as well. So I, I’ve been working with with a client recently and we’ve been working very much on confidence and, and feeling as though he deserves to be at the position where he is and what we have found that as we have, as we’ve been working on improving his confidence, he said in our last session, my technical ability has increased dramatically. It’s just so much easier to do my craft and it’s all happened. With this sort of release of negative energy or negative self-belief around his abilities with that relate is that now being able to focus more on the technical side and his actual performance is improved. So it’s, you know, it’s all into interlinked.

Daniel Tolson  (15:03):

Absolutely. So those people are who are following us and our friends. How can I learn more about your work and learn more about the assessments that you deliver to help them gain the performance edge? What’s the best place to start to follow you? We should that guy.

Cailin Howarth (15:19):

Then I welcome you to visit my website, which is the performance edge. Don’t, Whoa. Oh, you can follow me on Instagram, which is the dots performers dos edge.

Daniel Tolson  (15:30):

Excellent. So ladies and gentlemen, what we will do is we’ll put the website below here, the performance edge.world, not just.com today, you not.com. Dot Asia but the world. So in fellow Kaitlin, how with right now, and Kaitlyn, thank you so much for sharing these ideas. And I know that they’re going to help a lot of people, and not just in Australia, but around the world. These are important things for everybody to learn right now. So we appreciate your time.

Cailin Howarth (15:57):

Thank you so much. I haven’t made, it’s in a pledge on,

Daniel Tolson  (15:59):

Yeah. Pleasure. You have a wonderful night, Jeff, and now.

Cailin Howarth (16:02):