When one door closes, another one opens, goes the old saying. But sometimes that new door needs a bit of a shove if you’re shy. Finding the confidence to try new things can be daunting, but there are lots of benefits to stepping out of your comfort zone. For Jeff Anello, who performs music as The Anello, saying “yes” to new things led to the band opening Clockenflap and kicking off Young Post’s Live@YP series last year.
Now that his band mate Michal Garcia has left Hong Kong, Anello plans to keep making music, but also wants to use his knowledge of performing and teaching experience to help others with their confidence. He believes that finding your passion boosts your well-being and gives you goals to work towards. In a short video for Young Post, Anello talks about what passion is and its importance in life.
Playing music to large crowds has given the 32-year-old experience of making an impact, and a passion for performance. But his journey towards self-confidence started when he was growing up in New York, where he and his mum sometimes lived in shelters and struggled to find food.
“I bounced from school to school. I wasn’t in a place long enough to make friends, so I had to be outgoing and try my best to meet people,” Anello explains.
When Anello was young, his father left his mother to bring up her son alone. She instilled in him a fighting spirit and drive to work towards goals. “The stuff that I’ve gone through is nothing compared to what [my mum] dealt with,” he says. “But her resilience kept me going. She was really supportive of me following my passions.”
Animated and articulate, Anello seems like someone who wouldn’t think twice about getting onstage in front of hundreds of people. However, he admits he sometimes grapples with self-esteem and thoughts of failure – even though that might not be a bad thing. “Doubt and nervousness creep in sometimes. But you can run away or face it head on – it’s fight or flight.”
Many people sweat at the idea of giving a class presentation, a university interview, or even having a chat with their boss, but there are ways to stop yourself crumbling under pressure, says Anello. For that all-important first impression, making eye contact and smiling are key.
“You don’t even need to talk,” says Anello. “You’d be surprised how many relationships you might form. If you’re not looking at someone or not smiling that’s a negative impression and people won’t want to get to know you more. It takes practice.”
Anello plans to put his wisdom to use in lots of ways, including performance coaching, to help people build their confidence or learn how to make a good impression.
For example, if you’re invited to give a speech in class, Anello’s advice is to figure out what to say and how to deliver it so you can sound confident. And don’t be afraid if you slip up or get it wrong – failure can actually be a good thing.
“You have to accept that failure is unavoidable. It pushes you, and you have to accept it to succeed,” he says.
“I haven’t achieved everything I want, but I’ve had opportunities to try my best at new things,” he says, adding, “If you’re willing to find your passion, you’ll keep pushing for it and will eventually succeed.”