We’re fast approaching the midpoint of 2010. It’s the perfect time to assess your singing success strategies and address any areas that need attention. Typically, most of those New Year’s resolutions made six months ago were history long before the end of January. But in order to assure real progress, you need to have checkpoints throughout the year for taking serious inventory of the strengths, achievements, weaknesses, and rough spots that are clearly having an impact on your professional pursuit of a vocal career, as well as your personal growth and overall vitality.
The last week of June is a perfect time for taking inventory. Additional times for personal assessment can be birthdays, anniversaries, significant turning points, and anything else that serves as a marker in time to make us look at where we are in terms of where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
Before we review those simple seven steps to success that we introduced for the New Year, let’s create two markers to use as part of your assessment as you move forward in developing the full potential of your voice and performance skills.
In looking back over the first six months of this year, identify what you would consider to be your greatest achievement. This may be a breakthrough in a session with a Brett Manning associate or working through Mastering Mix or any of Brett Manning’s programs. It could be the application of a tip you picked up from a Singing Success video clip. It could be a gig you had or a specific moment in a live performance or rehearsal. For those of you that are songwriters, it might be a new song or a new approach to something you’ve written that is the direct result of your voice getting stronger through Brett’s programs.
Stand Outs For Stepping Up
The goal here is to assess these six months, choose several bright spots that stand out most, and then pick the killer, standout highlight that you would like to have serve as a standard for measuring growth and quality as you continue to hone your craft, strengthen your voice, develop new skills, polish performance, and become more successful.
In addition, look back over your pursuit of a career in music. Go back to the first time you made the decision to take your singing success seriously. As you move forward, use this moment when that light went on as another point of reference in tracking just how far you’ve come.
And finally, take a moment to make note of the very first breakthrough you had that came as a direct result of working with any of Brett Manning’s programs and coaching methods. If you can’t think of that first breakthrough, choose the one major positive change that Brett’s teaching and programs has brought to your voice that has had the greatest impact on your growth as a singer, performer and/or songwriter. This serves as another marker for charting your continued growth and success.
For those of you that use Tom Jackson’s live performance programs, identify highlights and areas of growth as well. The same applies to those of you who are using MasterWriter2 to sharpen and enhance your songwriting skills.
Like Shooting Stars
These highlights will stay with you as points of reference and markers for measuring progress, but they’ll also serve to inspire, encourage, and remind you of your gifts, commitment, and the responsibility you have to share them to your fullest potential.
So, now let’s quickly review the seven simple steps to sure success. Remember that these were essentially based on the most common New Year’s resolutions. However, they’re framed in terms of the personal and professional perspectives of a singer, performer, musician, or singer-songwriter. As you work through each of the seven areas, jot down a highlight and a trouble spot or stumbling for each, with a note on what you can do to improve on both. Yes, that includes making each highlight even brighter.
1. Stay Active + Refresh + Refuel
This is the lose weight and eat right section, with its emphasis on keeping the machine in top running order. You need the stamina to endure long hours, heartaches, and all internal and external stressors that come with the pursuit of your passion.
So hydrate, take long walks, and avoid major meals after sunset and before sunrise. That’s the simplest diet plan for not overloading your system when your body is ready to rest, while walking is great for stimulating creativity while keeping the body in good working order. Remember to eat your colors. Choose a variety of vegetables, fruits, and beans that are red, green, yellow/orange, blue/purple, and white.
2. Spend + Save Responsibly
It’s key to set up a budget and follow it. The same struggles that come with dieting and exercise also come with budgeting. Stick to your budget so that your financial health will flourish.
Reduce existing debt and avoid incurring more debt at all costs. Work with others on accountability. Brainstorm on money-saving tips on wardrobe, gear, travel – everything related to helping you maintain and advance your career.
Unless it’s an emergency avoid credit. If emergencies come up and the credit is needed, set up a plan to pay it off ASAP. Keep a written record of all money spent. This gives you power over regulating its distribution and the return on your investments and interest.
Let’s also add invest wisely to this category. We have a tendency to think in terms of things costing too much. But, almost everything of lasting quality will have a significant price of some kind. So, it’s critical to always consider the pay off or potential impact of making any investment.
An example would be looking into the decision to come to Nashville to have a session with one of Brett Manning’s associates. You would obviously assess the cost of travel, accommodations, necessities, the lessons, and any incidentals like souvenirs/shopping. Then, you would weigh that along with the potential gains in confidence, experience, ability, expertise, networking, exposure, and so on. It is clearly worth your consideration!
3. Make Time For Loved Ones
We live in an age of instant communication through technology where very little face time with those who care about us. Your run to success can often be very lonely and demanding on your time. So, it’s critical to honor and nurture your support base that provides love, care, and concern in exchange for those very same needs. Think of it this way, even your most annoying or irritating relative can be a source of inspiration for a song, a character, or a story while gigging.
4. Kick The Fits + Nasty Habits
Everybody has their vices. It may be smoking, excessive drinking, too much chocolate, cursing, too much time surfing the web – pick your poison. Whether you’re a singer or not, becoming a non-smoker is probably one of the wisest life-choices you can make. The overall benefits to your health, career, relationships, confidence, energy, and to your sense of self-esteem for having kicked any habit will dramatically improve your quality of life.
It can be very affirming and empowering because kicking any habit is impossible without you taking the initiative and following through. You can certainly be encouraged by others, but no one can make you kick a habit. You have to do it yourself. So knock off anything that is clearly interfering with your ability to give your very best as a singer, musician, songwriter, or performer. In fact, whatever you do to improve your quality of life off-stage or outside of the studio will reap rewards for you in all aspects of the creative arena as well.
5. Make Necessary Shifts + Moves
If you don’t like the material you’re singing or the image you project, take a closer look at what you’d like to change, and change it! If the band you’re with isn’t working out, voice your views first. Then, do what’s best for you if it looks like your concerns or ideas have fallen on deaf ears.
Tap into your circles of connections for others that are a better fit in terms of partnerships or creative support for moving forward in your career. And if you feel like you need a change of scenery, or feel you’re stuck in the ruts of your old stomping grounds, consider a move to a bigger market such as Nashville, New York, L.A. or look into hitting the road and getting some gigs regionally.
6. Ready, Set, Grow
Never stop learning, and never grow up. Keep your mind open to new ideas and new concepts. Explore new material. Play around with other styles and genres. Educate yourself on trends in the music business; and then, put your own spin on them.
Invest in training with Brett Manning’s Mastering Mix and other programs. As you grow more confident and comfortable with your voice, you will naturally attract new ideas, a wider audience, and a stronger desire to step up to the microphone and strike chords that hit home in the hearts of your growing fan base.
7. Never Stop Giving
In tough times there is a tendency to pull back because of financial struggles and possible plateaus in the career. But that should never stop you from reaching out to others. Singing, songwriting, and musicianship are all incredibly powerful gifts. Granted, you want to be able to make a living out of the giving, but it all starts and ends with the loving and passion that drives you to shake up, unwrap, open, and share your gift.
Ask yourself how your gift can be used to make a difference in your community. Look for places such as nursing homes, social organizations, senior citizen centers, hospices, schools, and children’s hospitals. Then, volunteer your services, even if the work falls outside of the realm of music. Never underestimate the value of reaching out for the sake of giving love – period.
So, how did you do? Are you surprised by the markers you’ve discovered that validate your progress? Are you excited about the things you’ve identified as areas that need improvement? As you press on in the passion pursuit of your singing success, we hope these markers and areas for gauging success spark opportunities for grander gigs, wilder dreams, greater confidence, and a heightened awareness of the unique voice and individual passion for music that you bring to life’s venues and ventures.