In the pursuit of your singing success there may be times when the plateaus you hit or the desert seasons you face manifest themselves not in terms of a lack of work or having opportunities to advance your career. In fact, your might have had a few decent breaks, are growing your fan base, and have received some positive press in the process.
Yet, you may have a nagging sense that something is missing or you’re just going through the motions and not getting anywhere. Believe it or not, you may experience plateaus and dry periods that spring from a sense of not being satisfied, stimulated, appreciated, or challenged.
Quit Stalling – Start Calling
On the surface it sounds strange that you could experience material success yet not feel appreciated or satisfied; but, when you stop to think about it, there are things driving you on the inside to get attention, to offer an surprise, to stir emotions, to please or inspire your audience, and so on. These drives often prompt a deep need or desire to refine and rework things, or try something new – especially if they’re not being fully fed or nurtured.
To be prepared for these internal plateaus and desert seasons, we have an exercise for you to engage, or keep on hand. It takes some time, but it’s very simple to follow; and the results will vary according to the unique needs and goals of each individual that tries it.
Three Initial Steps
It begins with three initial steps that must be separated in time. It’s recommended that steps one, two, and three each be taken one day at a time. If you have a full day to play with, you can separate the steps with at least two hours in between them. If you wish, you can separate each of these first three the steps by a full week, but one day at a time is best.
Step One – Stimulants
The first step is to make a list of five singers, singer-songwriters, singing musicians, and performers you admire most. In compiling the list, consider the following qualities: (1) voice, (2) personality, (3) emotion/passion – ability to move an audience, (4) physical image – their look, and (5) character/values – what they represent or stand for. Once you have chosen your helping handful of those you admire, set it aside.
Step Two – Irritants
The second step is to consider five singers, singer-songwriters, singing musicians, and performers that evoke feelings of envy or jealously. These are entertainers and artists that can be irritating because they tend to remind you of a perceived weakness or deficit in your sense of who you are as a singer, singer-songwriter, or singing musician. Simply make your list of the five that come to mind first. If you’re stuck, use the criteria in the first step to trigger possible choices. Think of things like whose voice do you wish you had or who do you wish you looked more like or whose personality has qualities you wish you had – that sort of thing. Then, set this list aside.
Step Three – Mutants
And finally, the third step is to come up with five singers, singer-songwriters, singing musicians, and performers that you feel are overrated or simply don’t deserve the success or attention they’ve received or are receiving. These are people you think either have no talent, or they inherited or purchased their success in some way instead of earning it. Again, you can use the same criteria for evaluating these candidates as you did in step one. For example, who has achieved success in spite of having the most annoying, frightening, screeching, squawking voice? Who stands for everything you find negative or destructive and yet is thriving in the business?
Back To The Three
Once you have all three groups of five, the fun begins. Start with your third list; the ones you feel are overrated or undeserving. For each individual, identify the one thing that you find the most irritating or offensive about them. Then, set the list aside, and grab your second list, those that trigger feelings of envy and jealousy.
For each of those chosen in this group of five, ask yourself what makes you jealous or envious of this person. Identify the one biggest thing they have that prompts feelings of jealousy or envy. What is it that you wish you had or had more of? Be specific. Get beyond generalities such as: they’re successful, they’re attractive, they have a nice voice, or they’re popular. What specifically about each of these people do you wish you had more of or were more like? Make your notes by each of the five; and then, quickly set your list aside.
Now, move on to your list of those you admire. For each of these individuals, write down what it is specifically that you admire most. Once you have identified these points, return to your list of those that you feel are overrated or don’t deserve success.
Traits + Treats
For each of these individuals, ask these questions: what can you do or what have you done to steer clear of the offensive quality or trait? What, if anything, do you admire about this individual? What can you learn from this artist that will help you make better or wiser choices in your career? Make your notes, and move to your list of those you envy.
For each of these individuals, ask these questions: what can you do or what have you done to acquire the thing you envy that each individual has? What action can you take to use what feeds your jealousy or envy as fuel for making change? What do you admire about this individual? What can you learn from this artist that will help you make better or wiser choices in your career? Make your notes, and move to your list of those you admire.
In looking at your list of those you admire, cite examples of how you exhibit, mirror, or echo the thing you admire most about each individual. What can you do to enhance this and build upon it? How can this be used to help you make better or wiser choices in your career?
Connect The Chances For Change
Finally, look at your lists and note any connections between the three in terms of changes and better or wiser career moves and choices. You’ll be surprised how interrelated these groups of people are in terms of qualities they represent and the feelings they trigger.
Your list of the people you feel don’t deserve success or are overrated, will in some way represent fears and doubts about your own abilities. These individuals may also serve to remind you of your call and commitment to something higher. In other words, they trigger the things you hope no one will ever think about you, or they represent a level of compromise that you hope you never resort to because of desperation, peer pressure, career demands, burnout, or from selling out.
The list of those that spawn jealously represents qualities that you wish you had or attention you wish you were receiving. As you look more closely, you discover ways to acquire some of what they have, and you’ll likely recognize that you already have some of those qualities, or it’s among your goals or drives to find or develop them as you press on.
The list of those you admire represents higher standards you aspire to; and yet it often represents unique qualities or abilities that may not be among your strengths, but you see them as admirable. Look at the differences between the five people you admire and imagine a unique quality you have as earning you a spot along side these five artists you admire.
Map Out A Plan
By looking at these three lists, you can map out a plan for making positive changes based on the unique qualities, desires, and standards you appreciate in yourself as a singer, singer-songwriter, and singing musician.
After completing the exercise, put together a list of five objectives or goals for enhancement, advancement, or improvement in the pursuit of your singing success. You want one goal for each of these five areas: (1) voice, (2) personality, (3) emotion/passion – ability to move an audience, (4) physical image, and (5) character/values – what you represent or stand for. For each of these goals cite a specific attainable action step to take for fueling and feeding the change.
Fuel For Forums
Share your experience with this exercise with others at singingsuccess.tv via the forums. Talk about artists you admire, those wish you were more like, and even those you don’t understand or don’t respect. Find out what others are looking for and value as a singer. Engage others in a thought-provoking discussion of what matters most about things like image, motivation, being a role model, being a rebel –whatever issues this exercise prompts.
Revisit As Needed
You will face times when nothing seems to be working, and delay is starting to look a lot more like denial. There will also be seasons of substantial success in your career where you don’t quite feel satisfied with things on the inside, and you’re not sure why.
This exercise will help you to dive down beneath the surface of those troubled waters, as you fish for treasures that will get you back into the swim and float your boat, as you swiftly sail more smoothly in the pursuit of your singing success.