Let’s face it, singing is one of the easiest and one of the most difficult things you do. It can at once energize you and also leave you emotionally drained and physically listless. It takes you on a journey of highs and lows as it fully engages all six of your senses â€“ weâ€™re including intuition or the fine art of reading and feeding off of your audience.
Because singing is such an intensely sensory experience, it can also leave you wide open to an assault on the senses, thoughts, or feelings. That assault may cause you to go completely numb or shut down. Because the business is so competitive, and breaks seem so random, your nerves, emotions, and perceptions are often taken to task as well. There are many disappointments that can cause you to question your abilities, not trust the interpretive choices you make, and can even have you wondering if you should just give up.
Set Backs + Shut Downs
So, what are those things that tend to trip you up, set you back, or even make you think you should give up on pursuing a career as a singer, singer-songwriter, or singing musician? What are those walls you hit creatively, emotionally, or personally, that cause you to shut down, or get you frustrated to the point where you avoid others and stay to yourself? What starts you picking on your ability and putting yourself down, or knocking your gifts until you even deny that you are a singer or performer? What is it that triggers you to back off, pull away, and threatens to cut your power source completely?
These things happen. Singing and performing engage complete vulnerability. Many of the best artists are profoundly sensitive people. Because privacy and intimacy are invaded with such frequency itâ€™s natural that you will encounter people, situations, and events that cause you to turn off, tone down, back up, put on the brakes, or crash into a wall.
If it happens when you don’t have a lot of commitments, you can indulge some healthy down time. But if it happens in the studio, on the road, or onstage, it can be devastating. If it hits you just before an important meeting or during sound check minutes prior to that industry showcase youâ€™ve always dreamed of, it can send you spiraling downward and inward for many seasons before you even think of initiating recovery.
These triggers are not going to go away. However, they are manageable. Prevention and planning can help to minimize their influence and impact. The simple practice of identifying these triggers â€“ calling them out – will go a long way toward defusing lots of potentially damaging implosive power. You can also shore up your defenses, by having a game plan in place for averting disaster. It will help you duck or buffer any attempted blows.
Take a few minutes to think about the things, people, specific comments, personal issues, situations, creative challenges â€“ those things that will shut you down, turn you off, or even interfere with your ability to perform.
For The Record
So, write them down or record your thoughts. This is not a test or something to turn into a poster or greeting card. You’re simply taking inventory of the triggers that rob you of your joy and threaten your creative powers. There are no right-or-wrong answers. Nothing is off-limits in your choices. There is no set limit to the number of triggers on your list. There is no rule as to who, what, when, where, why, or how these hit you. Simply make note of all of the things that severely interfere with, compromise, or stop you from wanting to pursue your singing success.
One Day Away
Once you have your list of these triggers, set it aside for at least a full day. This is emotionally taxing â€“ or can be â€“ so set it aside and do something fun and totally self-indulgent. Then, after at least one day has gone by, return to your list.
What Burns Or Churns
For each item write down how it makes you feel. Then, note what your typical response tends to be in terms of your behavior or actions. Ask yourself what it is in you that shuts down or changes? What action if any do you take to address it? For those triggers on your list that haven’t happened, write down what its potential impact would be. After youâ€™ve written your responses to each trigger, set it aside for at least a full day.
For each trigger you are to create a statement that gives you power over the issue, person, situation â€“ whatever the case. You want to affirm your gift, personal power, talent â€“ whatever is under attack â€“ so that you come from a place of being in charge of the situation. Write your statements to affirm who you are as the sole owner of your gift. Think of yourself as a business owner, royalty, a multimedia executive, a world leader â€“ whatever role works to help you frame your sense of ownership and place of personal power..
Believe As Achieved
In addition to each affirming statement to counter each item on your list, note one accomplishment you have achieved in the pursuit of your singing success that makes you feel good about yourself. You can include any major accomplishment in life that affirms your gifts. Add one accomplishment for each trigger on your list.
Once you have written your affirming statements, along with your accomplishments, set the list aside one more time for at least another full day.
As you return to your list, write out your affirming statements only, one right after another, as if it is a poem or speech or letter â€“ or yes â€“ perhaps a bit of a greeting card or poster. Then, on another piece of paper, write out your list of accomplishments. These lists serve as a contract with yourself that affirms your gifts and personal power. Make up a title for yourself and a vision statement or catchy motto if you want and sign both lists.
Keep a copy of these handy for daily review until you know them by heart. Keep a copy of both lists in a special place you hold sacred for review at least once a week. Run through your lists from time-to-time after rehearsals, lessons, or performances.
The combination of positive statements along with your acknowledgement of verifiable, real accomplishments helps you to dismiss these triggers and secure your personal powers so that any perceived threat is minimal and the pursuit of your singing success continues without interruption.
Share your triggers and challenges with fellow viewers at SSTV. Use the tools and products available to strengthen your skills, increase your knowledge, build confidence and comfort, and celebrate the living community at SSTV. Use SSTV to affirm your power to achieve real singing success.