At the start of the new year, I know you’re full of energy and ideas about how to achieve the success you want in your singing. You’re feeling all excited about the things you’re going to do and how you’re going to start, but then the fear creeps in. That little voice in your head starts listing all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t do these things and now you’re stuck in inertia.
Here’s what I want you to know: the voice in your head is the voice of your fear, not of your truth or your power, but boy can it get in there. What it’s really good at is creating excuses using your fear which, in the end, prevents you from taking any forward motion.
You’re only going to get where you want to go when you take inspired action. So let’s look at the two most common excuses that plague singers and can paralyze you if you buy into them. You’ll never get out from under them until you understand the fear behind them so let’s examine these excuses, the fears that lead to them, and what you can do to shift them.
1. “I don’t have money.”
I hear this all the time. I don’t have the money to get expert training, make pro recordings, travel for auditions, etc. How many of you feel like you’d be so much farther along or so much more successful if you just had the money to invest in yourself? Do you often find yourself thinking: “If only I had the money to do X, Y, or Z then I’d be where I want to be?”
Here’s the thing, if you’re tired of being where you are and ready to get where you want to go then there’s always a way. It’s all about resourcefulness. If you’re committed enough to get resourceful, then you’ll find a way to do the things you need to do to move your singing and your career to the level you want.
The underlying fear here is what if I get resourceful, put the petal to the metal, find the money to invest in myself, and it doesn’t work? That’s a very real and common fear. That’s why I always talk about taking inspired action. Spending money on just any action to feel like you’re moving forward isn’t going get you where you want to go. If you want to be a great singer, you have to invest in yourself in a way that makes sense. That’s how you give yourself the best possible shot.
Don’t invest in yourself willy-nilly. Do your research and due diligence into what you’re investing in and who you’re going to work with. Whatever you need, search out the best programs, the best collaborators, the best teachers, the best things that feel the most aligned to your vision, and then do whatever you have to do to work with them.
It’s true, you can get resourceful, put yourself out there, and still not succeed the way you want to. There are no guarantees in this business, except for one: If you don’t get resourceful and don’t invest in the things you need to do to move the needle on your abilities and your career, you will stay right where you are and never have what you want.
2. “The industry is rigged.”
The other major excuse I hear all the time is that the industry is corrupt and has nothing to do with talent. It’s only about who you know. I get it. It’s a tough industry to break into and be a part of. There are so many artists out there who have so much talent and have been beaten down by the industry. But what if there were a way to sing and perform that let you rise above all that?
I know from my own experience and from over 20 years helping singers that there are many ways we get in our own way that we are unaware of. When singers get in touch with that, peel back the layers, and realize there are ways they’ve been thinking and singing that have actually been holding them back from blooming regardless of what the industry thinks, then what feels impossible all of a sudden becomes possible and it has nothing to do with the industry.
Connecting to people and making an impact with your voice and your music has never been easier to do outside of the industry then it is right now with the internet and social media. Singers I work with are doing it every day. But it’s really easy to point fingers to blame the industry. It can be scary to take a look at what we’re doing instead. The huge tragedy is when talented singers do that, they throw up their hands and miss a giant opportunity to empower themselves by looking at what they could be doing differently. You need to have a rock-solid foundation in your vocal technique, artistry, and most importantly, your mindset to do it. The problem is, most singers don’t realize where the weak links in their foundation are, they don’t have the right kind of support to address this foundation, and they feel very alone in trying to figure this all out on their own.
There is a way out of this stuck place, but you’ve got to nip in the bud any fear that might be hiding under the surface first. The key to being fearless in your pursuit of your passion and your goals as a singer is that you must be willing to examine what fears are there before you do anything else. It’s kind of miraculous how once you shine a light on them, they lose their power over you. It’s like the monster under the bed when you were a kid. You’d worked up this fear in your mind of this creature lying in wait under your bed. As your parents turn the lights off, you start spinning out with fear about this terrifying thing your mind is convincing you is under the bed. You’re paralyzed and you literally don’t want to move a pinky for fear of waking it. Then your mom comes back into the room and when you tell her you’re scared, what does she do? She holds your hand while the two of you shine a flashlight under the bed so you can see the truth that there’s nothing there. The fear only went away once you were brave enough to actually look. This is just a simple example of how looking at the fear neutralizes it.
Here’s what I know about most fears: They’re not real! My favorite acronym for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Our mind is attaching to one little piece of evidence of something and creating something else out of it that’s not actually real in this present moment. Fears around our voice, our singing, and our career are exactly the same.
When it comes down to it, fear is probably the only thing preventing you from singing at the level you want and having the life you want from it. It affects your technique, your resourcefulness to get the training you need, your motivation, your ability to put yourself out there, and most of all it affects your ability to believe in yourself.
So after you finish reading this article, I want you to take the first step to shift your fears. Shine a light on them. Air them out. Make a list of your biggest fears with respect to your singing, your career, and your talent. Then ask yourself if each one is real, meaning is it happening right now in this moment? Ninety-nine percent of the time the answer will be “No.” Most of the time our fear is about something in the future related to either not getting what we want or losing what we have.
Then share your list with someone you trust. I’m asking you to get real, get vulnerable, and put it out there. This is how you start to shift the fears and empower your singing. By shedding light on the fears, we’re focusing on the present moment so we can learn to trust that we are held by ourselves and our instrument. Then we can begin to create the sound our body is naturally and fearlessly inclined toward producing. This awareness is the first step on the path to fearlessness which will annihilate excuses and jumpstart your singing.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.