Success!…In the spirit of Thanksgiving…

Success!…In the spirit of Thanksgiving…

I am a competitor. I am an artist, but I am also a competitor. I do not believe these two things to be mutually exclusive. However, one’s desire and one’s development are two different things all together. Everyone wants to know if they have what it takes, but the better question is, do you have what it takes to take it on. Who cares about the music. Really! Who cares!…I say as I try to grow my own vocal studio.

Rewind to my senior year of high school. I sit down with my high school chorus director and I want to know, “do I have what it takes to be a vocalist.” Be kind he says, that is your gift and you would do well to find a profession where you can use your gift. I walk away. Defeated. I can’t do it, I think. He says my gift is kindness, not my voice.

My worst fears are confirmed. I audition for an entry level scholarship at my university and I am turned down, rejected. I give up. I give up on my voice, and I forget what it means to be kind. I lose my gift, and for the first time in my life, I am lost.

Kindness-it seems so simple. We are taught in kindergarten… “sharing is caring” and “treat others the way you want to be treated”. BUT, how do we treat ourselves?

Look around and we see those who truly struggle with self-compassion and love, and in turn are hurting when trying to reach others. Slouched shoulders, panicked breathes, and hurt eyes. I vowed, I would never hurt another, never contribute to the pain, but in turn only continued to hurt myself.

Fast forward, years later. Audition after audition. I started to recognize a difference between myself and others. Others, would leave and criticize their self and their voice. I would leave and be grateful. Grateful, in spite of the rejection. I started to come out “on top”. I will readily admit that there are both better singers and teachers out there than I. I am SO thankful for this. I am even more thankful that they are kind enough to share the joy and pass the knowledge forward. They are kind.

In our lesson time, I ask my students to come up with three things that they liked and are grateful for in their performances. Why? Not because everything is perfect, and there’s nothing to work on, but because I want to foster their kindness as a gift.

As I’ve started my new venture, I have been asked to re-evaluate what success means to me. So, here is my answer:

I am a competitor. I DO care about marketing and growing my business. I DO care about income. I DO care about being the “best”. Yet, I care MOST about if I leaving those around me feeling better than before I came in the room. Are my interactions mutually beneficial? I strive to heal others in a way that keeps my own soul strong.

For the most part, I am successful. Sometimes, I fall down and I feel like the world is falling with me. Most of the time, I feel like we are building back up together again.

This year, for the sake of others, we must take personal responsibility. Keep ourselves (others) healthy. Keep ourselves (others) strong. That’s not easy. Be kind to yourselves. It’s a gift that it is inherent within us, but it is also a gift we can give to others.

In regards to my voice, the three things that I am most grateful for are…

It’s healthy. It may not always “behave” exactly how I want, but it’s ready to perform in a healthful way.

Stylistically, it’s mine. No other voice sounds like mine.

It is kind. It is my gift, and a gift I can share with others.

A very happy Thanksgiving.

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