In November 2014, I started taking singing lessons, which has been an absolute delight! This new endeavor took flight after a wonderful session of “Coffee With Cathy,” where all in attendance agreed to learn something new. One participant discovered during this session, that for most of her life she felt like she didn’t have a voice until recently. I suggested she take singing lessons, but her response was, “no, that’s not for me…why don’t you try it?” So here I am nine months later still taking singing lessons and absolutely loving them. My artist of choice to sing is Whitney Houston and my, what a talented artist and songstress she was. I did not recognize the brilliance of her talent until I started taking singing lessons. I started out singing some of her easier songs and I progressively chose more difficult songs as time goes by. My vocal coach patiently works with me while making me believe I can sing anything.
Well about eight weeks ago, this particular session was a little different. You see, my vocal coach carefully goes through the lyrics of each song, marking and highlighting on my lyric sheet when I should go to head voice, switch to chest voice and even putting large commas where I should breathe. He is even teaching me the intricate technique of belting, which is no easy task! You see, it is all of these little nuances that really make a difference while singing a song…especially a Whitney Houston song! So, this particular week in the midst of me singing, “I Will Always Love You,” I was feeling very unsure of myself and caged by the fear of not being good at something new. Frankly, I was feeling defeated! I wanted so badly to just give up and I was anxiously waiting for my vocal coach to stop me and just walk me through. Well this week he didn’t stop me, he let me continue to sing this song and I knew it wasn’t my best, for I had given up and gone back to what was comfortable for me, flat line singing…I was deflated. I thought to myself, “This is how you sang before you started taking lessons”
Finally, before the big finish to the song, he rescued me with his hand motion for me to stop. He then asked, with a tone of confusion in his voice, “Are you making the changes we marked on the lyrics?” I said, “No.” He then responded with a very powerful question, “Then why are we here?” That question along with the look of disappointment on his face was a painful “Aha” moment for me. I felt like the caged bird who couldn’t sing. I recognized in that moment that I only wanted to do what was comfortable for me. Then my vocal instructor said, “if you keep doing the same thing over and over again you will never improve.” I thought to myself, “that’s the definition of insanity.” These were short powerful statements that made me stand back, readjust and put forth the needed effort and to make the changes we discussed even it meant being uncomfortable for awhile.
As I was leaving my lesson this particular week, I asked myself, “How often does this same behavior show up in my life?” How often am I caged by my own fears, lack of confidence and desire to be comfortable, thereby, stifling my growth and making it difficult to get to the next level? My drive home from that singing lesson was very instrumental (no pun intended) in helping me make a major life change. I recently transitioned from my comfortable career of 12 years to “sing” in an arena that I have come to love for many years as a Life Coach/Executive Coach. Were there moments of being uncomfortable as I was making this change? Absolutely! Was there fear? Indeed, for I was walking away from what was comfortable for 12 years. (1 John 4:18) However, because I am no longer caged by these feelings, I have learned to acknowledge them, validate them and then open the cage and let them fly away. I’m amazed at how being able to manage these emotions, along with my strong support system, not only has my singing greatly improved…but I am now the caged bird who confidently sings, “I believe I can fly.” (Philippians 4:13)
For your Journal: Okay ladies…are there areas in your life where you feel caged? Areas where you keep doing the same thing over and over again, not because you want to, but because you like to being comfortable? Do share…