I shall never forget my audition for 'The Voice.' That awful moment when the judges asked me to step forward from a line of 10 professional singers and sing my chosen song. I can only liken it to facing lions in a Roman circus, and believe me, I’m no gladiator nor am I a martyr!
I cannot tell a tale of courage and triumph. Just one of the shaky knees, hands, voice and eventually hyperventilation and a completely blank mind, that resulted in frustration and shame.
The lions would win after all!
This is a picture of my Daughter Clara singing at college (BIMM)who did get through to the knock-out round of The Voice - I will always be in awe of her courage!
You'll be pleased to know that I escaped with my life but not with my dignity. The thing is, I already knew I could sing well, so what on earth allowed so much self-doubt to enter my body and literally asphyxiate me?
This event happened about 12 years ago when I decided to be brave and audition for a place on The Voice (back then on the BBC).
Wondering why I put myself through it has been quite a journey in itself. I was a bit in awe of the people who do get on these shows - their courage and talent is amazing. This blog is not criticising the show or the contestants, but....
What led me to do it?
Was it a need to test myself, to get validation and recognition or was it a long standing dream that I would sing on a big stage in front of millions of people and be adored? I think perhaps it may have been a bit of all of the above. Humiliation never crossed my mind when I was filling out the form to apply.
The competition spurred by this type of TV talent show such as The Voice or the X-Factor may be fun, but can they actually harm our psyche with regards to the relationship we have with our own voices, and with ourselves?
It's great to listen to talented singers, just as it is great to watch an experienced carpenter or be taught by a dedicated teacher. Learned skills and natural talents can inspire us, but we tend to compare, and that is not healthy.
Anyone can learn to sing just like anyone can learn to play tennis, but not everyone will go to Wimbledon. We can still enjoy the game without comparing. Your own voice is expressed in a unique way that cannot ever be measured against another because your voice is more than a skill, it is the expression of who you are and the first step to loving that expression is to stop comparing it!
Back to my story..
After queuing, sitting, fiddling, listening, observing and going over my lyrics a 1000 times, my name, along with about 10 other people, was called out. We all inched our way along a corridor while exchanging nervous pleasantries from beneath a rather primeval 'sizing up' of our opponents. A bit like polite gladiators.
We all entered the arena together. The lions were released and each one of us stepped forward in turn to win the day....
I look back at this memory with a smile. It is a story of courage, humility and vulnerability. I learned a valuable lesson about my own self-acceptance and got a clear look into the dark eyes of my own fear of rejection.
I cannot say whether I would be any different in the same situation today. Sometimes my mind throws scenarios at me where I step forward and sing clearly with my whole body and soul. In this dream, the lions cower and the crowd cheer and throw up their arms (and thumbs) littering the arena with flowers.
However, these dreams don’t define my sense of worth anymore. They are dreams pertaining to a past of constant comparison, of feeling less, not good enough and of seeking approval, acceptance and love from others because I could not feel it within myself.
The voice cannot be compared or judged because each voice is as unique and beautiful as you are. My voice expresses who I am. It supports other people to find the love within themselves and it is the expression of my purpose in this life. No TV show can understand that richness. It just judges a superficial image of your voice, rather like a photo of your external physique.
What relationship do you have with your voice? Are you perhaps judging it or comparing it?
We carry our values, our creativity, our essence and our purpose in our voices. If we doubt it, so will others. Our voice is a part of us, but it carries the same vibration as the rest of the parts that make up our whole expression. Falling in love with your voice will get everyone else falling in love with it.
I work with small business owners who often underestimate the power that their own true voice (physically and metaphorically) can have on the growth of their business. Your expression attracts the clients or customers that want to work with you and buy from you because people buy from people. It just blows the whole idea of competition into the water!
You're expression is your truth, the vibration that attracts and connects.
So never believe that you have to queue up for an audition and perform amazing vocal runs with your voice. In the same way, you needn't feel that you have to have a hundred certificates on your wall to make you worthy because you are you - a unique star that shines brightly when you focus on being yourself in your entirety, in your fullness and beautiful your power. Your voice will express all of that if you allow it to.
The voice you have is the voice of your expression - take it into the world and live your purpose fully!
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