So.....after doing my survey I found that most people never achieve the voice they want because of self doubt! What a killer! Never experiencing the joy of your voice because nagging mamma in your head is telling you you're not good enough is a tragedy. She needs to be ignored once and for all! Read on.....
Self doubt is part of the ego, as are all the other thoughts we have that are not focused on who we really are. Who we really are is pure positive energy and when we take any leap of faith in the direction of our greatest excitement, the Universe fully supports us, but we easily forget this if we are focused on our thoughts and personality. Dr Wayne Dyer says that when we listen to the ego we ‘Edge God Out’ (EGO), this is what the ego does. Self doubt keeps us on our stump and it stops us evolving. It provides us with a multitude of excuses as to why we shouldn’t use our voices. It says “I’m too old”, “the neighbours will hear me”, “no one can sing in my family so what makes me think I can sing,” “I was told I couldn’t sing when I was younger,” “I will never sound like Leona Lewis/Freddy Mercury/Pavarotti.”
Some people say self doubt is necessary because it keeps us grounded, but those people only say that because they themselves are too afraid to evolve. They also have a vested interest in keeping everyone else stuck to enable themselves to feel ok about being stuck too!
Learning to sing or developing your voice can be really scary, but it's all in your head. Why let self doubt stop you from experiencing the exhilaration of singing? Why do we honestly give a rip about what other people think? Remember that scene in _Friends_ when Phoebe is showing Rachel a new way to run by flailing her arms around?! Rachel is totally embarrassed but she just jumps in, tries it and feels totally liberated afterwards!
See my point? Read On
1. Take lessons or join a choir
If you try and take this on without any coaching it is inevitable that you will give up quickly. Learning to sing is challenging! You need someone to motivate you when you the going gets tough. Coaches can help put things in to perspective when you’re doubting your abilities and when you’re about to give up.
2. Set yourself achievable goals
This is another reason why you need a good coach. If you get exercises online you may not know if they are the right level for you and you’ll get frustrated if you can’t do them. Setting yourself achievable goals will mean your confidence will grow and self doubt will lower.
3. Practice even if you think it’s not working
It IS working! In the same way that we plateau when we exercise or diet - just keep going. But remember the human body has cycles and rhythms. Some days your voice may not be behaving due to stress, lack of sleep, emotional upheaval, menstrual cycle etc etc. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much too soon.
4. Ignore your thoughts
You are NOT your thoughts. You are much more than that. If you listened to self doubt you’d never get out of bed in the morning, so take some of that skill and apply it to singing. Worrying about whether you are good enough or not is using your imagination in the wrong way. Catch the self doubting thoughts and then choose to tell a different story. This is the where the work is. We are so well practiced at self doubt that it takes quite a bit of discipline to convert those thoughts into something more positive. At the end of the day, your thoughts are really NOT tell the truth about the full extend of your being.
5. You are not your voice
Don’t let your self worth be determined by how good your practice was. After Idina Menzel hit a real clanger at the end of Let It Go in Times Square the critics had a go. She came back with a fantastic statement “There are about 3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical; being a perfectionist, it took me a long time to realize that if I’m hitting 75 percent of them, I’m succeeding. Performing isn’t only about the acrobatics and the high notes. It’s staying in the moment, connecting with the audience in an authentic way, and making yourself real to them through the music. I am more than the notes I hit, and that’s how I try to approach my life.’ Take on board every word of that.
6. Don’t give a rip about what anyone thinks
In Method Acting I learned about this exercise that they do. A student is in a room where they are doing something they usually only do by themselves like dancing, singing, playing an instrument, writing a song, journalling…. some kind of task that requires alone time. Then, they get someone to walk in the room and the student doing the task must keep calm and carry on despite the interruption. This takes practice but it IS possible. I used to live with a fellow singer and we both used to do A LOT of vocal practice in our own time. It occurred to me that when she was practising, I wasn’t actually listening to her. I was just pottering around focussing on my own thing. So remember that when you are practising at home, PEOPLE PROBABLY AREN’T ACTUALLY LISTENING TO YOU. It’s you’re own ego that thinks they are!
7. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
It is very unlikely that your voice will ever be a true likeness from a recording. Recordings and even some live performances are processed beyond belief. It is the equivalent of air brushing! Compression, reverb, delay and autotune give the recorded voice tons are sparkle that don't exist in real life. There are certain voice types that sell well and over the years the recording industry has decided what they are, much like photographer deciding that the skinny model represents beauty (although that's changing). Most people don’t have those kinds of voices. Just as there are many body types, there are many voice types too. LOVE THE VOICE YOU’VE GOT !
7. Keep going
I have a student who’s been coming to me every week for 9 months. When she started, it was a bit hit and miss and she found a lot of things very challenging, her co-ordination wasn’t great but I started to see improvements so I quizzed her about it. She said that she was doing a lot of practice against all the odds. I was so impressed with her dedication and progress that I decided to push her even further. So, last week she got up in front of 30 people at my end of term concert and did a solo! And it wasn’t even an easy one. She is an example to me of how steady slow progress works. Don’t give up. Keep going, ignore self doubt…..it will be worth it.