What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?

 
 

Every now and then, I go off course.

When this happens life becomes a monotonous blur of ‘to dos’ and going through the motions.

I get dizzied by my efforts to ‘make things work’ and ‘keep people happy’ that I lose a sense of myself, my passion and purpose.

With 2016 drawing to an end, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions to make sense of where I am and where I’m going.

Funnily enough, I have never really taken the time to answer this big pearler of a question and I have to say, the answer brought me out of my self-imposed fog.

‘What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?’

I have to say, it’s so funny how we transition from the mentality of ‘what can I get’ to ‘what can I give’.

In my teenage years right through to my twenties, achievement looked like accolades, being on the property market, making six-figures, jet setting across the world as a famous singer, being married to Leonardo DiCaprio (happy to say, that ‘13-year old girl dream' is over!) and the list goes on.

Now I did achieve some of those things in my twenties – I was making pretty good money and was climbing the corporate ladder - but I couldn’t shake the feeling of 1. being miserable and 2. still feeling like a loser.

I also changed my life completely at 27 years old to study music full-time and become a professional singer and singing teacher.

But it wasn’t until launching my business this year - Fearless Singer - that I truly felt excited and in alignment with my life goals.

You see, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs from both sides of my family. My Dad’s side are Greek migrants who built successful cafes in regional Queensland from very little in the form of money but did it with resilience, resourcefulness and generosity. In fact, they didn’t just build cafes they built warm welcoming hubs for the community. My Dad himself has always been in business and has the amazing ability to ‘dream big’ and see it through.

My Mum comes from a dairy farm and a long line of clever, hard working food producers. Mum changed her life and ours for the better, when she decided at 38 years old to finish her senior certificate to go back to study full-time at university. To pay for her uni fees, she bought and sold antique dolls and bears. She had a little shop in Rounds Arcade in Bundaberg called Toy Zone (named by me).         

So working for myself is a massive achievement. And I must say that after going solo in business, I have an enduring respect for business owners and freelancers.

Because… it’s pretty bloody hard at times.

One of my biggest discoveries this year has been that even when doing something that you love full-time, you will still experience the ‘cons.’

You can also get quite disillusioned and exhausted by it all, if you let it.

But what is supremely beautiful about these ‘cons’ is that they teach you so much about yourself and help you become even more ‘you’. Because the more years I have spent on this planet, I now realize that becoming ‘more of yourself’, IS the ultimate life goal.

The reality is that being uncomfortable forces you to go deep. It makes you ask probing questions, like, ‘why the feckle are you doing this?’ It teaches you to think and act creatively, to learn how to lovingly conquer that voice in your head that says ‘you’re a dick’ and to keep moving forward.

More importantly, it teaches you how to access that infinitely wise source that is always within you.

So go ahead and ask yourself now: ‘What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?’

I bet the answer will surprise, delight and perhaps make you slightly uncomfortable but inject you with a huge dose of love at the same time. I also promise that if you are feeling overwhelmed by life at the moment, it will remind you of the bigger picture.

This is how I answered and I have to say it floored me in the most loving and grounding of ways possible:  

“All I want to do in this lifetime is to make people believe they can sing and are top notch human beings who can do or be anything they want.”

So that’s my message. And if people start believing in themselves after being in my presence, that makes me pretty bloody happy.

P.S Registration closes tomorrow (Fri Dec 9 2016) for MY 6-Week Singing, Musicianship and Mindset Program. It will be your chance to work with me before I start scaling back on my one-on-one sessions.

More info here: =>

http://bit.ly/6weekprogram_FearlessSinger

 

Fear Less to Live Your Dreams of a Full-Time Creative Life

Do you know what?

When I first conceived the idea of having a personal and spiritual growth blog for Singers, Musicians and Creatives called ‘Fearless Singer’, I instantly got a pang in my chest and went into a state of panic.

Fear based thoughts and feelings started pouring in…

“How could I call myself Fearless Singer when I still sleep with the covers over my head?

             Why would anybody want to listen to me? 

                  I won’t be taken seriously as a musician!

I’ll lose friends, colleagues and clients if they know I subscribe to new age philosophies and practices.”

It seems to me that when we are given an inspired idea, fear raises its head. But instead of letting it cripple us, we can learn to embrace it and then quieten the fear induced noise in our heads.

This week’s episode of Fearless TV explores fear and how we can choose to see it as a powerful teacher and friend. I also give concepts and strategies that I use to help go beyond fear and get creative projects off the ground.

Mate, I want you to know that whatever it is that you are dreaming of right now, you can have! Whether you want to be a singer who performs on all the big stages around the world or you want to have your own creative business, it’s yours.

I believe that you have the inner resources you need to live a life beyond your wildest imagination.

There’s no need to fear the fear. It’s perfectly normal!

It’s OK to feel and acknowledge it.

But after that choose faith.

Have faith in yourself and your ability. Strengthen and practice it daily.

Have faith that you will be led to the right teachers, courses, books and information to help you succeed.

Allow creativity to work through you.  

 
 

One week of exercising Gratitude before my Music Practice & This is what happened…

I have to tell you… The breakthroughs were pretty remarkable but not unexpected!

Well first things first – I practiced more this week! I’m not going to lie, previous to now practicing or doing anything that regularly requires my 100% focus for more than 20 minutes, didn’t come naturally to me.

By adding the simple technique of writing a list of what makes me happy before drilling in singing technique or practicing my scales, meant that I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more. Not only that, I honestly started to look forward to doing my practice this week, which was a major shift for me.   

I was also a lot more gentle and forgiving towards myself. Previously, I had a tendency of getting annoyed for not getting things straight off the bat. So now singing technique and music practice has become another opportunity for me to exercise self-care.

I also started doing something that I would previously make some ridiculous excuse not to do… I kept a detailed practice journal! And oh my goodness – does this make a difference! Previously, any kind of practice journal for University assessments were pure work of fiction. If only I had employed this powerful tool earlier! For example, last Tuesday I practiced the Phrygian scale on the piano in all 12 weeks but found that playing it in G flat, D flat and A flat was a little tricky for me. So I wrote it down and worked on it the next the day and the day after that. It’s a concept so simple, yet one that I had resisted. And now I have an exciting, achievable game plan in place.

Gratitude helps us align with our inner guidance…

Jamie Smart, author of the The Little Book of Clarity, states: “Love, peace and clarity often carry the information you need to solve the more challenging issues in life.”

He also says: “Your wisdom will guide you from wherever you are now to your most fulfilling, inspiring life.”

The way I see it is, I always knew what I should have been practicing but I would often let negative beliefs and emotions blur my vision.

This negativity also meant that I was not always in the best mindset to be taking on new learning and would be oblivious to any small improvements I was making. Practice then became a self-flagellating session. Ouchy!

This small but powerful practice of writing down a list of things I was grateful for right now, even if the road to becoming in the same league as my jazz idols seemed like a slow boat to China (see what I did there?), meant that I was putting myself in a good place before taking on a serious endeavour. And this allows our inner intelligence to take over.

Lindsey Agness, author of Change Your Life with NLP says: “Our ability to choose the best emotional state for a particular situation is one of the most powerful and yet most overlooked and underused skills that we have. We may not be able to control external events and yet we can learn to control the way that we respond to them.”

It’s a simple equation, really.

Happy feelings = inner genius running the show.

Are you convinced yet?

Here is a challenge for you! If you haven’t already started - how about you join me on a 21 Day Gratitude Experiment?

You can sign up here!

Before embarking on any kind of practice – singing, music, art, writing, exercise – spend five to ten minutes writing down a list of what makes you happy and grateful right now.

Let me know the results!

As a reward, I’ll email you a free downloadable Fearless Singer Practice Journal.

Lots of Love,

 

THE GRATITUDE EXPERIMENT: Can gratitude make a difference to our singing practice?

I was beyond thrilled by the amazing response from last week's video! I think it's something we can all resonate with, no matter how old we are. 

Inspired to help those wanting to launch into a new creative career, I'm giving away the incredible book 'Born For This' by Chris Guillebeau to one lucky winner.  You can read about the book and its author here.

To win, all you need to do is follow me on Instagram, find the pic of the book and tag a friend in the comments.

I have to say, the video this week is short and sweet! It becomes somewhat entertaining when I have an altercation with a bee! 

This week, I'm conducting an experiment and I would love for you to join me! It's called the Gratitude Experiment.

Before I get into my singing practice this week, I will be spending five to ten minutes writing a list of things related to my voice and musicality that I'm grateful for. 

I'm starting simple by stating things like, I'm grateful for a healthy functioning larynx and vocal folds.

If you could give this a go, I would love for you to let me know of any major shifts or breakthroughs in your practice.

Next week I will be posting my results and delve deeper into the potential benefits of incorporating the attitude of gratitude into our daily singing/music practice.

Now I want to hear from you! Have you already been making gratitude a part of your daily practice? Any breakthroughs or major shifts in the practice room. Would LOVE for you to comment below!

You're Ageless! Start Living Your Dream/s

I was 27 and living in London when I decided to leave the corporate world behind, come home to Australia and study music full-time. And I have to say, it was not an easy decision to make.

Firstly, I wasn’t certain I could create a sustainable living in it -  I’d been playing keys and singing in garage bands for years and was lucky to make $50 at a gig.

I was also making good money in my media/marketing jobs at the time. They gave me nice titles and opportunities to move up the corporate ladder.

But truth be told, it wasn’t just the fear of leaving behind the cushy lifestyle that was stopping me, it was a belief so ingrained into my psyche that I had to do some major excavation work to shift it…

It was the insidious, false belief of ‘I am too old for this.’

Luckily my intuition prevailed. Despite my fear, I auditioned and was accepted into a Bachelor of Music in Jazz. Thus beginning my life as an enterprising and extremely fulfilled student for the next three years.

From time to time, the ‘I’m too old’ belief would raise its ugly head throughout my degrees but I forged ahead regardless.

So what made me take the leap?

  • I was fortunate to discover the amazing jazz singer and musician Melissa Forbes who had quit law to study music at 27. She has crafted an incredible career in music and her story played a big part in my decision - she was and still is my inspiration!
     

  • My Mum (also known as Sage or Guru) reminded me of my ‘single, no dependent or financial responsibility’ status. Thanks for rubbing salt into that wound Mum – it worked!
     

  • I also drew inspiration from her story. Mum changed her life at 38 years old when she decided to finish high school, earning her Senior Certificate. She was the first in her family to study at University and became the legendary primary school teacher she is today.
     

  • I pictured myself five to ten years down the track feeling even more miserable and stuck in an unfulfilling career. The thought gave me heart palpitations and was the impetus I needed to ‘dive off the deep end’.

Age – what about it?   

Why does age always seem to be a good reason not to pursue our dreams or even take up new skills or hobbies?

I’m always surprised by the amount of talented people in their early 20’s who come into my singing studio thinking it’s too late to have a career in music.  There’s this idea out there that one needs to ‘make it’ before they turn 20 in order to be successful.

I am equally surprised when a 60 something year old thinks it would be silly to take up singing as a pastime, even though they have always wanted to. Or they think it’s too late to do something about a business idea that has been burning inside them for 15 years. I know 60 plus year olds who are creating exceptional careers as singers and creative entrepreneurs. I also have 60 plus year olds learning singing from me, just for the joy of it.

The truth is, we’re ageless…

In Dr Christiane Northrup’s book Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being she argues that it isn’t such a bad thing to lie about your age, even to yourself. In fact, you may prolong your life, if you do.

She says, “In a sense, we have a shelf life. Structures on the tips of our chromosomes called telomeres, which are like wicks on sticks of dynamite, grow shorter when cells divide.

"When the wick gets small enough, cells no longer receive the instruction to replicate and their death follows.”

Dr Northrup states however we can “actually reverse aging by improving our ability to repair and lengthen our telomeres.”

She mentions that good lifestyle plays a part in this, including eating a healthy diet and engaging in stress management activities such as meditation and exercise, but she argues that a healthy mindset about our age also plays a major factor in our longevity.

She argues, “…the belief in the positive aspects of aging strongly affects your biology and thus your survival.”

Dr Northrup further states, “Your beliefs and thoughts are wired into your biology. They become your cells, tissues, and organs. There’s no supplement, no diet, no medicine, and no exercise regimen that can compare with the power of your thoughts and beliefs. That’s the very first place you need to look when anything goes wrong with your body.”

So if we believe ourselves to be ageless then our body will match up to this belief.  And therefore should no longer be an excuse to put our lives on hold.

So the question now is - what’s the first step you’re going to take towards living your dreams?   

Making a big drastic step like quitting your job in order to pursue your dream, isn’t always the best option for everyone. I had no responsibilities therefore if my plan was to go ass up – it wasn’t going to be the end of the world. Although, I must say I did land on my face a few times (I’ll spare those details for another blog post), but these moments just spurred me on. 

Some of us need to ease our way into achieving our goals, one step at a time. This approach is particularly helpful when our dreams are big and perhaps a little overwhelming. So we start with the obvious and the easy.

If your goal is to learn French so you can live in Paris for three months out your year, you could start by downloading a language learning app like Memrise or enrol at language school in your area.

You may decide to dedicate an hour a day reading blogs written by expats living in Paris - my favourite is Messy Nessy Chic – or researching the logistics of living in another country. 

Your next goal may be to save up for a holiday to study French for a month in Paris or go rural to make it cheaper.

Do you see where I’m going here?

Break that goal down into do-able chunks! The important thing is you need to take the action steps towards it.

And for Goodness sake – if the thought pops up that ‘you’re too old for this’, tell it to ‘eff off… I’m an ageless Goddess.’

Now I want to hear from you – have you stopped using age as an excuse to not live the life you want? Comment and tell me your story! I would love to hear from you.

Our Mind is our Singing Instrument: Establishing Healthy Beliefs about our Voice

There is a lot of information out there about how to take care of your singing voice but did you know it is equally important to look after your mind?
 
In fact, singing is a neuromuscular activity, which means that our brain is essentially our instrument. It tells our body what to do in order to make the sound we want (and to make sound full stop).

So we need to be aware of what we think and say about our voice as well as our ability to use it.

I'm a big believer that our thoughts and words shape our experience. Our subconscious mind is extremely powerful and pretty much runs the show, which we call ‘our life’. Therefore, what we say and believe to be true about our singing voice is what we are going to experience.

Let's go deeper here... What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think about your voice?

Is it words and feelings such as: "Oh I love it!"; "It's unique"; "It's strong"; "I'm getting better at developing my voice. I can hear an improvement every day."?

Or does your inner monologue sound more like this:   "I'm tone deaf!"; "I can't sing to save myself!"; "I can't hear any improvements. I should give up.”?

If it’s the latter, just giving you the disclaimer now, I’m going to get all Louise Hay on you.
 
Keep reading if you like all this self-love stuff…
 
I can tell you from personal experience not to give up – YOU CAN improve your voice by adopting a set of healthy beliefs. That means loving the shizzle out of your voice, despite it’s apparent weaknesses.
 
Let me tell you a story. In the past, I struggled with a weak chest voice, which makes it pretty difficult to sing contemporary music, especially jazz. I struggled to sing notes below a middle C and sometimes on a gig these notes would completely disappear.   

This caused me a lot of frustration. It didn’t matter what exercises my singing teacher (a head honcho, internationally renowned vocal pedagogue in contemporary music) gave me to strengthen my registration, my body was not complying. And why? At the time, I had no idea either, which of course kept feeding my frustration and to be honest, sadness.  
 
When I got to a particularly low point (excuse the pun!), I realized that I had some major self-enquiry work to do. And what did I discover? An icky web of beliefs that can be summed up as:

  • I didn’t believe I could change.

  • I didn’t believe the exercises would work for me.

  • And that my voice was inherently flawed.

So What do you do when you get to this point?
 
You start to exercise your love muscle! And I don’t that mean in a sexy-time kind of way. Moving on quickly…
 
I mean that you start practicing thinking and saying positive things about your voice.
 
That doesn’t mean proclaiming “I sound like Whitney Houston, therefore I am!”, when you are still developing your sense of pitch. On a side note, it’s always best to sound like yourself but that’s another blog post.
 
It means saying things to yourself that you will actually believe straight off the bat. You need to see it as those you are trying to brainwash a sceptic. Therefore, it will be easier to believe affirmations like, “I don’t care what my voice sounds like, it’s cool. It’s me. Bob Dylan or Marianne Faithful don’t have the most polished sounding voices, they have things to say and they do it well.”   
 
Or:   
 
         “I like how my voice sounds in the higher register.”
 
                 “This song suits my voice.”
 
                      “I like learning about how to build my voice.”
 
                         “I’m starting to hear some improvements.”
 
                            “It makes me happy and fulfilled that I’m even pursuing this.”  
 
Eventually your negative beliefs will begin to morph into positive ones and that is when the real magic starts to happen, my friends.
 
Your new beliefs will just get stronger and so will your voice. Your body will begin to integrate your technique practice, which will continue to reinforce your positive beliefs. It’s the gift that keeps giving!
 
Of course from time to time, negativity will rise it’s unfortunate looking head. But see it as an opportunity to do some weeding and the planting of new pleasing thoughts.  
 
More on this… I was at a Vince Jones workshop once. If you don’t know who he is, Google him, he is an incredible musician, national icon and top bloke. Anyhow he made reference to a wonderful piece of wisdom from David Suzuki which went along the lines of “Your body will do what you ask it to do, and why, because your body loves you”.
 
And as for me and my weak low register… Well I continue to strengthen it daily however it has become much stronger than it was. I no longer see it as an issue and those notes below a middle C stay put over a three to four-hour gig.  
 
Now I want to hear from you – have you stopped ‘hating on your voice’ and learned to love it quirks and all? Have you seen major improvements in your singing practice and life through changing your mindset?

Please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you!