Have you ever felt that sometimes you just aren’t making the progress that you want with your voice?
I have a secret to tell you. All great singers have that same struggle. Let’s go further than that…
All great people have struggled in getting where they want to be.
Think about it this way – what actually makes someone ‘great’ at what they do?
Is it because they are a born natural talent? or, is it because they have built up some resilience by constantly challenging themselves?
The difference between them and everyone else isn’t that they are any better, it’s just that they are more disciplined and resilient than the rest.
Today I gave a speech at my old school on the subject of resilience and the feedback has been very positive, so it is a good opportunity to share the lessons outside of the classroom too.
A performer’s lessons in resilience
First of all performing is one of the careers where knock-backs are what you might call ‘frequent’. This game is no easy one to play, but the rewards of living a career that you’ve always dreamed of are worth every ounce of effort that I have given.
That is what I’d say is the difference between a professional and someone who ‘dabbles’.
Resilience is their secret weapon that allows them to bounce back when their down. Get back on your feet when no-one is holding a hand out to help them back up.
Before I became and actress, I studied psychology at Durham University, and read about one particular study by a woman named Bonnie Benard who in 1995 found:
Resilience is an innate quality that enables us to problem solve and think critically, whilst developing as socially competent, autonomous, and purposeful human beings. However, these tendencies must be nurtured. Home school and community all act to enhance the qualities, they can also diminish them
So let’s break that down.
The ability to be resilient is innate. We all have it.
We have the ability to problem solve to a greater or lesser extent, and to think critically. We can work things out. and we can social be competent, we can empathise, we understand how to read situations, how to communicate, we know when someone is hurt…and we can act independently, we don’t have to rely on peer pressure for social validation, and we each have a purpose.
We each have skill set unique to us to use, to pursue, ambition. This is something we are born with. But we need to work on these abilities, we need to sharpen our tools, bouncing back isn’t something that just happens.
Resilience is not natural – so be the unnatural
If we fail, the overwhelming urge is to run and hide. Resilience is not natural, not immediately. If we fail, we must learn not to mope, not to whinge, not to linger, no to fester. Who want’s to hang out a festerer? Do you know anyone who does that? Who moans all the time?
Who expects life to be fair all the time? Who doesn’t pick themselves up, dust themselves and say boom, hit me again? Are you that person? Are you the whinge? Do you attention-seek?
And if so, how boring and weak does it feel? Don’t be that person. Pick yourself up – you’ll be better for it.
You will be stronger for next time. You might even inspire other people. I ran a marathon last year – it was terrible. I couldn’t walk properly for days, but i showed myself I could do it and raised a lot of money for charity in the process.
One small crack in the windowpane of your life doesn’t mean you’re broken
You might not have the best start, the best this and the best that, but that’s not the end of the story. One small crack in the windowpane of your life doesn’t mean you’re broken, it means you were put to the test and you didn’t I would add, before I finish, resilience, it’s not being strong for the sake of it. It’s an inner strength, an ability to overcome, a quiet confidence, and it’s dynamic.
It can improve, it can wane if you don’t exercise it. So culture it, next time you get knocked down emotionally, physically or mentally, pick yourself back up. Sure, if you need some help or it’s offered, you could take it. Or you try getting back up on your own. Develop some resilience, invest in your strength of character, nurturing an inner strength. Don’t be a whinge, don’t use others as a crutch – instead be proactive about your future today.
Applying Resilience to your voice
When you hear your voice cracking, take a rest. But don’t make it a permanent one.
Put your voice in the best possible environment it can be so that it is ready for what you have to throw at it. You can even download my vocal health checklist to make sure you are following the right directions: happyvoices.co.uk
When you hear someone who you think sings ‘better’ than you, don’t get downhearted. Practice more, you will get there.
The start of every amazing thing is turning up every day. If all you do is turn up, you’re further ahead than most other people.
Thanks for reading,