"the shy speaker" :lol:

I know lots of folks look at all the stuff I've done and think it all comes easy, but it don't.

I've been painfully - and I mean painfully - shy all my life. I've avoided social situations, stumbled through conversations with a red face, walked out of restaurants before ordering because I felt too uncomfortable to stay. Even worse, as much as I wanted to sing, I had so much stage fright when performing that I literally could not stand up because my knees were shaking so hard. I'd have to sit on a stool & even then I never sang in public the way I sang at home.

It was only after I began to work with a voice teacher who was also a terrified singer that I was able to slowly, with his help, over time, recognize how my negative thinking, habits and programming were limiting my ability to sing.

And of course, it only makes sense that what stops you from performing well in music also appears in other places in your life. It was like peeling away layers of an onion... getting past one barrier only to find another, each little habit feeling like it was part of my DNA.

I almost gave up, just about every week. But, thankfully, because I was so passionate about music and creativity... and because I didn't want to live a life that didn't include them anymore... I didn't let the internal resistance shut me down or quit. I began to heal.

I did some stand-up comedy about 5 years ago - it took me about 3 years of practicing, thinking about it and watching my friends do it, to get up the courage to actually go to the amateur night and perform my set. When I finally did it - I killed. I left the stage and the audience was cheering, and the MC called for me to come back on stage - but I couldn't. I couldn't.

I wasn't able to because I was backstage, on the floor. I literally had collapsed and couldn't get up, I was shaking so much. I think I lay there for at least 5 minutes, listening to the comic who came after me. I was eventually able to walk again :lol: and I did go back and do it again - about half-a-dozen times. It was something I challenged myself to do, and I felt like I had finally faced one of my fears head-on.

Then, about 3 years ago, when I was auditoning or performing as an actor and/or singer, I noticed a real difference. I'd get off stage after doing my thing, and then realize... 'oh my God, I wasn't nervous! Wow!'

And this week I did something I would absolutely have considered impossible at any time in my past. I actually successfully gave an inspirational talk to a local group of corporate/government types. Yes, a public speaking gig. I talked about my creative journey and what I've learned from walking this path.

I found four things in the process of rediscovering myself and my passion for music. Four things that helped me stay on track, and I want to share them with you.

1. -Spend time with yourself. Quiet time. Daily if you can, walk to work but leave the walkman at home; or meditate, or stop in a café and have a quiet coffee while you write in your journal. You need to stop, and listen to your soul. Raise your awareness of yourself & discover or rediscover what you are passionate about, and start in small ways to bring those things into your life.

2. -Forward action. Set your goals and move through the doubt with purpose – shine a light on that part of you that isn't on the bandwagon & invite it to come along for the ride. Understand that change is difficult for the psyche to accept and realize that the doubts and procrastination come from the Greek Chorus of negativity that lives in your head... and the GC don't want to lose their hold on you. Which brings me to...

3. -Routine. Work to achieve your goals in bite-sized chunks by taking action on a routine basis, as part of your life style and way of being. Action defeats doubt. Action creates energy, which moves us forward. Do something little every day towards that dream.

4. -Never give up.


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