Y’all know I share some REAL stuff, but THIS IS THE MOST VULNERABLE-FEELING POST I HAVE *EVER* DONE!!! And here’s why. Sometimes leading by example SUCKS in the moment, because in order to be real, you gotta actually DO THE THING. Which means, sometimes (if not always) you end up doing wildly uncomfortable things, in order to grow + lead through them. And, transparently, sometimes you do the thing in order to simply be able to honestly say “I get it more than you know.” when you’re talking with a client.

Here’s the thing. I know how to sing. I grew up singing. I would even say that I excelled at it. And here we are today – I’m re-learning what I already know. I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer.

It’s frustrating and defeating to NOT be able to do something you once were able to do with such ease and confidence. I used to perform in singing competitions. I consistently sang duets and solos during performances. Every year, junior high and high school. And then, without any notice (and no reason that I can put my finger to, even today), I had a “blank out” moment in the middle of a regional singing competition. My duet partner sang her lines, and I couldn’t get anything out. I couldn’t make a noise. I couldn’t move. I could hardly even breathe. We started the song over, and the same thing happened. And then for good measure, they attempted a third time and things got worse by the moment. I. Was. Mortified. Humiliated. Beyond embarrassed. I had failed. I had let her down. And that was that. We left, and we never sang together again. We didn’t even get to finish our last performance together because yours truly couldn’t even let out a note, let alone an entire song.

Earlier this year (twenty years after the fact), I hired a voice coach because I knew I didn’t want to keep living under this humiliation and fear from the past. I’ve replayed that moment in my head countless times, and I still have no idea what happened. But what I know for sure is that I can still take steps to overcome, even before I have it all figured out or before I know “why” it happened.

This whole process has been VERY uncomfortable for me, and I’m working with the best of the best. My voice coach is unreal talented, incredibly + fiercely loving, and dripping with wisdom! I adore her, and she adores me – AND, even then, she can’t take away my nerves. She can’t make this more comfortable for me. I have to actually walk this out. I have to show up. I have to be real with her. I have to practice. I have to be willing to take two steps forward and one step back, and then fall on my booty before I rise to the top of my game! She’s showing up to do her part (standing firmly for my vision to sing with confidence), and she won’t let me quit! Literally or figuratively.

You can see here (about 0:52 seconds into the video), where I clearly tell her she can stop recording, and you can see by the length of the video that she clearly doesn’t LOL! I had decided in my mind that what we already had was plenty, and she knew better! Sometimes we need to see the entire story to give context, and an excellent coach won’t let you experience only part of the learning opportunity. At the end of the day, I hired Yvette to help me gain confidence in my singing. I wanted to sing beautifully, and confidently, regardless of if I was on stage or in my car. And the process has looked WAY different than I imagined. I figured we’d pick a song and I’d practice, practice, practice until I got super good at that song and could sing it really confidently. Aww, sweetie (insert pity self hug). Super cute that you think that, but nope. That’s most definitely not how it works.

What it’s looked like is that we actually haven’t sung the majority of the time. We’ve been focusing on learning to breathe, relaxing my mouth so I’m not tense, and standing with good posture, but not being rigid. We’ve talked through my resistance when it comes up (because an excellent coach doesn’t pretend that resistance doesn’t stop you – they acknowledge it and walk you through it). We’ve practiced singing from my diaphragm instead of with my throat (still workin’ on this one, hence the awkward breathing in my video). And honestly, we’ve even had sessions where she simply ministered to me and we didn’t force singing just to say we did. An excellent coach doesn’t back down when resistance comes up – but it takes a willing student to actively move through it. She can want it for me all day long, but it’s still up to me to actively take the (uncomfortable!!) steps. Sometimes your coach tells you to do things you don’t want to do, but it’s because they know the benefit of you doing those things! And there are times where you will feel like freezing, but show up anyway, and let a coach support you through it!

This video feels so vulnerable to me because it’s letting you into a huge insecurity of mine. It’s showing you that I’m far from perfect (it’s been probably 20 years since that moment on stage, and I’m just now addressing this head on – so give yourself some grace). I did not plan to film tonight. I’m not digging my outfit (that shirt and hat do NOT go together). I didn’t really do my makeup. I’m self conscious about how uncomfortable I know I am in this, and how much I can see that when I watch the video. I had a million different thoughts going through my head about posting this, about how I look, about how I sound, about the fact that I was thinking about my breathing, and whether I was singing for my throat or not, trying to remember the words, deciding all the different things I wanted to highlight in this post for you, and trying to remember to hold the microphone properly. Oh, and being distracted by the fact that I could hear my voice coming from the speakers behind me! I’m definitely not at the skill level that I would like to be, but we have had a couple sessions along the way where I wasn’t even able to sing simply because of nerves, so this is huge progress – and my best session to date. Confession: I already knew I was going to share this publicly when I handed the phone to my coach and asked her to record it. BUT, I am honestly relieved that you can’t hear my voice as loudly as I thought you’d be able to. There are times where I’m not totally on pitch. One may think me tone deaf, but how can I be a coach and tell people to show up even when you’re scared if I myself am not showing you that I also actively do that?

P.S. Why is it so much easier to SPEAK into a microphone than it is to SING into one?

Song recording “Yours (Glory and Praise)” by Elevation worship