Sometimes things don’t always go the way I plan — or the way I wanted them to go.

I can set such high unreasonable expectations for myself that I will experience disappointment and challenges when things go wrong. Recently I had a “singing challenge” — a challenge with my voice in a situation where I had high expectations to sing well, but I didn’t.

This isn’t really about singing though. We’ve all had that moment where expectations for ourselves are high.

Maybe you’re about to give an important presentation in front of your peers and leadership team.

Or you’re interviewing with a company you’re dying to work for.

Well, here’s how it went for me…

A couple of weeks ago I took an afternoon singing workshop with an amazing well-known jazz singer, Sineh Eeg. Now, I hadn’t sung jazz in quite some time, but when I was performing most every week for private events, I sang a lot of jazz songs. So, I thought this workshop would be fun and informative. I pulled out a song I used to love to sing – “When Sunny Gets Blue” and started practicing a few days before the workshop.

I had experience and confidence that this would be pretty easy. And I’m sure you’ve been there. You have an interview and you know you’re a shoe in!

My expectations set in…

I hadn’t really been practicing much before this so the first couple of practice sessions were a bit rocky and my voice felt heavy. My voice started to respond and I felt pretty confident I was going to sing okay and get a lot out of this workshop. Actually, I really wanted to sing WELL and present myself as the professional musician and singer that I had always been. One of my students was at the workshop and I also wanted to sing WELL for her. It’s funny how our ego shows up to complicate things.

On the day of the workshop, I warmed up that morning and felt good. There were about 20 people who were attending the workshop but I had to wait a couple of hours to sing. As I listened to the other singers, my voice started to feel very heavy. I tried humming to warm it up but that wasn’t working.

When it was my turn to sing I wasn’t very confident about how my voice would show up. Unfortunately, my voice had totally shut down and I had a hard time hitting some of the notes. Sineh noticed some tension in my shoulders and throat and she pointed that out to me. Of course, this is the very thing I teach my students — release the excess tension and consciously use the muscles that support your singing. I checked in with my body and I knew I wasn’t nervous but I did feel frustrated which resulted in that excess tension.

In the past I would have felt very embarrassed and self-conscious and then would have done a pretty heavy self-judgment attack on myself. That’s exactly what I did 30 years ago when I auditioned for a touring company of the musical Cats and I bombed the audition. I beat myself up for months on that one.

This time I was careful not to be self-judgmental because I’ve learned…

Every disappointment and every challenge is about learning and moving forward
Every disappointment and every challenge is an opportunity to check in with ourselves, be honest about our part in what happened, and contemplate what we can do differently
Every “so-called failure” is a chance to see what our thoughts and self-talk really are and create positive self-talk and feedback for ourselves.
Every disappointment and every challenge is an invitation to commit, and to keep showing up with more personal power, compassion, and integrity.

So I did a little check-in with what was going on…

Sure I was disappointed about the workshop. I had set high expectations to sing the way I used to sing when I was singing a lot. And frankly, I hadn’t prepared or practiced enough to get the results I wanted. I took for granted that my voice would just show up without doing the work of practicing.

What I realized…

I never wanted to take my voice for granted again and that daily practice would only make my voice stronger and more reliable. I wanted to love my voice and take care of it, nurture it and practice even when I’m not getting the results I want at the moment.

Things I couldn’t control…

As it turned out I had a virus the day of the workshop and it had settled in my throat. I was hoarse for the rest of the week. I nurtured my voice and I rested my voice for a few days.

Every day is a new chance to get back on track…

I had a singing performance at the end of the week on Sunday and so I practiced Friday night and Saturday and had a pretty good performance on Sunday. I showed up and my voice showed up.

It’s good to have high expectations for excellence in what we do but that means we have to be willing to show up and commit to doing excellent work. Of course even then we can fall short but we know that we have done the best we can do.

So if you bomb that presentation or fail the interview you so desperately wanted, don’t let that keep you down.

And we don’t have to worry about what other people think. We have shown up for ourselves and what matters to us. We can be confident that in this space anything is possible.


About Raising Your Impact

Faith Rumer is the Founder & CEO of Raising Your Impact.

She has been coaching voice, performance and communication skills, singing, acting, and dialects for over 30 years, working with thousands of students all over the world. She has trained Academy-Award-winning actors, Grammy-winning singer-songwriters, film, TV, and recording stars, as well as TV hosts, world-class entrepreneurs, speakers, CEOs, and CFOs. Now she’s coaching Social Media Influencers, YouTube, and Podcast hosts to help them raise their impact and make the most of their voices and their communication.

Faith’s signature voice and presentational coaching method have helped her clients find their own powerful authentic voice, up-level their communication, fine-tune their skills and talents and create the confidence they need to create the impact they want to have in their dream careers.

Faith also holds a Masters in Speech Pathology, specializing in voice science. A professional singer-songwriter, actor, and motivational speaker, Faith has performed on stages in front of thousands and has acted in numerous Feature films, TV shows, and theater.

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