If your eyes are the window to your soul, then your voice is the expression of it.
Most of us have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul. That our state, emotions and warmth are reflected through our eyes. It is why my University Singing Tutor suggested I wear contacts on stage. Glasses form a barrier to your audience and we want to see your eyes when you sing! If this is true and certainly it has merit, then I want to extend this further into suggesting that our voices are the expression of our soul. Our words have power and so does our vocal delivery. Yet it is an area many people seem not to think about when they give speeches, read out loud to others or even communicate day to day.
What voice do you use to express yourself? Is your tone angry, pleasant, bored, non-committal or something else? Do you make a conscious choice in how you sound? Working with a voice teacher or trainer can help you hear. For years I have worked on myself and discovered through Opera the capabilities of my voice from a singing perspective. Even when I was young though I imagine I drove my parents crazy with all my noise, sound, pops squeaks and funny interpretations. All kids do it aside see in now in my own kids. They are not afraid to make noise and play!
Why do we lose this skill? We somehow grow up thinking there is only one way to speak. But we all have more. More to give, more to gain and more to learn about ourselves. When you are really happy what happens to your voice? When you are sad? What about when you wake up after drinking or a loud night talking on the town? Our voices express our feeling, our emotion and are a barometer for how we are.
I find it fascinating to work with people and help them uncover a good like playfulness so they too can see their voices are more capable than they think. It is not about singing on stage but simply communicating with a voice that resonates how they are feeling in this moment. Choosing to be aware too that a vocal change can also bring about personal change, growth and development.
This week I got a new tattoo. To cover up an old one. This is something that I have wanted to do for a while and have spoken with my wife about for a while. I got this tattoo when I was 19 and have always liked it but wanted to change it, to reflect my family. I chose a wonderful Vienna based New Zealand artist, Sam Rulz, to help me. Her work is excellent and beautiful to follow on Instagram. It is a big step though. Into permanent change. Not to erase the old, but to renew and to symbolise where I am now. I don't feel shame or regret for my former tattoo, but I would like it updated and renewed. My wife has to look at the back of my shoulder more than I do, so what nicer way for me to show my love than to get a tattoo.
It is also symbolic, in that we all change and need renewal. Not to erase the old, but to make it fresh again in some way. Not to cover up but to build over and strengthen. Change is inevitable for us all. Sometimes we cover up previous situations and build over previous efforts. Things never remain the same. The memory of my old tattoo will stay with me and when you look closely it is still there, but now it is transformed.
What do you want to transform about yourself? Perhaps a look, a tattoo or a behaviour? We all have the ability to change and I encourage it. Find help, transform and make the change permanent, for now. Nothing but is ever really permanent but it can feel like it for awhile. 20 years ago I never thought I would get a cover up tattoo that takes up a quarter of my back but I am proud of it. With measured ideas and consideration it now apart of me. I am changed. How will you change?
How much attention do you pay to the weather and the accompanying seasons? Many I teach feel absolutely affected by the seasons and for good reason. The weather and earth as a whole, I am sure really affects us, from our moods to actual physical health (allergies, temperature, illness).
How do you feel when the season changes? Does it fill you with excitement or dread?
The seasons are also a metaphor for our lives. We have times when we need to plant seeds, toil the ground and prepare and moments in life where the fruits of our labour are ready to eat.
Which season are you in now?
If you are like me, the seasons of life come and go fairly quickly. We all live with faster changes and so having time to really prepare ourselves is often difficult to obtain. Everything feels more and more like it is being done 'on the fly'. This can be difficult to do, we are told so much that we have set plans and goals, organise our time and work steadily towards our desires and plans and then it will all work out. Until it doesn't. Failure is an option and often a great teacher. But so is patience.
Gary Vaynerchuck amongst others, mentions the long game and I couldn't agree with this more, especially when you change countries as I did nearly 4 years ago. It is interesting, when I meet people many say, wow, such a short time and others, wow 4 years. One of the learnings I have made here is how things do take time. My seasons are becoming longer here. I have planted my seeds and toiled the ground, but must wait for the harvest. I must see what nature brings and how it will work out. An example might be a free workshop or speech I do. Often we think people will come running up and business will start pouring in, but more than once, I have not had this happen until some 12 months after the event. I no longer get disheartened by such events when I deliver something for free, as I know it will eventually bring a return. The harvest will come.
I like giving and make sure that each time I do there is a small return to me. Something to learn, an experience to gain, new people to meet and to learn from others. This is becoming more important than immediate business as this improves my personal growth. I am developing my brand and my position in the market. People need to hear of me, perhaps more than once, before they begin to trust me and to be open to what I can provide. This is where patience comes in again.
So how can we develop patience in our business life? We can keeping planting seeds and connections. Hustling as Gary V calls it. Continue developing new connections with people and to see value in what others do. How can we help them, serve others and give freely? We often give expecting reward, but I am slowly changing my mindset and just trying to give without expecting in return. Showing a genuine interest in others also helps.
With the seasons changing so quickly both metaphorically and physically it can feel difficult to keep up. We simply perhaps, have to stay open and prepared. That way when opportunity for harvest comes, we are ready! Good luck creating your opportunities!
Based on TED talk by Ingrid Fetell Lee. See the talk at
Ingrid Fetell Lee: Where joy hides and how to find it
Part of my daily routine is to watch one TED talk a day. Most days I have achieved this since I started the habit and my life is becoming more informative, aware and enriched by the experience. I encourage you to do similar when you are on public transport or instead of playing candy crush or some other type of online game. For me, it is a good way to understand some of the issues of the world and to hear from the scientists, researchers and people dedicated to finding answers to the burning questions of their lives.
One talk in particular I have been inspired by was 'Where joy hides and how to find it' by Ingrid Fetell Lee. She is a Designer who uncovered the aesthetics behind joy. Some of the points I find interesting and agreeable are:
It is here personally, I would add singing! Just sing! Find a song and sing it. Add music for joy. To uplift you and give you better feelings. These can be carried into your day and spread to others. So make time for it and do it! Be Joy and find ways to see and experience Joy!
David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.