Christine felt like she was on overload as the summer program she had been attending was winding down. Her head was spinning from all of the new material she had learned there. She felt overwhelmed with it all and wasn’t quite sure if she could even begin to process it. Which part of what she learned should she focus on and try to incorporate into her daily life/schedule? She had not only learned new vocal and performance techniques, but had learned a lot about herself as a person and how to be comfortable networking, which had always been a problem for her in the past. She also needed to process the information she learned about how to set up her own business and work at it every week. Wow! Yes, she was on overload. What to do?
How does one organize, process and use all the experiences, information, skills and tools gained over the summer?
I’m sure a lot of you feel the way Christine did. Processing everything you have learned can be daunting. You have the best of intentions, but it feels like there is just too much to deal with, too many differing venues to deal with and you don’t know where to start. So you just put it all away for when you have more time, energy, etc, and it never gets processed. All of your good intentions never materialize and all that good stuff you spent your time, energy and money on remains unused. Here is another bead to put on your sting of beads that reminds you that you just aren’t good enough to have a career.
“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid it that it never will begin. ”
Want some help? Here are a few suggestions to get you started…
First I want to say that often it takes weeks or even months to process everything. It’s often not something you can incorporate right away into your life and regular routine because it first needs to be digested. You might notice that occasionally some of these new skills and tools pop into your head out of the blue when you least expect it. A situation or opportunity arises and it’s only after the fact that you think about the skill or tool that would have worked beautifully. That’s a good start. At least you know it’s there. It’s like having jet lag. All that you learned needs to come to consciousness before not after you have to deal with whatever it is. It takes time for your mind/body connection to get caught up. Know that you will eventually get caught up if you make the effort, and like every new thing you learn, it takes time to make it into a habit.
Second, go out and buy some really nice Thank You notes that represent you, your Brand and write a hand written “thank you” to the people with whom you worked letting them know how much you enjoyed your time with them. Say a little something about what you learned, how much you appreciated their sharing their experiences with you and how much you enjoyed the time they spent with you. It doesn’t have to be long, but I can guarantee that you will be favorably remembered by them as a result.
“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. ”
~ Andy Warhol
Put all the new contact information and addresses into your computer with some notes about each person so you will remember them. Send a mass mailing and say you really want to stay in touch. You never know if you might have some job information to pass on or they might have something of interest to send to you. If you worked with some great professional people ask via email if it would be OK with them if you kept them abreast of what’s happening in your career and then, if you have their permission, make sure you follow through.
If you were involved in many different classes, start with just one of the classes and go through your impressions, notes and information concerning just that class and put it in some physical order. Spend time focusing only on what was learned in that particular class and see if there might be any other significant insights you may have had after the fact. Writing it down and then organizing it will help you process it and be able to put it to use sooner.
As you go through all you learned, start making a list of the particular skills and tools you want to work on. They don’t have to be in any particular order to begin with. When you have your list finished, prioritize it.
“If we did all the things that we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
~ Thomas Edison
After you have organized and prioritized your list, start with the number one thing on your list that you want to spend time on getting better at for this particular day only. Find the most important point or points that impacted your life and/or singing. Next, figure out how and where you can start incorporating that skill or tool into your normal daily life. Use your information, skills and tools just for that day and record your experience so you can make adjustments if they are necessary as you move forward. Work on just this one new skill or tool for a week. Next week start incorporating the next one into your daily life while still practicing the one from the previous week, etc. You will get better and better at feeling comfortable with these new ideas and changes as you move forward in your career and your life in general. You may find that some just don’t work for you and that’s OK too.
“Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting, it may not be logical but it is often true.”
~ Mr. Spock, Star Trek
If you have a plan of action to make your goals into a reality, see how these new resources might be beneficial in moving you closer to your goals. If you don’t have a plan, perhaps you have been inspired to create one. Remember there are those of you who can easily see the big picture or goal, but have a hard time making them into a reality. If that is the case, write your big goal down on the top of a piece of paper. Then off to the side, decide how long you think realistically it will take you to reach that goal. Five years? OK, if that’s it, then figure out what you have to do and where you need to be 3 years from now to get to the final goal in 5. Continuing backward, do 1 year from now, 9 months, 6 months 3 months, 1 week. When you are down to 1 week, ask yourself what couple of small things you can do each day of that week to move you toward accomplishing what needs to be done in week 2? When I say small tasks, I mean small like buy stamps, research where to find the appropriate information for your entry level so you can send your resume packets out eventually, get copies made, etc. When you get your big 5 year goal down to the 1 year away goal, it’s time to start another one. You can also have multiple goals running concurrently that have nothing to do with one another or your career. It’s about your enjoying the journey because often actually reaching a goal can be anticlimactic and make you feel hollow and empty.
All of these new resources are not just about you the singer but more importantly about you the whole person. Keeping balance in your life is never easy, but crucial to being healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. Yes, you have to use your time, energy and monies wisely and with focus, but you also have to make time to laugh and play with friends and family. This will allow you to keep your singing career in better perspective.
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
~ Patanjali (c. 1st to 3rd century BC)
In conclusion I want to say once again, don’t go back to where were and how you used to do things. Start from where you are now. Don’t fall back into your old habits and ways of thinking. Start from this new, fresh viewpoint. Continue to move forward. It can be scary because it might mean stepping outside your comfort zone. The more you practice doing this, the easier it gets. Remember, a belief system is just an idea backed by experience. It’s just a story you are telling yourself. So if you don’t like the outcome of your story start changing it and whenever your mind goes back to the old one, stop yourself and recite the new and improved one. Use these new expanded skills, tools, experiences and information daily in all do, especially the mundane activities and chores you hate. Use them or lose them. And whatever you do, don’t put all of these new skills and tools away until you think it is the appropriate time to start working on your career. It will never happen. Risk it all. Step out of your comfort zone. Create those positive results you want. And, above all, always stay flexible, curious and balanced in your life. Remember, the more congruent you are on inside, the more consistent you become on outside. You have all the resources you will ever need to be successful. Be your Brand.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ MK Gandi