Why don't we ask for help when we really need it?
This week I was asked to participate in a facebook thread where myself and some fellow Vocal Coaches had a discussion about all the things that we‘re grateful for. I thought about this for a minute and realised that one of the main things that I’m thankful for is how much better everything in my life and business is looking now, as compared to a year ago.
Looking back on it, I have come a long way. This time last year I was struggling with some health issues and doing my best to run a business whilst living in a town where my support network was almost non-existant. I was very very stressed and being incredibly hard on myself. Just thinking about it now makes me feel nauseous and short of breath. Phew.
Thankfully things turned a corner. I took some long overdue advice and made some small but powerful changes. It was gradual, but those changes really did transform my life and business.
There is one thing that I wish I had done differently. I wish I had given myself a break and let people help me when I was really struggling. For example, I was in desperate need of a holiday, but instead I pushed myself to work harder and harder which only made things worse. Taking time off when you’re self employed can be tricky but I have planned for this and I actually have a small fund that covers me if I need to take time off for sickness. Remembering how awful I felt this time last year, its obvious to me that I should have used that fund, but for some reason I didn’t think the situation was bad enough, or that I ‘deserved’ it.
I’m pretty certain that I could have prevented things from getting as bad as they felt a year ago just by taking some help. Had I taken some time off, my health would have improved, my thoughts would have been clearer and I would have been able to act from a place of clarity rather than despair. (Sounds dramatic, but that’s how I felt!)
I don’t think I’m alone in behaving this way. Most of the vocalists I work with come to me at a point where they are really struggling with something. Many of them tell me about the months and even years of vocal strain, lack of control and vocal fatigue that they have fought against. Some have turned down work, others have taken extensive amounts of time off from singing and others have quit entirely. Most of them are worried and frustrated, and very few of them have ever sought help from a vocal coach. Those who have, have committed the bare minimum to the process. Their approach to their vocal issues has been to go into denial and push their voices harder and harder. Just like I did last year.
I don’t know why we do this- maybe I’ll do some research on it (if you know, please leave a comment!) However, I do know that supporting singers who are really struggling is one of the best parts of my job. At least once a week a singer tells me how surprised they are that their voice has improved so quickly, how happy they are, and how much they wish they had sought help sooner. I’m not sure how to change this, but I’m really glad that I can be there when these singers are ready.
Are you struggling with your singing voice? email me: firstname.lastname@example.org