The voice is a powerful tool and something we can take for granted. From our first words, to the conversations we have in our day to day lives, to the presentations we give at work, we use voice to communicate on a daily basis. Our inner Voice changes as you go through puberty, and continues to evolve with your character and development. In this post, I’m going to share with your my vocal empowerment experience.
Finding My Voice
Voice is a deep part of who you are. Voice is an essential part of communication. Voice is ever-evolving.
Being in touch with your own authentic voice is something many people struggle with, including myself. They say life is a learning process, yet sometimes we have difficulty expressing ourselves. Whether it be not speaking up in a work meeting, to objecting to an idea, or miscommunication, due to lack of clarity, we sometimes will sell ourselves short.
My Teenage Years
As an adolescent I found solace in my voice: whether it be reading out loud in class, working on group projects, or singing. Music is a part of all of us: it allows us to connect across cultures, upbringings, and with our own authentic voice.
Each winter, music brings my family together. We go Christmas Caroling! It’s a great tradition traveling to the houses of various friends and family members. I love this time because I’m able to bond, socialize and enjoy the holidays with my family.
Since Christmas Caroling was a lot of fun, I joined choir . Choir became very important to me. Choir allowed me to express myself and harmonize with others.
I realized then that everyone has their own unique voice. Though, I was never a terrific singer, I had the opportunity for a a solo singing Oh Danny Boy in 7th grade. I crushed it!
Then…. puberty hit…. my voice changed and I was insecure like the typical teenager. I lost confidence in my singing voice. My younger brother was a terrific singer. He was involved in the top high school choir “Geoff” and continued singing into college. Now, he is an incredibly talented singer and someone I look up to.
For me, singing is an area where I used to have a fixed mindset. My brother was better because he was naturally talented. I was comparing his day 100 to my day 0. He had spent 1,000s of hours practicing before and after school, was it right for me to compare?
Vocal Empowerment Coaching
Fast forward 15 years to this past December 2016. My brother was in town and wanted to bring me to a Kundalini Yoga class. Here singing and chanting is incorporated into every class. While it is not a requirement to sing, it is a truly powerful experience expressing yourself through voice.
The yoga class brought up deep emotions, with flashbacks to adolescence, and was crucial in helping me understand the importance of understanding my own authentic voice. My yoga experience led me to take action to once and for all address my vocal insecurity through purposeful action.
Researching voice lessons in Minneapolis, I came upon an article on a woman whose passion resonated deeply with what we are doing at The Mastermind Within. She had the following quote:
“To help as many people as possible feel comfortable with their voices, and most important, with themselves. Everyone spends so much time worrying about what others think. We forget to just be ourselves. My other goal is to continue to perform powerful music that makes the world a better place.” – Ariella Forstein
After reaching out and speaking with Ariella, I knew this would be a perfect fit, and we scheduled a 6 week vocal empowerment program.
I pulled up to her building and was fully expecting to work on vocal technique and the “how to’s” of singing for the full hour. After spending a few minutes speaking in person, boy, did I realize this was much more profound than JUST learning how to sing.
According to Ariella, vocal empowerment is 30% the mechanics and fundamentals of singing, and 70% is understanding yourself and our own emotional blocks. She asked, “Why was are you taking this course?” “How could this course help you on our journey?” “Would you like to focus on vocal technique or work on your personal emotional blocks and self-understanding?”
As a fan of the Pareto Principle (what’s the 20% which will lead to 80% of the results), I wanted to focus the majority of time unlocking emotional blocks and the underlying self. She asked insightful questions and helped me come across some personal realizations.
There was one question that instantly resonated with me: “What is the one thing that is holding you back from becoming the person you would like to become?”
It took me a few minutes to ponder, though deep down I knew my answer… my job.
Leaving my Job?
I have been a credit analyst for just over 2.5 years. Currently, I work in the Allowance for Credit Losses department at a regional bank. I have been following the two pieces of advice from my Uncle who has been involved in banking / finance his whole career.
- Work your way up at a big bank
- Treat everyone the same, from the Janitor to the CEO. (Yes, I have met both janitors and the CEO and did treat them the same)
This is the “safe” path. I could work there for 30 years and make great money, have great job security, and retire a millionaire (following some KISS Finance Tips).
But guess what? It’s not my passion and I am a risk taker. I want to help people follow their dreams and become financially independent. My passion is to provide personal financial education to people struggling with their finances. Many people don’t receive personal finance education and it’s tragic. This is something I have known for many years… and The Mastermind Within has been an outlet for this passion.
In our first meeting, Ariella provided a comfortable space to discuss and communicate about myself. We ran through a variety of topics and had some great discussions. In addition, we went over some “fun-work” practice exercises on vocal techniques that to be practiced between classes.
Weeks 2 through 5
I was excited to go back to class with Ariella. Learning from someone who is insightful, passionate, and skilled in the art of vocal empowerment is an incredible experience.
In all education, you get what you put into it. I realized this was an opportunity to change my old fixed mindset to a growth mindset and an opportunity to address a perceived weakness from adolescence.
First, we recapped the previous week, and discussed the “fun-work” practices I did between classes. One of the main practices involved breath-work.
Breath is everything. It is our life, and something we will not survive without. Breath is something we take for granted. The average person takes 23,040 breathes a day which equates to over 8,409,000 breathes a year. If you live to 80, you will take over 672,000,000 breathes in your lifetime.
Take a minute to be conscious of your breath.
Traditionally, we are told it is powerful to speak and project your voice from deep within your lungs (some say your diaphragm), specifically while exhaling. Ariella taught me it is more important to speak through your heart and through your body (get out of your head). In other words, BEING AUTHENTIC is key.
Be authentic, be yourself. Understand you are perfect as you are, in every moment. Be present, and be accepting of yourself. This has been helpful throughout the weeks of vocal empowerment: I applied this on my own in my every day interactions and have continued to see progress in Kundalini Yoga.
Another big struggle of mine has been the idea of not being experienced or successful enough to teach others. Why would they want to listen to me regarding personal finance? I’m not a millionaire or financially free.
This is very common, and is known as “Impostor Syndrome.” Working with Ariella helped me understand the importance of value. All you need to be is one step ahead of someone else to provide value. We all can learn from one another. We all have different life experiences, choices, and studies we can share that are valuable. The Mastermind Within has provided a great platform to share experiences and financial knowledge. Going forward, I’m going to continue to look to provide value to my friends and family in the personal finance space.
If you are interested in some of my other personal experiences, check out my money story!
It’s crazy how fast 6 weeks goes! In the last week of class, we spent time discussing my personal progress. She asked how do I felt going forward about my voice, my life, and what I’d be focusing on in the future. After a long discussion, we practiced more singing and wrapped up.
Of course, I had to ask if she had any book recommendations! Erik and I love to read! Below are her recommendations for personal growth and self healing:
Concluding Thoughts on Vocal Empowerment Coaching
These last 6 weeks have been trans-formative. Ariella has taught me about the power of the voice, the fundamentals of how to project and sing, and most importantly, the emotional blocks that have hindered my authentic self. She has been an incredible mentor and teacher and would recommend her to anyone looking for self-growth.
There was one exercise that specifically resonated with me. This exercise left me feeling more confident, self-aware, and perceptive. I fully embraced it in my core. This was that of a Hawaiian meditation: “Ho’oponopono“. “Ho’oponopono” translates to: “I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You, I Love You”. This is a powerful mantra to be used alone for yourself. I personally recommend it to everyone.
I am glad to have found Ariella for Vocal Empowerment coaching verses traditional voice lessons. I would not have experienced the same growth had it not been for her.
Life is about experiences and this is one that has been powerful in my transformation. What experiences have had a profound impact on your life? Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?