When I tell people that I’m an opera singer, they often gasp in surprise. That’s because most people don’t think opera is a real job. I might just as easily have said that I’m a dragon slayer or an alchemist.
And then, when I tell them that I don’t belong to a company, but travel around the world performing as a soloist at different venues, they get even more excited. Finally, they ask me if I’m famous, but they’re never disappointed when I admit that I’m not.
By this time, my new friends are usually grinning with guilty pleasure. This is because I’m breaking the rules. I am doing something that isn’t supposed to be possible. And that gives them permission to do something wild and crazy, too.
But the truth is that I need the same kind of inspiration, myself. When I get stuck, I need other people to show me how to be creative. I need help to “think outside the box” about my own life.
For example, I used to feel overwhelmed about networking. Because I studied music in Europe, I was worried that I didn’t have enough contacts in the States. I had been told that you can’t get ahead in opera unless you know the “right” people.
When I went to bootcamp at iCadenza, I realized that all people are the “right” people! My international experience has given me an amazing circle of friends, and they are the best friends I could ever wish for. I want to help them with their projects as much as they want to help me with mine. With friends in forty countries around the globe, there isn’t much I can’t do.
Here are 3 things that I am doing differently in 2012:
1. Surprising Myself – Big goals come with big hurdles. But there’s no reason that the “jumping over hurdles” part has to be boring. When I encounter an obstacle, I look for the most interesting, the most unusual, and the most creative solution. The key is to try something new. Catch yourself by surprise.
2. Celebrating More – Musicians tend to be perfectionists. We have high standards. We are never completely satisfied with our own performance. But we can’t allow ourselves to obsess about mistakes, because that’s just sad. When we torture ourselves about some imperfection, we’re being ungrateful! This year, I’m going to spend more time being thankful for my music.
3. Singing “On Purpose” – We all have dreams that we want to fulfill. It’s fun to create a bucket list of life goals. But no experience or achievement can be truly fulfilling unless it connects us to our purpose in life. My mission is to communicate the wild joy that I feel in my body whenever I sing. As I fill up my calendar with auditions and performances, I am going to use that mission to make any hard decisions that might come up.
In my next post, I’ll let you know how I’m doing with my new approach. It takes a lot of energy to make progress on big goals. We all get stuck sometimes. But we usually have more freedom than we think.