The recent Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech inspired me on so many levels. It was an amazing story of triumph and friendship. It was a coaching story of sorts and a piece of history that was awe-inspiring to learn more about since the circumstances are part of what made the world what it is today. I was so possessed by it that it even inspired me to create a new corporate keynote by the same name of this article.
Having spent a good portion of my life as a musical performer, I recognized a lot of the method to the madness of the creative speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. He helped the soon-to-be king find his voice and as a result, find his way to being an inspiring leader through a rough spot in history.
By working with many business people, I’ve seen similar transformations. They found their voice and their business or career took off. Although I’ve rarely used singing technique on coaching clients, I’d like to draw some parallels between finding your voice through singing and self-realization in life and business.
Singing is commonly known to be a feel-good activity. So many people who aren’t singers wish they were (Just watch the audition phase of American Idol!) or those who say they can’t will usually blame their infliction on being tone deaf. “Oh I can’t carry a tune!”
I believe everyone can sing. It may not be good, but it can be developed and finding your voice through singing can be miraculous. Music by passes the left-brain and logic—the root of fear. Music is a right brain activity and therefore, is a great tool to overcome linear, fearful thinking. In the movie, there was a scene where the would-be king meets the speech therapist for the first time. In a desperate attempt to help the king, the therapist played music on a headset while the king read from a book and immediately, the stutter disappeared completely! The left-brain can get in the way of complete freedom.
Freedom is not linear and here’s how to get it:
BREATHE—Every singer’s training begins with breathing technique. Why? Breath supports all sound. And for the non-singer, breathing properly is also an oxygenation of your creativity and potential that we often do not take advantage of.
Ten deep breaths upon awakening and before going to bed—-at least! Start now!
TUNE UP—Training your ear to match a tone (a certain note or sound) is essential to singing a song correctly. The focus for the lesser trained ear that is needed to match a tone is similar to what is needed by all of us to get ‘in tune’ with our life and career path. We need to listen carefully for the clues as to which direction to go in and follow the inner voice that is trying so hard to get our attention. Tune in to your own self, others and the world around you and watch circumstances change.
RAISE VOLUME—As you gain confidence in singing, you get louder. The same goes for speaking in public or finding your way in life. You may take tester steps only to gain the confidence to start taking strides towards where you are headed. Amplification of your vision, your ideals, your voice and your presence are what turn up the volume on your own life.
PERFORM—The most captivating singers are those that make it look effortless. To look effortless, there must be a comfort level that allows freedom and the ability to be fully present to the moment at hand. It takes hours of practice to perform like that. Improved performance, whether it be in sports, business, or personally comes from discipline, practice, knowledge and then a complete letting go and relaxation in the moments ‘on stage’. The muscle memory of the body takes over for fluid performance. To perform at your best, you are actually letting go—not giving up—but letting go instead of tensing up.
Combine all of this with a message that resonates and finding your voice will help you find your way….to freedom, ease and directions that will surprise you.