The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be. — Joan Oliver Goldsmith
Not putting a foot forward until we can put our best foot forward.
Always doing it right.
We have all had those places in our lives where fear and doubt and ego have shown up; where that little perfectionist demon sat on your shoulder and whispered in your ear, “ You’d better not do that,” or “What are you going to do if you fail?” or “What will people say? What will they think of you? You don’t want to be a disappointment to them, do you?”
And because of fear and uncertainty; because we have been so concerned with the outcome that we didn’t embrace the process, we may have missed opportunities and added more regrets to our list of Should’ve, Could’ves.
One of the most joyful women I know often sings next to me in our church choir. She has a stutter and most of the time she sings off key. But, my goodness, she sings with such fervor, pure joy and an openness that absolutely astounds me! What I also notice about Annie Mae (pseudonym) is that she never seems to shy away from anything new or adventurous. She appears to be open to all kinds of possibilities and never seems to be concerned about messing up or being judged. I’ve learned a lot about embracing life and all it has to offer by observing this woman.
Over the years, I have become more Annie Mae-like. I have intentionally become more of a participant in my own life. I have opened myself up to new challenges and new beginnings, which means I have also opened myself up to the possibility of failure. And do you know what? SO, WHAT?! So, what if I miss the mark? So, what if I don’t get everything the way that I want when I want it? So, what if people judge me? There is no judgment that anyone can wield against me that is harsher than what I say to myself when I Do Not Try.
In short, I don’t worry as much about the metaphorical wrong notes. I focus purely on the song that is my life. I. Sing! And do you know what? The more I embrace possibility, the more I step out on that limb, the more I sing, the more harmonious my life song is.
Now don’t get me wrong, in order to silence that perfectionism-doubt-ego demon that rears it’s ugly little head every now and then, I sometimes need a push, either from myself or from someone else. Whether I am encouraged through self- talk or by a blog such as this one or by talking with a trusted friend or loved one, what usually comes out of the conversation are these questions:
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if you do this thing?
- What would happen if you chose not to do this thing? How would you feel about yourself?
- What’s the payoff? How will doing this thing enhance your life or the lives of others?
That’s it! I answer those questions, and then, I usually choose to sing, baby. Wrong notes be damned!
Where do you need to show up in your life? Where do you need to open your mouth? Is it in a relationship that is stifling you? Is it on your job? Does it have to do with that weight you keep planning on losing? That person you need to stand up to? Going back to school? Starting a business?
My wish for you is that you quit avoiding the wrong notes and just enjoy singing your life song. Heck! It’s your song. You get to write it. You are the lyricist, composer, conductor, and the singer. So, who can tell you that it’s wrong? Only you can do that!
Do you know the line from the song His Eye Is On the Sparrow?
“I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free…”
I want to borrow from that line and put a little twist on it. And I hope that wherever you are in your life, wherever you need to show up and sing your life song, you will be able to say,
“ I sing to be happy. I sing to be free. This is life song and I will open my mouth and just sing.”
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