DREAM BIG…. Why not?

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On Saturday at approximately 3pm, I will take my fourth “at bat” for Team Adam Levine on NBC’s television competition “The Voice”. Talk about shooting for the fences… Pretty exciting right?

In non-baseball terms, I am going to stand in line for many hours (historically 5)  and sing my story for a producer from NBC and hope to high heaven that this time, I AM in fact, what the producers are looking for this season. When/if that happens, they may ask me to sing a “back up” song. When/if  I make it past that round, I get a “red” card which means I was “called back” in two days and then I have to sing 2-3 current songs two days later, When/if I make it past that round, that’s when I get the chance to fly to Los Angeles and sing on national television.

As you might be able to tell from this progression, as long shots go, this one is very long.

Yes, it’s a VERY long shot, AND I am still going to take it because who is to say, that I am not exactly what they are looking for THIS season.

Beyond watching the show since 2011, and DREAMING about being on the show, what can one do to prepare for such a potentially life-changing audition? Well, in a word, practice.

So back to the list, if you were doing “the math” that’s five songs to get “performance ready”. I have read at least 20 articles about artists who auditioned and did and didn’t make it and artists who chose not to go to Los Angeles though they were chosen for one reason or another.  I have read tons of blogs about what people who have auditioned and made it past the blinds have done.. but at the end of the day, the only thing I can be responsible for is what I do to prepare. So I teamed up with my truly awesome vocal coach and we prepped, and prepped and I feel ready. This time, I didn’t just prepare the one song, I prepared all five and they are ready to go. It’s scary to even type that, because what if.. what if…. The very act of preparing FIVE songs, not just the one or even two means I am letting myself walk out in belief that this MIGHT actually happen!

First things first, I updated my DREAM board (Thank you SUSIE!) with a picture of me singing for the coaches on the “Voice” with special attention to “Adam Levine” – A long time aficionado of Maroon Five, I have favored him as my coach from the inception of the show, and I continually nod my head in agreement with what he says as he coaches his current team, often remarking to my husband, “That’s my coach, right there!” It’s heady stuff to think about it, and I realize it’s a VERY VERY long shot but that doesn’t stop me from doing it. Here’s the thing about the dream board you see, almost everything on it, has come to fruition in the years since I created it. (special thanks to Ryan Avery who says “DREAM BIG” and this is advice I take to heart)

Music is very, very, very important to me and my family. I sing to my daughter all the time, sometimes in English, sometimes in French. Let’s face it, there would be no daughter without my supportive and talented husband.
It is because I love to sing that I even met him.

So to say music important to the Haston family is a strong understatement

The very first time I ever did karaoke, it reawakened in me the desire for performing, which had lain dormant for many years. I started going to karaoke and singing. I was in a few plays but nothing musical, my strength is 80’s hits and something you might hear on Broadway, as well as some current artists but mostly I trend towards standards by people like Bette Midler and her ilk, so you know.. no pressure.

With help of a talented music coach, I branched out and learned how to sing several different genres including opera.

I got my first singing part with Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin’s production of  “H.M.S. Pinafore” in the Summer of  2006. I was asked to be in the chorus and loved it, It was hard work and extremely rewarding and I added opera to the genres of songs I sing.

I kept singing and then my husband, then fiance (we were planning the wedding) we heard about this show, “The Voice” that was going to be on tv, we said that’s cool, it should be fun to watch. As we heard more about it, and watched the first season, one of the commercials talked about auditions and we both got excited and decided to audition in August 2011 (right after our wedding) and I made the mistake that time of singing a song but changing the phrasing and it did not go well for me. The second time I auditioned was in Austin, in July 2013, and I met some awesome people in line (she is actually auditioning again too!) – The third time I auditioned, I drove to Houston to stand in line with over 9,000 people in cold and blustery (did I mention it was outside?) and I sang “Maybe this Time” from Cabaret, (gotta love the irony!) – I posted on the blog about that one and then when they sent out the email saying that auditions were in Austin again, I got excited all over again and reached out to some of my other very talented friends to ask if they were auditioning too. I know what you are thinking.. why? would you tell other people and thus lower your chances to get picked? Here’s my thoughts on that, If I am meant to get picked for this season that won’t stop anyone else I tell about who subsequently auditions from getting picked.

Remember, dear readers, my mission in life is to inspire one person at a time.. What if my telling them gets them to go audition and they make it? How awesome would that be?
Of course I hope I make it.. you don’t work this hard or prepare this much to just do it “for fun”.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, maybe just maybe, so it will inspire you to shoot for the moon and go for something that seems big and scary. What do you have to lose?

I guess the better question is, what do you have to gain?

Think About It…

 

 

Self Loathing or Self Loving?

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Dear Readers,

Yesterday I had occasion to talk to several people in my capacity as coach and it was not until much later in the day that I realized that what I had said had made a difference and helped motivate someone to do something that they were scared or nervous about doing.

In case you are wondering, I am being vague to protect their privacy.

I am bringing this up because over and over again, I hear people around me say things like.. ” I am not creative but.. ” or “I am not really organized but..” basically painting themselves with labels like “can’t” or “I am not”  and the truth is.. what you say about yourself tends to stick.. Take me for instance, for YEARS, I said.. ” I am not good at math” and I even made jokes that were clever and verbose to cover my embarrassment…. e.g. “I have a fractious relationship with numbers”

Then one day I realized that it didn’t serve me to say it because it’s not true and saying it like that over and over again further cements the notion. To be brutally honest, my husband is better at them, and I have skill with numbers despite telling myself for most of my life I was bad at them.

I am not saying you can just “tell yourself” you are good at something till you believe it and that is enough.. No. You need to take action as well.

In reality, I am really good with numbers. “I have worked hard to become so.” Every time I calculated how much was left for us to pay on debt (and I mean down to the penny) — since according to Jeremy, we paid off 37,000.00 but according to me, it was 36,945.91 to be precise that we paid off to get debt-free.

I used to say, “I am not creative”. Yesterday, a good friend of mine, Dr. Keya Howard in fact, said, It’s a good thing you are so creative (just off-hand) and I didn’t even blink an eye while agreeing with her because it’s true, I am creative.

I spent a lot of time telling myself otherwise, until my Mom, and several other friends and family of choice members pointed it out to me, here and there and I began to realize it’s true, I am creative.

But back to you dear reader, what do you regularly say about yourself that isn’t true?

Here are some examples, I heard recently

“I’m not creative, I leave that to other people”

“I am not organized, so I am scared that this will all fall apart”

“I am not a runner”

“I can’t write a book, who would read it?”

We have the potential to be our #1 fan or our absolute worst critic, most of us choose the latter, but why not the former?

I challenge you to choose your words carefully, especially when talking about yourself.

What would your life look like if you chose to hold up the pom poms for yourself and shouted YAY ME!

Think About It…..cropped-cropped-imagejfminc.png

Why Do You Post? To inspire joy or jealousy?

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Dear Readers,
“She doesn’t have to smile..” I say this whenever anyone takes a picture of my child, mostly when I am holding her. I often have to remind myself of this when I take pictures of her.
She smiles a lot, which doesn’t require documentation, it’s nice when I get a picture where she happens to be smiling, AND I am learning to really put that camera down and live “in the moment” with her. Get on the floor and roll around with her instead of trying to take that perfect picture or get the perfect angle, because guess what, that isn’t life.. That’s a highlight reel of me showing you the best of my life so you start to compare your life to mine.
As I have said over and over again on this blog, I do my best to be authentic with you so I am telling you what’s true for me this week.
Monday was a very hard day for us, even more so for Vivienne since she got her 6 month vaccinations and in this visit our truly wonderful pediatrician told us we were feeding her too much food.
Ouch.
This is a hard thing to hear. So you mean after all the trouble I had with breastfeeding where I worried that I wasn’t feeding her enough, now I finally get that working ( going strong on 4 months now) and now you tell me I am OVERFEEDING her? Come on!!!
I got very upset and irrational because well, I started to compare her to other kids her size/age (forgetting she was 11 pounds when she first arrived!!!)  and say to myself, “We should have known…. what is wrong with us?” and other really unhelpful synaptic leaps. Over the last week, I have taken some time to really think about it, my first feeling was guilt. I said to myself, “We have been overfeeding her, it’s our fault, we suck as parents. Yep, that’s it, you are done, you have already screwed up your child.
I am not saying it was rational, I am saying it was my first reaction. Then after I sat with it awhile and we talked it out with the doctor, we made a new plan to feed her less, and logic started to take over and these thoughts came through-
1. We are new at this (and this is the hard part)– we are going to make mistakes.
2. How could we possibly know we were overfeeding her – Hello- it’s not like she can say “Mommy, I am full, please take away the food”?
And then, acceptance, – So we now know it’s a problem, what are we going to do about it?

At the end of the day, all that you and I can do is our best, every day to be as true to ourselves as possible and try really hard to not get caught up in the comparison game and start using other people as a measuring stick to what our child is doing or not doing in their life journey.

It’s never been more necessary to live a more realized and authentic life. I ran across a great interview with Simon Sinek discussing how dependent we are on our phones to wake, to notify us, to message us, to stimulate us and it’s all a vicious cycle because as soon as I take my perfect picture, I post my perfect picture and tag my perfect picture and then wait to see how many likes, loves, and comments (oh the comments) I get because each one is validation that my life is perfect and that everyone wants to be like me. Hold on, we have some falsehoods going on there.

First. I am not perfect.

Second. My life is not perfect

Third. My marriage is not perfect.

Fourth. My child is certainly not perfect.

Which begs the question, Why are we doing this?

What good does it do for me to post the “perfect picture” never mind that it took about 15 shots to get the right angle and the right expression to show you how perfect my life or my baby is which she is not.

Subscribing to this idea is what drives us nuts and the comparison game is senseless because there is NO finish line in this race.

I am saying it here and now, I am done with that kind of competition. Observe this very real, very unperfect picture. She is eating the dress and not even looking at the camera.

It’s hard because I want to take pictures of my baby, or myself or my shoes or my feet and get that perfect angle but it’s exhausting to try to hold yourself to that kind of standard and so I am done with the competition and the games. It’s going to be a progression of things.. like maybe I will reach for the phone to take her picture, but then put it back down again and really “be” with her. Or maybe, I will pick up the phone and take a picture but not try to get her to smile and just snap the picture when something strikes me as memorable. Progress is the goal, not perfection

I am the best mother that I can be for Vivienne, I am perfect in the sense that I am her flawed, complex and learning-how-to-do-this-all-important-job-of-motherhood one roller coaster day at a time. She is a happy baby, and she doesn’t have to smile in all her pictures to prove it.

Before you post your next picture – stop and think about it…and ask yourself- “Why am I posting this picture?” Is my goal to inspire joy or jealousy?

Think About It.

 

 

Speak it, Write it, and then DO IT!

Dear Readers, this is not a new concept.. it’s actually been around long before I drew a breath, but its a worthy reminder- here are just a few quotes to illustrate

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. -Colin Powell

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision. -Dalai Lama

Last night I was privileged to take part in an activity called “Vision Boarding” and though I have never done it before I really enjoyed thinking about my life and what is coming and what I want. The range is as broad or as narrow as you DESIRE.

This is all about YOU. Being selfish is not only allowed its ENCOURAGED in this exercise.

Do you want a different career or move up in the job you have? Do you want to travel more or less? Do you want to be something you are not today? Put it in writing or put it in pictures and then put it in FRONT of you so you have a visual representation of what you are working towards and BELIEVE it!

It has already made a difference in the choices I am making and more importantly the words I am using to describe myself and my future.

THINK ABOUT IT! and then go do it!VisionBoard

What a difference twenty minutes can make!

Dear Readers,

I am prepping to walk/run a 10 mile race in 24 days.. AIYEEEEE .. that is a very scary thing in black and white but its the truth and one of my running buddies said, you know I know you are busy at work but you really need to get on it to make that 10 mile race count.. I agreed with her (grudgingly) and she said.. start walking twenty minutes on your lunch. I have been at this two weeks now and I have to say it makes a world of difference in my outlook!

It truly refreshes the soul to walk away and be outside (okay its 40 degrees so I didn’t stay out there but I did walk up and down the stairs 7 times in 20 minutes)

This post is not to brag on myself, its to tell you that baby steps are crucial. I have said it time and time again. Meet yourself where you are. If you are tired today, walk for five minutes. If you are having a good day, walk for twenty.. Strive to do better tomorrow but don’t beat yourself up for what you “didn’t do” today.

Go, Do, BE! Go be Awesome — whatever that looks like for you TODAY!