I have written before in the #29DaystoDiva series that most small business go out of business in the span of ten years. That means that for singers starting in their late teens and early twenties, many will have left the singing profession by the time they are thirty. I do not mean singers who have transitioned into some aspect of singing life whether that’s academia or artistic employment with a non-profit. I mean the singers who got degrees in the field and are now full-time in non-musical careers and sing as a hobbyist, if that. It is my deep conviction that earlier inner work on pinpointing their values could have helped them avoid any pain of having to pivot in their career plan. Understanding your values can help you consistently make the right choice when opportunities arise. Knowing who you are and what you want out of life allows you to say “yes” or “no” with clarity and peace of mind.
How Do I Figure Out My Values?
Your values help you make strategic plans when important questions come up such as:
- Should I continue to live in this zip code?
- Should I apply for that internship/audition/job?
- What would help me cut down on the stress in my life?
- Why do I have the relationships with others that I have?
Getting very clear on what you value in life can help you follow your intuition to more success and free you from needless stress and worry. Don’t we all want less stress and worry in our lives? I feel like we can boil this process down into three parts. I want you to think about the things that light up your brain and get you motivated to take over the world. Then, I want you to think about the things that totally drain you. Finally, we’ll focus on the “why.”
What Motivates Me?
Think about a time when you felt you were on top of the world. You do not need to take other’s opinions into account here. Don’t diminish your experience by saying, “well, it was just a little thing but…” Claim the areas of your life that make you feel amazing! Practice the five questions as you think about these areas:
I felt amazing when I performed at the summer festival.
Because it was really hard repertoire.
Why did that make you feel amazing?
I had worked steadily on it and I performed it to the best of my ability.
Why is that important?
It showed me that I was able to take on large goals and accomplish them through discipline.
Why are those things important?
Because I know that to be a professional singer I need to demonstrate excellent performance skills on challenging repertoire and I did that.
What does this tell you about your values?
I know that I value hard work, discipline, determination, excellence, goal-setting, and lest I fail to mention – good singing.
What Stresses Me Out?
Where to start this list, am I right? Think through your day yesterday or the day before. Make a list of any of the things that were stressful or painful to you. Why were those activities or behaviors triggering stress or pain during your day? Take that information and see where those stressful behaviors or activities are incongruent with your values.
Why Do I…?
- Why do I buy what I buy?
- Why do I schedule myself the way I do?
- Why do I live where I live?
- Why do I pursue singing professionally?
- Why do I long for what I long for?
- Why do I admire whom I admire?
- Why do I have the relationships I have now?
This list can also be endless. Don’t get too hung up on that. Start now. Take a few of the questions in your mind today and answer them as you’re able. Begin to notice where patterns emerge that illustrate your values.
Remember that our inner work is dependent on actually doing the work. So, take your timer and give yourself five to ten minutes to do some of this work immediately. Then, tell me about it! Leave me a note in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter. I’m @mezzoihnen. You know that I love to hear from you!
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