Bucket List Item #34 (aka Singing Lessons)

Do you keep a bucket list?

It's one of the ways we keep track of our dreams in my program Celebrate You.

Growing up I was pretty sure I couldn't sing.

Sure, I could hold a note on key, but my voice never sounded like a singing voice to me. I woke up with a desire to sing after a conversation with a friend's father, a well-known opera singer. He said that in his experience, anyone could be trained to sing, and he said it with such confidence that I believed him. I tucked that seed of hope into my heart and waited for the right time. Three years ago it sprouted onto my bucket list.

There it was, #34 on my 2014 Bucket List: Singing Lessons.

It was scary to write down. I couldn't imagine actually doing it.

And I didn't.

I re-evaluated that list in 2015. Do I write it again? Am I still drawn toward it? Yes.

Same process in 2016. It made the list a third time. Not many things stick around that long--either I do them or I lost interest in doing them and they disappear.

Singing lessons started to feel important. I started paying attention to coincidences and synchronicities. I collected names of recommended singing teachers. One day when I was feeling brave, I contacted my top pick and we set up a time to get started. Over time my confidence while singing improved. Singing in front of others is still scary as hell, but guess what--I do it!

Here's what I did not see coming:

Singing lessons have been a metaphor for finding my voice in other ways.

Seriously! Expressing myself through song, by opening my mouth and feeling vulnerable, yet still sharing my voice, is empowering me to be brave and speak up in other ways.

I am willing to be heard and willing to be judged.

Who knew that's where singing lessons would lead...

What's been on your bucket list for awhile?

What are you waiting for? I dare you to take a tiny step toward it...

Expressive vs Receptive Skills

I've been involved in lots of habilitation therapy with my kids. Specifically for language, speech and communication. I have two kids whose ears are deaf or hard of hearing.

I remember clearly the big celebration when the therapist said "Your child is at or above age level for both receptive and expressive skills." Yay! It was a huge milestone to celebrate all the years of hard work and hard listening and repeating.

What are receptive and expressive skills?

Receptive language is understanding and interpreting language input, both in words and gestures. Expressive language focuses on the language output, how a person expresses themselves grammatically and what they want and need.

When I apply this concept to my life, my receptive skills are huge while my expressive skills are developing.

I am a life-long learner and love to take courses, read non-fiction books and keep stimulated with new ideas (high receptive skills). Soaking up a new idea is bliss. It's easy.  Historically, I've tended to put off teaching others what I know (developing expressive skills). My tendency has been to go learn more so I can be "perfect" when I teach, instead of teaching what I know, with all the holes and questions I still have. Learning is less risky; I don't feel vulnerable when I learn. This awareness of a pattern is causing me to exercise my expressive skills, take risks and express what I know.

In "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" Richard Bach wrote, "You teach best what you most need to learn."

I'm feeling that at a deep level. As I teach the topics I care most about, I continue learning, I ask questions, I stay humble and admit I don't know it all. It feels great to deepen the conversations and to hear others say "I never thought of that!" with a smile.

Which way will I change the world? How can I create kindness and inspire others to lead with kindness?

Only by speaking out, using that expressive side. Only by risking "doing it wrong" will I be able to connect with others and invite the change that I wish to see in the world.

That's my plan.

"Be the change that you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi