Own your uniqueness

I took Renee to her singing lesson last night and after each session, she gets to choose a song to sing.  Last night she chose ‘if I were a boy’ by Beyoncé.  When Renee sings her song’s, her coach stops her all through the song so she can go over the words that she needs to practice more.

He explained to me that Renee has a very unique voice and he is trying to keep the unique edge in there but take out the part in her voice where she forces the words.  As I don’t know what I am looking for in a unique voice I asked him what makes her voice unique, like what part am I missing because to me she just has a normal singing voice.

He looked at me and put his hand over his mouth and kind of smirked and stuttered his words and then said “well she gets it from you”, he said “she has this voice that is well umm” and I jumped in and said “bogan”, he said “well yes but a polished bogan”, he said “you have got this unique accent but it’s not bogan, it’s bogan with elegance” and then I laughed and remembered a time when I moved from NSW to Melbourne and all of my classmates asked me what my accent was, I replied “umm Australian”.  I think my housing commission, free-range lifestyle, must have contributed to my accent LOL.

Actually, come to think of it I was at a Business Chicks function a few months ago and as I walked into the toilets a lady introduced herself and then asked me where I am from.  I told her Melbourne and she said “oh yes I can tell, you have that accent”, I laughed and said “WTF oh do Sydney and Melbourne have different accents these days” LOL I said, “no it’s just the way I speak”.

Ok so going back to Renee’s singing coach he told me his job is to keep that uniqueness in Renee’s voice as it’s quite rare and the other singers that do have it have become very successful in their singing career.  He said if he were to remove that uniqueness it would leave her as a vanilla singer, meaning just like every other singer. I then asked about a pitch in her voice that I often hear and asked if that was good or should that be taken out and he said “no no no we need to leave that in there and showed me a couple of famous singers who also have that same natural gift.  He said “there are millions of aspiring singers and some are incredibly amazing but they will never make it because they don’t have a unique edge”, he said “if you look at all of the famous singers they all have that unique edge and it doesn’t mean they have the best voices either, it’s the uniqueness that has made them a star”.

As we were driving home it made me think of my own unique voice.

When I was first introduced to this speaking industry I had no idea about it so to me I didn’t take it seriously.  I would just get up, speak and get off the stage.  I had no training, no strategy, no notes, no desire to be a speaker, I just got offered gigs, accepted them, got on stage, shared my story and went home.  As I got booked more and more I found myself associating with highly successful people and I started to realise that there was an actual profession of being a speaker, like a full-on business and I soon discovered that there were many people who dreamt to make this profession their career. The more I realised that I was handed this career on a platter the more I respected it.  I wanted to take it more serious so I started to watch other speakers on you Tube. Watching these incredible speakers made me compare myself which made me start questioning if I was even good enough.  What started out as fun and authentic turned into me questioning if I was good enough and I started to lose my confidence in this industry.

I booked myself into a $3000 course and we had to get up and introduce ourselves and explain to everyone else why we were there.  I am not exaggerating when I said: “I am here because I speak on stages and I talk such simple terms that I need help turning my simplicity into intelligence”. Halfway through this course every single person said to me “please don’t try to polish yourself, your simple words have helped me more these past 3 days than I have been able to help myself these past 12 months.

I then decided to hire a speaker coach. It has been one of the best things I have invested in. I have been able to dig deeper than I ever felt possible to get my key message out of me and that’s what a great coach will do, have you tap into your untapped potential.

Although I took so much away from this experience there was one thing I was questioning.

I was told to learn my keynote word for word and I argued it, I stomped my feet and I just couldn’t get my head around how this would work with taking a real and raw rough around the edges chick into a polished flower pot.

I remember having so many tantrums and saying to Dave that if I have to be someone I am not then what’s the point.  I did as I was told and learned that 17-page fucking keynote WORD FOR WORD. It took me 5 solid months of practicing twice a day for 5 freaking months OMGGGGGG!!!!!  But I wasn’t feeling it, I knew it wasn’t feeling right and I didn’t feel proud of delivering it, in fact, I was feeling embarrassed.

I needed someone to tell me it was shit, I was begging for someone to tell me it was shit so I invited 3 speaker bureaus along to watch me deliver this keynote.

I begged them all to tell me the truth, I said “please be brutally honest with me, as brutal as can be”, and they all said, “don’t stress Stacey you will be amazing”.  I was telling Dave that I didn’t want to deliver it and he was also saying “stop being hard on yourself you always give 100% it will be amazing” and I kept saying “I just want these bureaus to tell me it’s really fucking shit because I know it is and these guys know what they are looking for. I want to hear from the people making the decisions”. I said “Dave I respect your opinion but you don’t know what they know and of course you are going to say I am amazing, I am your wife so you feel obligated” LOL.

My big night arrived and after I delivered my keynote ALL 3 speaker bureaus said: “I would not put this new Stacey on my books, you were far better with the real and raw unpolished Stacey”.

You see they loved the unique natural Stacey, the polished bogan Stacey that had a unique voice, the Stacey that was real and raw that spoke with authenticity and no polish, none of this word for word stuff, they want the flaws and all.

How many of you are procrastinating taking your message wider because you don’t feel polished enough, professional enough, intelligent enough?

If you look around you will find almost all of the extremely successful people whether that be in business, in speaking, in movies, in singing, they all have one trait; their uniqueness is what has made them a success.

Do you want to be vanilla like everyone else?

What uniqueness have you been gifted with and how can you tap into its potential and bring it out into the world?

 

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