We Don’t Know Who We Are Until We See What We Can Do

“Another *@#&!*  day–you know how it goes!”

The bus  paused in front of a local grocery store to take on a passenger,  last night. I was startled out of my own thoughts because I knew the voice! ANYBODY who has passed through this person’s grocery checkout would know it. It is thrillingly deep and resonant,  authoritative.

Four years ago, while ringing through my cleaning products, the owner of that voice and I had a discussion across the conveyor belt about how it could bring him both satisfaction and money.

“What would I do?” he had asked at the time.

With THAT voice–was he KIDDING?

Well, off the top of my head–without giving up the security of his pay check,  he could fool around at home with a little digital recorder, to get a sense of what strikes him as a way he enjoys using his voice. He could record commercials he hears, or any other stuff on radio or TV that kind of grabs him. In the beginning, mimic. Then branch out and do his own thing.

If he wants to go with the kind of recorded announcement he hears everyday at work, he might simply try writing and recording a commercial about that day’s food specials for the public address system. The grocery store might see him in a different capacity–one that’s more personal and interesting to him. Not everyone can do what he’s already equipped to do.

Or if he has an imagination, he might create a dialogue between  a little girl and her grandfather,  towing their buggy through Deli,  Frozen Food, Produce, and Bakery. Maybe they would be discussing the ingredients of a scrump-delicious  meal they will make as a surprise for a special person.  He could do both voices. It could be humorous or heart-warming, depending on the style he adopted. Maybe it would be accepted by management, and played on a really busy night. If it went over well, maybe it they would invite him to have a regular spot that shoppers would come to recognize and look for. He could end his short piece with a signature line like , “the way I see it, anyway!”.

Another way of exploring to discover: maybe he is into talking about his favorite sports. There ought to be a way to make a sports-related comment and get it played somewhere  people will hear it…see where that leads.

In the beginning, it would be about finding out who he is, what he likes to do, and what other people like to get from him. Worrying about paying customers is a different step and he should not to be putting the cart before the horse. We are talking about the initial exploration stage, here.

Another possibility would be testing his wings as an apprentice emcee for concerts, plays, or fundraisers. The first few would be freebies, to gain experience and see what’s great and what’s merely good about it.

What about deejay stints in pool halls or other places where people congregate to relax? If he could attract larger numbers of paying customers, the establishment owner would probably  be more than happy to pay him a percentage. He might also like to volunteer on internet radio programs. And he could do his own free talking blog at blogtalkradio.com for experience and recognition.

If he enjoyed using this wonderful  gift of his to the max, he might decide to develop it by training as a voice-over actor, or traffic reporter, or airport flight announcer through any number of websites. There is a great introductory training video, for example, at  www.suchavoice.com.

If he then decided to invest in training, (that is, using his present job to pay for his passion instead of being mad about the time he spends at it), he would be taught how to “woodshed” a script for a commercial or a documentary and  “bring it in” within a set time. And to be himself, not adopt a phony sound to be like  someone else.

Most of us have to work hard to build on foundational gifts to the point where they enhance other people’s lives and bring us income. He probably has voice learning to do, too, but he certainly isn’t going to have to learn the basics about how to make the voice resonant, the way voice students work at it. He’s got that, already.

We live in wonderful days where new ides about work center on working from who we are. Many of us have become so used to conforming  to an organization’s expectations that we define ourselves by our job. I’m a night-clerk, we say. A farmer, a hair stylist. A bus-driver. A used car sales person. To stop and figure out who we really are, though–not simply what we have been doing to pay the bills– is one of the most challenging and rewarding things a person will ever do.

This guy also needs to unlearn the notion that the only way to have an income is to improve someone else’s bottom line doing something he’s not particularly interested in.

Most of us know instinctively there are better choices than sticking with something you dislike. The world does NOT need one more bored and irritated person leaving their place of work at the end of the shift. (Thank you for allowing me that rant!)

The trick is to move from saying “it would be nice, but”–to making a call, writing something down, finding out if anyone is already doing what you’re dreaming of.  Then just try it out, the best you can approximate it for the moment, all alone in your room. No one to see or hear or comment but you.

Think out how you might look, move or sound in the circumstances you’re dreaming about. As a teenager, Bill Gaither used to practice “announcing” the gospel groups he heard on the radio while doing chores. Decades later, he’s still announcing singers on his TV Homecoming series, along with writing the music they (and he) perform.

Small modest achievements on a regular basis can be all any of us needs to start down exciting new paths. I really like the “small” part of “small steps”–it doesn’t put a lot of stress on me to be more than I can in any one day. I don’t have to do hugely great things today. I do, however, have to take my small step for that day.

New stuff takes us out of our comfort zone. It can feel like we suddenly need to go clean something–but we’re going for EXCITING, not easy! (Clean around the edges, maybe, but don’t get caught up in it as a way of life.)

As to the success of regular daily steps, I remember the surprise and awe of a Biggest Loser (TV ) participant who concluded, “I learned I could do almost anything. I just had to show up and put in the time!”. Achieving weight loss and better health turned out to be a means, not an end.

Nobody has to see your first attempts, while you are figuring out something you might be passionate about. Just give it your best shot every day. In seven days you will have learned something and gained new skills and ideas.

It is entirely possible for our thinking to get closed down by routines we have set for ourselves when we don’t examine our purpose on a daily basis. Things that once were right for us can end up draining the life right out of us. Why continue to cling to routines if they no longer work? Whom do they serve? Change is a natural progression in life, or you and I would remain a babies until we’re 90, and there would be only one season.

I am so hoping the owner of the stadium-style voice does not allow ANOTHER four years to pass before he takes action! There are people who will be missing out, including me, if he does. I don’t believe he was born to be merely a consumer and bill-payer.

That guy needs to see his ability to use his voice as one of the unique tools at his disposal that can take him where he wants to go. He may have lots more.

Right now, you and I have a fresh year to begin what we want to begin– another opportunity to choose differently. Our circumstances may be challenging–I figure they are or you wouldn’t be reading a blog called “Up From Here”. Personally, I am not starting with any resources at all beyond what I learned in 2010, soaking up other people’s books, blogs, and websites.

Please don’t you allow yourself to drift into mediocrity. Get cracking, get connected, get in the dialogue, start something meaningful.

If you don’t already, adopt the creative habit of testing your ideas in the middle of wherever you are, doing whatever  has meaning for you, in whatever way you can, if only for five minutes. If all you can manage for today is to write it down and start investigating it on the internet, DO IT!. Want to! Want to so much you can’t help but take a tiny step today.

Figure out what has to go to make room for that much of a change. Get a fire going in your mind and belly! You have no need to reinforce the old you by doing the same things you did yesterday, last year,  five–even fifteen years ago–unless they are unchanging in their capacity to grow you and fulfill.

And, if you can get to a library, I urge you to check out the book Make The Impossible Possible, by Bill Strickland. Find out what it took to transform him from a lackluster student in a poor black community to one of the most inspiring people around today.

He lives his message so that people like you and me will choose to go UP FROM HERE! No matter WHAT!

“The world is really good at making us do what it wants us to do,” says  follow-your-passions coach and author, Barbara Sher. “But it is lousy at making us do what we want to do.”

We will be taking those first scary steps with what motivators call “high intention/low attachment  to the outcome”. You go at it with all of what’s in you, but kind of watching yourself from a distance, in an amused way. Nobody has to be great at something the first time they try it. In fact, we need a sense of humor about failing as many times as it takes to succeed.

We all need support from the kind of people who know what it is to dream something up and go after it, despite the struggles. In my case, I have Bonnie, who slave-drives me into the steps that terrify me. Mind you, she was slave-driven herself by her marketing coach this past year.

Want to know what she’s like? Check out the Relaunch Your Life coaching site at www.relaunchyourlifecoach.com Or listen to  her internet radio program at (www.blogtalkradio.com/relaunchyourlife).

We know no one is coming to our door with a TV camera to ask if we’ve started yet. In fact, you and I will run into uninformed “experts” who make it their business to tell us why we can’t do something. Suggest they read Bill Strickland, and move on. There are plenty of people who are in this world to help and inspire.

We need accountability partners or like-minded success teams, but we do owe it to ourselves and the world to get up and get going! As for me, I LOVE that I am not a finished work yet. And I am really excited to find out all the Rest Of Me I don’t know about yet!

Isn’t this liberating and provocative at the same time:  all new ventures begin with a picture in the mind? It doesn’t say “all new ventures begin with many possessions and a big bank account”–now, does it? Because I wouldn’t qualify! The playing field is level for any of us. I like that, since I haven’t got much in this world.

New ventures for January? Don’t tell anyone…I have this image of a gorgeous new me–feeling great, toned, colors that enhance, great hair!

The LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD campaign is about to begin!

Look out, grocery store clerk.


About upfromheresite

Committed to helping people move forward on practical dreams by giving them tools and techniques to work at what they love. Live in Nova Scotia in a beautiful agricultural valley. Dream about creating a beautiful conference center, music hall, and dining hall (along with cabin for Wynnie and me) on North Mountain. Owned by a cat named Wynnie.
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