By Lorraine Lawson
(A chapter from Lorraine’s Ebook Speak Like a Star)
Is your cup half full or half empty? The better question to ask yourself is, How can you fill up your own cup?
For many people there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be that seems impossible to fill. It can seem like a deep crack or a black hole. This is the place few dare to go because it can be painful and challenging to attempt to fill the gap especially on your own.
There is no guarantee you will be able to fill the gap even when you do everything in your power to fill it. The truth is, no amount of money or time or effort can fill it. You can spend your life savings towards what you want and never seem to be able to achieve it.
What I can tell you, is investing in the wrong things at the wrong time will never close the space from where you are to where you want to be. Even when you are willing to take bold, massive actions because if you take them out of a place of desperation, filling the gap will be impossible.
So the question becomes, why do people want to keep trying to fill the gap?
The reality is, most people don’t. Most people don’t have a vision for where they want to be. They don’t have a dream and if they do, they often stop themselves along the way or even stop themselves before they start.
I coach approximately 100 singers, dancers actors and entrepreneurs a month, in some capacity, between private coaching sessions, small group programs and large group classes. What I have noticed is the desire to fill the gap varies from person to person.
It’s my job to help my clients fill the gap in whatever way I can, as a vocal and performance coach but also as a career mentor where I can have a massive impact on my clients ability to move towards what they want.
Before you can fill the gap, what ever the gap or in some cases gaps may be, it’s helpful to look at what potentially could stop you along the way.
I don’t want to over simplify people’s reasons, excuses and situations. Everyone has a story full of reasons they want something to come true and reasons that stop them from achieving want they want. Some people are able to move mountains while others can’t. Some people are unstoppable attempting every possible way to achieve what they want and others who are stopped by the first set back.
The 3 things I have identified that stop most people will surprise you but I bet if you are honest with yourself, you can see yourself in one of them of not a combination of them.
Many people get stopped because they can’t figure out how to get there. They want to be told how to build the bridge step by step exactly and precisely before they will consider start. If they have started, they do what they know from where they are and never quite get to the next level. They keep doing the same things expecting a different result instead of adjusting their choices as they go.
HOW is never the problem. There is always someone who has done it before you, who you can learn from and if you want something bad enough you will keep trying different approaches. You will be willing to change directions. You be unstoppable, never giving up figuring out ways to get to where you want to go.
This is often called imposture syndrome. People might not feel good enough to try. They stop themselves or give up trying because they believe they will never succeed. They may suffer from extreme anxiety not being able to predict the future.
The unknown is scary and uncertain. A person who does not have a clear belief in their ability to figure out how to achieve what they want and where they want to go, often loose faith. It takes someone with enormous belief in themself to move past what seems impossible and instead choose to move forward towards what they want no matter how challenging or difficult.
WHY NOT ME:
This reoccurring thought, can be quite dangerous emotionally especially to the people who have been told all their life they are special and are destined for great things.
This blind belief in what other people say about who you are and what your potential is limits the person from coming up with their own answers for who they are and who they want to be. They rarely stop to ask themself what they want and why they want it and instead wait for lightening to strike or to be discovered or the universe to provide the path.
These people are often hard workers and willing to build their skills in the areas people tell them they are good at. They may be the people who even win awards, make the sports teams and achieve high marks in school.
People with a big dream can be so focused on the details of the dream. They see it clearly and believe it will come true. But when the details of their dream don’t manifest themselves exactly as they dream it, they get crushed, depressed, disappointed.
There is a realization, their belief in themselves isn’t as strong as they realized. They believe what their parents, teachers, coaches or managers say about who they are and where they want to go. They don’t develop the listening skills to hear what their inner voice is saying about where they want to be.
So….HOW do you fill the gap?
4 STEPS TO FILLING THE GAP
Let’s look at a simple 4 step formula to filling the gap starting reversing the letters from HOW to WHO?
‘WHO ARE YOU’
This is a step that requires a much deeper dive which we do in my ADI program (Artist Development Intensive) and is the foundation of what I do as coach. I help my clients KNOW WHO THEY ARE so they can discover what makes them unique and ultimately memorable to their audience.
For our purposes right now, let’s ask a very important question to filling the gap; ‘WHO do I need to be to fill the gap?’
Looking at who you are in relationship to where you are in your life and career can be challenging and could even be confronting. But asking who you need to be in order to have the results you are looking for is going to save you big time. It’s going to save you precious time. It’s going to save you spinning your wheels being busy instead of being productive and it’s going to save you spending money you don’t have or can’t afford especially on things you don’t need or aren’t ready for yet.
Before you can fill the gap with someone else’s help and assistance you have to know who you are, what you want to do, why you want to do it and who you want to do it for.
The next WHO you need to identify is WHO is the right person to help you at the right time.
Some people are always asking for help before they are ready. They ask before they have even tried to solve the problem for themselves. Others are stubborn! It’s tempting to keep doing what you know over and over instead of looking at where you need to grow or expand in your skills and abilities and the best way to do that is to seek help from someone who you know can help you.
It’s like when you are driving to somewhere you have never been before and you get lost. Maybe your phone doesn’t work or lost battery or you are in a location with no cell service. The only way to get directions is to find a place to stop and ask someone. If this has ever happened to you, you know there are people quite willing to stop and ask for help but there are others who would prefer to drive around endlessly determined ro figure it out for them self.
Here is the lesson, even if you are the person who doesn’t like to ask for help, in order to grow your business, at some point you will be forced to engage and enrol people along the way in order for your business to grow. It could be administrative help, collaborative help or professional help from lawyers or accountants. At some point, to grow your business, the most important help will be getting the help from your ideal audience.
Part of filling the gap is creating an atmosphere where you can make small choices and decisions which move you forward little by little. Consider these small steps, small wins, small choices and decisions are like planks along a rope bridge from where you are to where you want to be.
The best part of this analogy is your ability to make decisions gets easier and easier when you know who you are, when you know who you need to be to achieve your goals and you are able to enrol the right people at the right time to be able to add each step of the bridge.
HOW you get to where you want to be, is never a straight or linear line. There will be bumps, dips, set backs and breakdowns along the road. Despite every obstacle, it’s up to you to go around it. Sometimes it’s just too hard to move forward on your own and that’s where we want to look at who we are surrounding ourselves with to keep us inspired or help us build the bridge to the other side.
This where knowing WHO YOU ARE is so important. You must know what your nature is, the characteristics you were born with. These broad stroke qualities are in you. You don’t have to think much about them. You consistently respond to people, places and situations instinctually despite your circumstances.
The other place to look when defining who you are is who you surround yourself with. This is your nurture. Your parents, siblings, teachers and of course friends. These people have a massive influence over who you are when you are young and through out your adulthood. As you get older making the conscious decision of who you spend time with or collaborate with in business can have the greatest influence over filling the the gap to where you want to be.
As you become more and more aware of who you are in your nature and your nurture, you will take more and more responsibility for who you need to be around you in order to be the person you need to be to achieve your goals.
You don’t need to be a good person necessarily especially if it’s not in your nature to be a good person. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room especially if in your nature you are not scholastically smart.
But you do need to have the biggest vision for what you want to do and where you want to go. This is where your nurture of WHO you surround yourself will pay off big time. You can compensate for any qualities you lack in your nature or enhance the qualities you wish to enhance.
As you become responsible for WHO YOU ARE you can heal the nurture that didn’t provide or couldn’t provide what you needed, by creating new environments for stimulation and inspiration.
Let’s face it, you can’t attract the right people at the right time without developing your communication skills. Most success is not in someone’s nature. It’s not how talented they are. It’s not how hard they work or how passionately they want something BUT IT IS in their ability to convince others, to passionately share their vision and to enrol the right people at the right time.
Having the right teachers, coaches and mentors can make all the difference in helping you become the person you are meant to be!
Surrounding yourself with the right people who support you to do what you love to do at a higher and higher level can be the single biggest reason someone is able to fill the gap over another.
WHERE ARE YOU?
Before you can set out to achieve what you want, it’s important to know where you really are.
Appreciating WHO you are and where you are right now, is the direct result of your past experiences, your situation in life, and your proximity to opportunities. No matter your situation, circumstance or amount of opportunities, your success or failure will always fall on your choices and decisions to say yes or no to opportunities . Everything you have done or haven’t done, has led you to where you are right now.
My clients go through an exercise to take a look at where they are called “I am….” This simple sentence holds the key. I am this, I am that. Some sentences might be positive like I am optimistic and some might be more reflective and in depth like I am optimistic when I am around certain people or am doing certain things and I am easily negative when things don’t go right or don’t move fast enough or people disappoint me.
What I don’t want clients to do is look too long at the past for the answers to move you forwards. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to understand the past. There is validity to reflect briefly on why something happened or didn’t happen as a way of learning from our mistakes and being able to relocate what worked.
Acknowledging where you are implies you know how to take responsibility for where you are. People who take responsibility for where they are will undoubtedly take responsibility for where they are going. They don’t make excuses for things that don’t go well or as expected. They did in deeper to figure out a different route. They are never stopped by how!
This is worth repeating. Don’t get stopped by HOW to get somewhere. There are always people you can learn from who have done it. Success leaves clues and your job is to learn from other people’s mistakes and accomplishments just as much as your own.
The question is are you willing try something new to achieve the result you want? Here is the best part of taking responsibility for where you are, you have a better chance to attract the right people at the right time.
You will be able make a plan, to make a decision, to take some action towards getting what you want. You will be able to assess what is working and what isn’t faster and faster. You will be able to let go what doesn’t serve you any longer and make commitments to move you closer and closer to where you want to be.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
So what is your vision?
What do you want?
Where you do you see yourself going?
When you answer these important questions make sure you use the most powerful emotional language you possibly can. The language your use needs to be unique to you. Using vocabulary we have heard before can imply you don’t know what makes you and your goals interesting to others. You can’t enrol people in your vision with out stimulating their emotional state.
You must know how to powerful communicate your message in a way that connects and resonates. There can be no hesitation when sharing who you are and your vision of where you want to go. There can be no doubt you are going no matter what. The only thing left to ask is who wants to help you get there and certainly share in the journey along the way.
The best way to do this is understand WHY you want to achieve what ever it is for yourself first. I like to say to clients ‘put the mask on yourself. ‘ like when you are on an airplane the flight attendants say make sure you put the mask on yourself before assisting other people including children.
Our instinct is the opposite. We think our greatest motivator is helping people or doing something for others will give you purpose. The truth is you must know who you are and why you love to do what you do and why you want to do it at a higher level before you can possibly share it. The trap is to do what you think other people want or will love instead of knowing what turns you on first.
I have seen far too many artists chase their dreams instead of create what they love. They look for outside approval and validation too soon and get crushed when they either hear any negative criticism. This of course limits their ability to get to the next level.
Knowing why you want to do something is the greatest way to get over nerves. Just before going in stage or recording a song or even making a social media post, consider why am I doing this? What is about it that lights me up? Does it turn me on? Do I love this? What do I get from doing this?
Nothing needs to be perfect but if you want to be emotionally stable through out your career, you do need to love what you are doing especially before you start sharing it with others.
Once you know WHY you want to do something for yourself, the next question is WHY do you want to do it for others?
This where the magic can really take shape because when we surround ourselves with the right people at the right time, another level of creative expression can happen. There is a saying ‘2 minds are better than one.’ When you collaborate, connect and communicate with the right people, you will be blown away by the results in your life not just your career.
This is when you can start to create your unique message or mission statement for what you do, why you do it, and who you want to do it for!
Your audience is patiently waiting for you and you are finally ready to share it all with them.
What are you committed to doing to achieving what you want ?
This is the final step in filling the gap. We have already established no amount of desire, talent, skills or even confidence is going to fill the gap without taking the right actions to filling it.
Many people either jump to this step too soon by skipping over the other 3 steps. They think taking more and more actions is going to move you forward faster. BUT without knowing you are and knowing who you choose to help you, you will wonder why all your actions aren’t getting you closer to what you want.
Adding more and more to the do list creates a state of overwhelm. Working smarter and not harder is where working with a mentor or coach can make a massive difference. They can help you avoid some of the common pit falls and accelerate the results by getting clarity of what to do when.
Remember, success leaves clues. You can learn so much of HOW to fill the gap from learning lessons from other people who have done it before you.
It doesn’t take the place of learning from your own mistakes. Entrepreneurs and athletes are prepared to loose. They learn from every loss. They are not afraid to analyze what worked and what didn’t. They know with each lesson, discovery or realization leads to the next challenge and the challenge.
Asking yourself what and I committed to right now will help you take responsibility and accept the out come. Every action is related to what you can afford at the time.
ONLY do what you can afford. That means what you can afford personally, professionally, financially and emotionally.
Before adding a task to your to do list, you learned in step 2 to ask who do I need to be in order to do it effectively. There is no point in adding more goals and more actions towards what you want with out accompanying some kind of personal goal with it.
The combination of taking on a tangible goal with a personal goal will keep you in balance while you cross the bridge to where you want to go. Each goal is a step and with it you will develop a personal sustainable life skill which will lead you to the next and the next.
No one can guarantee you won’t fall into the gap at different points along your journey to where you want to go. New cracks will appear as you expand and grow. New gaps get are created as you reach each destination only to make a new destination and another.
As you continue on your path, you will discover that filling the gap from where you are to where you want to be, may no longer be the goal. It becomes less and less important to avoid the gaps because you will start to see them as opportunities to learn and grow. You will also recognize the gap is not a place you need to stay for long. You will trust you are capable of finding a solution. You will not be afraid to ask for help. You will know you can take action at the right time to create the bridge and get you over the gap. As an entrepreneur, you will start to look at filling the gap as something to look forward to.
Lorraine Lawson is the CEO of LVS, Vocal & Performance Coach, Schitts Creek/The Launch/Grammy & Juno Winning Artists, Key Note Speaker, Author and Mentor