Over my five decade plus career, I have been privileged to teach throughout the world—men and women in all walks of life from lay people simply seeking to gain more confidence to corporations working in all levels of the company from administration and PBXto high potentials and the executive team. I have worked with numerous individuals with speech challenges such as spasmodic dysphonia to stuttering. I have been given the trust of Holocaust survivors to help them find their Voice. I have taught ESL (English as a Second Language) to individuals who aspire to get a better job and climb the ‘ladder of life’, but had been communicationally inhibited before they discovered Vocal Awareness. I have even taught the deaf to sing. Yes, of course, in addition I have taught world famous celebrities, athletes and artists.
I share this bit of back story because there is a common thread that is woven in the stories of all those who discover Vocal Awareness and choose to work with me. It is the ever present theme in Vocal Awareness,
“A Champion Does It Differently.”
The root of the word champion is not a sports-centric term. It means ‘dazzlingly skilled in any field’. Those who train in Vocal Awareness are choosing to awaken their ‘inner Champion’ not simply to do their very best but to be their very best.
Through the trademarked techniques of Vocal Awareness, they learn to embody my axiom, ‘Voice is Power—when you own your voiceyou own your power’. Currently one of the more compelling examples of the truth of this statement was revealed last Thursday at the start of the NFL Season with the first Social Justice PSA (public service announcement) created by the NFL. The PSA included a portion of LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2017 Hall of Fame speech which I created with him. I wrote:“Football is a microcosm of America—all races, religions, and creeds living, playing, competing side-by-side…when we open the door for others to compete we fulfill the promise of one Nation…let’s open it wide for those who believe in themselves that anything is possible…I am asking you to believe in your ability to bring about change… We all have to try harder …My great, great, great grandfather had no choice, we have one…I pray we dedicate ourselves to be the best team we can be…”This minute 27 seconds was played over and over again on ever NFL broadcast throughout the weekend and heard by tens of millions of people.
This was clearly a moving moment for me, not because of my personal accomplishment or the opportunity to train LaDainian, rather because of the impact this man and this message had on our global community.
I teach, ‘It is not just the message but the messenger that matters. Not simply what we say but how we say it.’ My Vision has always been ’to change the world through Voice.’ The social justice announcement is a step in that direction.
Several years ago when LaDainian reached out to me to begin his training, it was as a broadcaster post retirement. A humble man from Marlin Texas raised by a single parent Mother had risen to become one of the greatest players in the National Football League.Certainly we worked on developing his broadcast skills. Then when it became time to craft his Hall of Fame speech, he came to me and said he wanted to make a bold statement and the theme became his Great, Great, Great Grandfather George who was brought over on a slave ship in chains 170 years ago.
As with everyone who studies Vocal Awareness, we work on the embodiment, Conscious Awareness, impeccable vocal technique which includes vocal warmups, breathing techniques, body language, Visceral Language (another trademarked element which teaches how to ‘make voice visual’.) LaDainian’s Hall of Fame speech was annotated in Visceral Language both on the hard copy and on the teleprompter used on the podium. The point is whether it is LaDainian or the thousands of others who have studied Vocal Awareness, the goal is not to make them into someone they are not, but to bring out what is possible.
One of the reasons this timeless speech is so powerful is the way LaDainian told his story—the very sound of his voice, the resonance, pitch, pace, et al impeccably integrated into his performance. His training/his technique compelled us to listen, to trust, to believe and to be moved because we felt the authenticity of the man coming through.
As I begin to close this week’s blog, the overarching theme is ‘we all have the ability to be a Champion that owns our Voice’. Learning Vocal Awareness can help you tell your story with the sovereignty you deserve and overcome life-long fears of public speaking. Whether it is LaDainian or the others from all walks of life I have referenced, one truth they all grapple with is what I call ‘the Two Greatest Fears—Fear of Abandonment; Ownership of our Power. Through Vocal Awareness you will learn how live life on your terms to the best of your ability communicating with the confidence and authenticity you deserve.