In 1995 I recorded and released my very first album. It is long out of print, but over the last few years I’ve featured a couple songs from it on podcast episodes.
But, here’s the thing: as an album, the dang thing makes me cringe.
But while these days I cringe, I very clearly remember being super happy with it at the time. Happy with my songwriting, the performance, the other musicians. In fact, the entire experience was phenomenal from start to finish – creating this piece of art and putting it out into the world was exhilarating.
On to my next album. And the next. Then on to forming a band. Then to recording four more albums–albums that frankly don’t make me cringe at all…quite the opposite in fact.
By now, you’re probably thinking, “how in the world does this relate to healthy living?”
I’ve said from day one as a Small Steps Coach that I do not help transform anyone into a new person, but instead help people become who they already are.
Essentially my work is to help you find your voice.
Finding your voice requires time. Finding your voice requires hard work. Finding your voice requires failure. Finding your voice requires learning to let go of the parts of your life that are not you.
It means not spending your whole life trying to perfect, but never complete, one album, but instead finishing it so you can get to the next one, and then to the next one, and so on.
Why? Because your voice emerges more each time and over time.
My very last private client (just prior to my launching the twelve-week program) sent me this quote:
Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist. – Jane Smiley
This is how I think of my very first album. It was a first draft. It just needed to be what it was so that I could move on. So that I could take what I learned from that experience and do it even better the next time.
And so it is with our efforts to create happy, healthy lives. When we set ourselves up for a life-long practice, we allow our voices to emerge. Where we are at any given time only has to be where we are and nothing more.
Only when we understand this can we grow, evolve, and move through our lives in ways that enable us to find and express our own, singular voices.
Loud and clear.