Vocal Lessons Article

#46 The Tiger


In the moment that I’m writing this article, I’m late. I should have had this piece finished weeks ago. The miniature Davids in the back of my mind have been tapping their toes and watches, but I have managed to ignore them. “Let me procrastinate in peace,” I’ve begged. Until now.

Procrastination is a strong deterrent, but I don’t consider it to be a cause at all; procrastination is the amalgam of any number of reasons you can find, justifiable or not, to delay anything. In my case, laziness isn’t an issue. I’m the first one to take on large scale challenges, as well as menial tasks. Nothing is too troublesome, large, or small.

The biggest culprit for my procrastination is the lack of the Tiger. Inside me waits a sleeping tiger. When it’s awakened, I become an insatiable crusader. No stones unturned, no roads untaken. Until the Tiger awakens and pounces, however, I will sweep the task under the rug.

What awakens the beast is simple. It’s passion, verve, an internalized need to do something. I feel the Tiger most when what needs to be done and my deepest passions align harmoniously. Then the Tiger awakens and my animal instinct guides every step to accomplish what I want.

One of my deepest desires in this world is to help other people. When an opportunity arises for me to help someone in the field of singing or acting, bam! There goes the Tiger. I’m in my element and ready to help solve the problems facing a particular singer.

The statement “help others” is simple and unembellished, but the best motivating desires generally are. You’ll find that what you want isn’t that sophisticated when it’s boiled down. It’s a clean, active verb. It’s a verb I can be engaged in one hundred percent of my work day since my job is to help singers. Bingo! Cue the music--the Tiger is in the building!

I become a grade A procrastinator when I complicate my Tiger’s motivating action. I do it more often than I care to admit. I’m not always conscious of it. Instead of “to help people,” my subconscious mind will add “to help people see me as a great vocal coach ” or “to help people recognize my new haircut .” The Tiger goes beddy-bye. I’ve suddenly shifted my action to be a selfish goal, diffusing my eagerness.

Equally ineffective is shifting the action into a state of being. “I want to be famous for helping people.” Seems innocent enough, but my Tiger’s still snoozing. States of being, or adjectives, aren’t active. They are judgments from outside perspectives. Other people may describe you as famous, beautiful, helpful, kind, etc., but that’s their prerogative. They’ll label you any way they choose; thus, fame for the sake of being called famous is a futile enterprise because there’s no fundamental action to be taken.

All you can do is engage in the action that awakens your Tiger. How people choose to describe you is out of your control. I, personally, would rather be known for my actions rather than for my applicable adjectives, whatever they may be. “We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle.

Your internal desire is simple. If it seems complicated or conditional upon others’ reactions, reevaluate it. Chances are your imposing something extra on it. The more convoluted or adjective laden it is, the less effective it is. (Sleepy Tiger Syndrome.)

What makes your Tiger leap? When was the last time you felt the instinctual pull toward something or someone? There are clues in those moments as to what your internal motivator is. Maybe you already have a strong grasp on your Tiger-stirring verb. If so, re-evaluate it. Is it as simple as it can be? Are there sneaky adjectives clouding your action? Cut them out.

Once you streamline your action as much as possible, I guarantee you will feel your Tiger instinct awaken more often. Occasional fine-tuning over time will sharpen your ability to call upon the Tiger faster.

Find your action and go get e’m, Tiger!

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David McCall

David McCall

Director of Vocal Development