Last week at the Leadership in Ministry workshop in Colorado Springs, I gave a presentation for clergy leaders on “Finding a Voice.” In preparation for this talk, I interviewed my voice teacher, Judi Stabler. Judi says in singing, you have to cultivate what you have, not imitate someone else.
Ole Olson, an artist who was there as the spouse of the one of the attendees, told me he learned the same thing in art school. You have to find your own way as an artist, not imitate someone else’s art. He says, “we are unique story tellers, and the telling has to to be in our voice and style.”
At the end of the presentation, I planned to sing. I had talked throughout about the need to “Open your mouth and let your voice out.” Yet when I opened my mouth and started to sing, what came out was a cracked note. I walked away for a moment and when I came back, I was able to sing the song (“How Can I Keep from Singing?”) the best I ever have.
It was a lesson to me, the perfectionist, that finding a voice is a process, and that it doesn’t have to be perfect to have an impact.