E036 - Consistency, Showing Up and Focus

heart transform your voice trauma vocal liberation waking up Jun 29, 2023

Are you good at being consistent and showing up?

Are you focused, or do you tend to get distracted and pulled into a thousand things?

Do you dabble in many interests, or do you follow through with just a few and go deep?

If you want to heal your trauma and negative conditioning, empower and heal your voice, or simply be more successful in the world, watch this episode about How to Be Consistent, Show Up, and Focus.

 Enjoy the video, or read the blog below!


This blog is about showing up and being consistent, with a side order of  focus.

And so this is really all about the keys to successbe that out in the world, or successfully healing from and overcoming trauma. It's also about succeeding at what we might call 'awakening' or 'illuminating yourself'—becoming incredibly present. The baseline through all of this is succeeding at learning to live a more joyful life.

Many of us react with ambivalence to the word or idea of success, so perhaps I should reframe it as realizing an abundant, joyful life—one in which we're not being sabotaged by our trauma, or lack of money, or whatever else might derail our enjoyment of this life. So more joy... yes!

On one level, it's incredibly simple: Show up, be consistent—that's it. Maybe I should just end the blog right here, because that really is it. But just to be sure, I'll break it down a little.

Sometimes I see a pattern in my clients of just dipping into things throughout their whole life, but never showing up consistently for one particular thing (or a select few things). So whether it's meditation or exercise or diet or studying or work or even play—how are you at showing up? If you're not great at it (as I wasn't), read on below!

We begin by starting ugly. People sometimes have an idea that if you're really good at something, or if you really want to heal, it will be a fun experience and/or it will immediately pay dividends and reward you. But in my personal experience, we have to show up ugly for a really long time before things look good. I've quoted this story before – before my band became quite successful, we showed up in matching white suits and green ties. We looked awful; I think we sounded pretty awful. We thought we were kind of semi-fabulous (but were scared witless nonetheless) until we played our first show. We were just kind of confused afterwards, like "Oh, what was that? How was that?" And there followed a long time of being unsure and insecure. And I've seen that with pretty much everything in my life—that showing up ugly and going through the really long, wobbly parts is really key. In other words, if we only focus on what it feels like in the short term, the "Oh, this just feels so awkward" bit, we won't do it.

But good things can happen when we focus on what it's going to be like in three years' time, or even "Where will I be in 5 to 10 years' time if I keep showing up ?" We focus on the feeling of future success and embodying that feeling, rather than on the present conditioning of all our "I cant's."

And the truth is, we won't know what we're doing for quite a long time, because we're at the beginning of our journey. We haven't done our 10,000 hours yet. So for a long time it will probably be confusing and we'll still feel insecure, consumed by  imposter syndrome—the feeling that other people know what they're doing and we don't, and those other people know that we're a fraud and a failure. Working through imposter syndrome, even just pushing through it and doing our thing anyway, is an incredibly powerful signal to our nervous system and our self-belief that we can and we will.

But it's unlikely to feel inspiring or validating for quite some time, so it's not necessarily for the faint of heart—or maybe a better way of saying it is that we have to develop heart for it. By showing up gently and self-lovingly, we can develop the heart to see and engage with the longer vision. We can live a life where we aren't captured by our trauma, we do the work we really want to do in the world, and we have a deep belief that we can contribute, that we have a purpose and something beautiful and valuable to contribute to this short, crazy, beautiful life.

So while no one's going to applaud us for a long, long time, I urge us all—myself included—to have heart, to persevere, to keep showing up and trusting. Even the simple act of showing up consistently is a game changer. If you don't have this muscle developed yet, make showing up for the one thing you want to become good at your priority, because everything else will follow. It's so foundational. If you can't show up for your healing journey consistently, and you regularly collapse and go into depression, paralysis, numbness, or deep anxiety and flooding... learn to show up consistently. Practice, bit by bit. This is the most basic thing you can do that will help you heal, because if you can't consistently heal, everything else will be really hard. 

Another key is to set yourself up for success: get inspired, train and learn—keep growing. An element of adventure, of growing and learning, feeds the cycles of enthusiasm and is really awesome for your system. If we limit our hearts and minds to the same old knowledge sets and understanding of reality, we can get really bored and even potentially depressed. So spend the time to train, to learn... and spend the money too, if you can.

It took many years of my healing journey to realize that I kept going to healing sessions and workshops, in a kind of reflexive consumption of healing practices, but the game changer came when I started training in healing techniques. I didn't consider myself a healer while I was training, but then a paradigm shift occurred: through the training I became a healer. Just doing the training led to deep personal healing—and as a bonus I became a healer. I wasn't healed when I started working as a healer, but the act of learning healing techniques and helping other people began to shift me much more deeply than standing on the sidelines. It can also be very helpful to spend money on support. I've said this many times, but weekly one-on-ones are a game changer.

I've received around 15 years' worth of weekly one-on-ones. I'm still in supervision and am very committed to showing up with my supervisor, who's a clinical psychologist and a mentor, every week. Bill and I have been working together for over five years, and it is absolutely central to supporting my journey. So my experience is that those who show up for healing, learning, or growing—they get support: they get coached or mentored, they do psychotherapy with a woo woo bent. (Well that's my personal preference, but they show up for the work.) If you want to heal yourself or you want to heal your voice, make it your priority. I have a post about how to choose a healer or therapist that may be helpful. It won't just happen through dabbling. It won't happen through checking in occasionally and hoping things will fix themselves.

If you're out there putting stuff in the world or you're in relationship, it really helps to have checks and balances in place. Someone who will tell you when you're being unfair, that you're acting out, or starting to drink your own Kool-Aid and losing your way. We all have blind spots. I definitely do, and I have no doubt you do too. So have people in your life who can help you see yours and can help you heal through them and help you feel supported. Because we all need support.

Showing up, learning and having support all help train the muscles of consistency and help you learn to live in flow. So become familiar with what it feels like when life is is flowing, and then do more of that. Just take note that sometimes it feels like it's flowing to sit in front of the television and not show up for your practice, so it's important to distinguish between flow and avoidance! But learn to live in flow by showing up consistently. That's a whole subject of its own.

Another important practice is to learn how to get clear inner guidance from yourself; learn to follow your heart. I spent years doing stuff I didn't really love, because I wasn't getting clear inner guidance and I wasn't being mentored. And when I was able to tune into that inner guidance, I kind of flopped around and didn't capitalize on it at all. They were valuable years in their own way, but I can see that I could have used them more productively towards my own journey. So if you want to go the direct route, learn to get clear inner guidance. There's a more direct heart path, if you just listen. And I have frequently not listened and gone and done a whole lot of stuff that sucked my energy and time, and it took me a few years to realize I didn't actually love that work at all, and it was time to leave. Point being—I've had a very windy life route, and maybe you can have a straighter one. So support yourself with counselling or coaching and show up for good food, sleep, exercise, and so on.

Also, work with people who show up consistently. I've had the good fortune to work with people who are really consistent and show up—shout out to my homie Dave from the Dirty Skirts. He and I formed an incredible partnership, where we both showed up a lot. And the same happened in my musical journey with Tom from Original Swimming Party. And I've had a lot of people show up in my healing and spiritual life. Thank you, Fiona, for being one of those people. And I've had friends like that throughout my whole life who have showed up consistently, to love me and see me and challenge me and accept me and support me, just by being in my life. 

Here are some things to watch out for:

If you're flip-flopping between things over months or even years, try to focus on just one or two things. Grow a specific field, and get clear about what you're here for.

Watch out for lily pads. In other words, "Oh I could do that, or maybe I could earn money over there, or maybe I could do that"—because it's the nearest thing you can see. Many times I've jumped from lily pad to lily pad, because I didn't have the courage or the clarity to find what I really wanted—or even face my doubts that I could have what I wanted in my life. So watch out for lily pads, and try to be clear about what your heart calls you to do, and go for it. Sometimes it's difficult. There's a whole other video on that.

Distraction through being over-committed, or watching too much TV, internet, news, social media, or using other distractions like alcohol, drugs, sex... whatever they are for you. If you're getting consumed by those, it might be at the cost of living the life you love. Watch out for being over-committed to WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups, other communities, social groups, too many jobs, too many hobbies. I love this phrase, which I think is a bit of a misquote from the Bible, but it's something like: "When thine eye be single, thy body be full of light." The more single-focused we are, the more we will succeed or heal or emancipate our voice and live in joy. 

So in summary: get clear on your direction, follow your heart and be consistent in showing up. Be kind to yourself, but develop these muscles. Get help, learn, grow, have fun. You can do it.

Ultimately, all we can really do is find joy and contribute to the wellbeing of ourselves and others. And we can do this by showing up and living a joyful, contributory—very human—life. And we will probably have worked all of this out just before we die and then BOOM, our time will be over.

What a crazy, short, and beautiful life it was.