Monday, November 21, 2011

Imitations Are Never As Good

I was listening to my favorite vocal artist singing someone else’s song, only I did not know that it was someone else’s song. At first, I thought that perhaps he was making a change from his own style. Two minutes into the song it was clear that he sounded like someone else and that he was indeed trying to sound like someone else. That’s when I realized what was going on. I couldn’t finish listening to the song, it sounded awful to me. In fact, his amazing baritone voice sounded weak and washed out.

I realized later that it is the same when we try to imitate others.  In that moment of imitation we lose ourselves.  When we are speaking our truth, being ourselves, even if someone does not like us, they don’t like us and not the person we are trying to be.  There is power in authenticity.  There is strength in our voices when we speak our own words in our own voice.  I am not talking about opinions, beliefs, or even the end product of what we are creating, but the voice in which we speak them.

When you try to sound like someone else, you sound like no one at all.  Your voice is washed out and dull.  Part of that I think is due to not knowing what it is all about.  How can one artist know exactly what the one they are imitating was thinking, seeing, or feeling in the moment of their expression.  At best, they can guess at it, and that guessing or assumption is the wash out.

Knowing what someone has experienced requires that you have experienced it too.  That does happen, and when it does, your voice can be as authentic as the person before you who went through the same experience. That’s when we connect with a song, story, or a person.  In fact, there is nothing quite as amazing as when we connect with each other through similar experiences.  We understand the pain or the pleasure someone is describing because we have gone through it.  You can be compassionate without having gone through the same experience, but you cannot express the same emotions as someone else, unless you have gone through the same experience.

My most challenging spiritual life coaching sessions are with clients who describe an experience very similar to what I have experienced.  It is like looking at a picture and finding out that it was a mirror instead.  Those sessions are hard, because I try extra hard to not project my own stuff on to the client.
In order for the client to have an authentic experience they need to stay detangled from the coach’s story.  These are special sessions where you can practice good coaching skills by asking questions and never making any assumptions. In fact, when done right, it is as if you have two originals in the room.  There may be similarities in the art work, but they are each distinct and brilliant on their own.

If you feel washed out or unoriginal, perhaps you are imitating or hiding under someone else’s image or experience.  I invite you to step out of the habit or need to imitate anyone other than yourself.  There is power and magic when you step into your own. People will suddenly want to listen to you and won’t know why.  If you want to leave a good impression, be yourself.  If you don’t know how to do that, then make it your business to learn how.

Spiritual life coaching is about the business of finding your own true voice and expressing it at all times.  If you’d like to learn if spiritual life coaching is for you, contact me for a 30 minute complimentary session.

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