How often are you able to LET GO (when brainstorming, problem-solving, leading a team/important negotiation, etc.) under pressure? And if you worked regularly on harnessing that skill, what new doors/opportunities could open for you?
I recently had the opportunity to record a couple songs solo at Rabadash Studios in Covington. It was both nerve-wrecking and thrilling since I've recorded many times at home or with low-budget set-ups/background vocals for friends but never in a state-of-the-art facility for my own arrangements of songs.
As I was going in, a musician friend and Hawaiian vocalist/ukulele player with decades of recording experience gave me the following advice: "Recording can be scary at first, but once you become more comfortable, you’ll enjoy the process of it all. Let go of any insecurities you may have and just do what you do, sing like how only Ashley can sing."
And he's so right. Over the past few years, I've witnessed magic happen before my eyes each time I am truly able to let go. Still working on developing that skill on demand :)
This is a daily practice for me and means I continuously welcome new challenges--the next one being an event that I've been planting seeds for since last July and am so thrilled it is finally coming to fruition!
Please SAVE THE DATE Friday, June 8, 7:30pm at the Manship Theater's Hartley Vey Studio in Baton Rouge. I'll be performing my own 90-minute jazz/swing/Great American Songbook show in this lovely venue with some of the BEST jazz musicians in Louisiana (and that statement isn't even hyperbole).
You won't want to miss this! More details to come :)
Last week I was invited to speak to a local women’s organization about joy and overcoming self-doubt. Before the event even began, numerous ladies who had read my bio asked me this question:
“What’s a joyologist? I think I need that in my life.”
Well, I'm so glad you asked!
To me, a joyologist is someone who seeks out joy and creates it daily, who studies its effects on our lives and explains how we can connect with it more deeply in our own way. These days I share joy through music, coaching and speaking.
While I’ve only been using the label “joyologist” for a couple years (a colleague described me this way once and the term stuck), I’ve been studying joy my whole life.
You see, as a kid I was a delightfully happy (yet shy) bundle of energy. But the older I got, the more self-doubt took control of the thoughts in my head and encouraged me to hide from the world. As a result, I stifled my curiosity, my voice, and even on many occasions, my smile.
It wasn’t until I observed several incredible examples of joy in those around me as a teen that I started learning how to reconnect to this important part of living a healthy, emotionally rich life.
We learn by the example and stories of others.
That's one reason why I'm thrilled to be able to share my own story once again as a contestant in the Toastmasters District 68 International Speech Competition April 29 in Baton Rouge!
This contest represents all of Louisiana (and Beaumont), and the winner continues on to the next round of the competition (which culminates in 1 international winner). The District contest is open to the public, so if you're curious to hear these inspiring speakers compete April 29, let me know and I'll get you the details!
My husband and I have been back in Louisiana for 8 months now, and while most things have gone even better than I’d expected, one thing I’ve been struggling with a lot is allergies.
They started a few years ago in Texas (I had no idea you could develop significant allergies as an adult!), so I found an allergist who helped me get my symptoms under control.
Since December, however, they seem to have gotten worse.
After visiting a doctor here and switching things up a bit, I’m feeling better but not yet 100%.
This can be very frustrating—especially when it affects my singing—and it sometimes gets me down.
Until I remember this phrase:
“Sh** happens, but suffering is optional.” (or "Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.")
I choose JOY while I keep looking for solutions.
I invite you to take a look at your own recent frustrations.
What emotion(s) did you experience when dealing with them?
For the times when you felt extensive misery/suffering, could there be an opportunity next time to experience the inevitable pain and choose joy instead?
Never in a million years did I imagine I would one day say the following statement:
"Performed at a fancy fundraiser gala with a group of ukulele players (wearing creatively styled trash bags) and environmental nonprofit leaders (wearing bright yellow ponchos) in a "celebrity karaoke" performance to raise money for a Louisiana opera nonprofit."
And yet, every single word in that sentence is TRUE :P
When the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition approached the St. Alban's Ukulele Orchestra about the idea of accompanying them for a "celebrity karaoke performance," no one immediately jumped on the idea but me. I wasn't even quite sure what we were stepping into, but I I like adventure (and bringing others along)! Thankfully, a handful of other players also stepped up eventually. In the end, the performance turned out to be so much fun! The audience loved our "full-out" costumes, and it was all for a worthwhile cause (in addition to putting on performances in the community, Opera Louisiana brings musical programs into schools to involve kids at a young age).
A couple of the biggest surprises of the night:
None of this would have happened without a lot of "letting go" by various groups: Opera Louisiana for welcoming a celebrity karaoke competition specifically for non-vocalists; by the local "celebrities" who are not vocalists or performers; by our uke group for being willing to try something different and get creative with garbage bags. The list goes on and on.
If you're reading this and realize you want some of this brand of fun for yourself, start finding little ways you can let go too! You never know what could happen...
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.