The Poppins Purse
As a kid I used to love watching the movie "Mary Poppins." The title character's beautiful voice, elegant mannerisms and calm confidence made me feel like everything would be OK in her presence. As a result, she gave off oodles of charisma.
One of my favorite things about Mary Poppins was also her magic purse that seemed to hold absolutely everything she could possibly need (even floor lamps and carpets), yet it didn't weigh a ton or take up too much space.
It was a literal representation of the "preparedness" she brought to every challenge or situation in the movie.
Last weekend I got to whip up a bit of my own "Poppins" magic when I sat in on a jazz duo gig at a local restaurant. The musician who invited me said the space was usually quiet and that I probably wouldn't need a microphone, but I brought one anyway...just in case.
The restaurant turned out to be particularly busy that day, and the space/extra chatter naturally swallowed up a lot of sound. Imagine the musicians' surprise when I "miraculously" produced a microphone and full-size mic cable from my purse when they called me over to sing. We plugged it into the nearby guitar amp and started playing away!
Had I NOT been prepared for this possibility, no one could have heard me over the background noise and I wouldn't have gotten to sit in with the duo for about 45 minutes.
The point of this story is to get you thinking about you own preparedness.
If an opportunity to start accomplishing one of your BIG goals showed up tomorrow, would you be prepared well enough to try it out (even if it's not perfect)? If not, what gaps in skill, knowledge, connections, etc. are you lacking? And how can you start working consistently to close some of those holes.
Many times we make excuses for ourselves about being not ready, but in reality, we're AFRAID of getting ready because we're scared of something much bigger like failing in front of others or of reaching our "Upper Limit" as Gay Hendricks talks about in his book "The Big Leap."
The better prepared you are, the more confidence you earn, and the more natural charisma you will be able to bring to a situation.
So get ready. Face your fears. Start "sitting in," as we say in musical terms, and make every opportunity count!
July 13th, 2022
"It took me a long time to learn this lesson, but the biggest obstacle between me and my goals has always been myself..."
Thanks so much to, Voyage Houston Magazine, for our fun recent conversation about my music, coaching and life perspective!
I love interviews like this one because the questions go deep and really make you pause to reflect:
If you're curious to read more about my journey to find my voice and help others do the same, check out the full feature here!
The Sardine Story
I used to think I didn't like sardines, but today I realized that I had never actually tasted them...
All these years I have been confusing them with anchovies! So when my mom opened a can of sardines at lunch, I decided to test the story in my head and try them for myself.
I leaned in past the very fishy appearance and took a bite. It tasted like tuna!
For so long I had told myself sardines were gross that I never paused to examine the origin of my tale.
Now I know the truth. I don’t mind the taste of sardines!
And now I have one more “healthy Omega-3” food option I can add to salads on occasion.
One other real life "sardine story" (i.e. myth) that I recently debunked for myself is the thought that it would be "hard/practically impossible" for me to break into the New Orleans jazz scene since:
I was thrilled to finally prove this story wrong, however, last week while attending the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp in the French Quarter.
Not only did I learn a lot about traditional jazz and leading a band, but I also got to "sit in" with professional groups (meaning you play a jazz standard together totally unrehearsed) multiple times at music venues around the Quarter, including Preservation Hall, the Spotted Cat, Buffa's and Fritzel's European Jazz Club (if you'd like to watch a few clips of those, check out my Facebook page or Instagram profile).
Everyone was amazingly welcoming, encouraging and excited to hear I was moving back to Louisiana.
Do I think this means I'll never meet a grumpy jazz musician in Louisiana? Definitely not!
But I have now confirmed that I was letting my fear of the unknown blow the difficulty of connecting way of proportion in my own head. I never actually tested my story in real life.
I challenge you to think of one story you’ve been telling yourself for years (Ex. Something you “don’t like” or think you’re “bad at” or think is “impossible” for you) and get curious about that story. Where did it come from? When did you start telling it to yourself or others. Does it actually hold up when you re-examine it today?
Open your own figurative “can of sardines” and set the record straight for yourself!
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.