Have you seen Disney's 1967 cartoon version of "The Jungle Book?"
In the movie, Mowgli, a young human boy raised by wolves in the jungle, meets King Louie, "King of the Apes."
Even though King Louie has everything his orangutan heart could possibly desire, he still compares himself to humans and comes up short, so he tries to convince Mowgli to teach him to be like "man" by harnessing the power of fire.
The scenario makes for a fun, lighthearted "I Wanna Be Like You" song in the movie, but constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling not good enough isn't just a fictional storybook problem. It's a very real, common, human issue too.
Over the years I've learned the hard way that if I focus on being THE BEST in the world, I will be often disappointed. There will ALWAYS be someone:
But if I shift my focus to being MY BEST in the world, suddenly competitors become partners. Opponents become friends, and working together, we catapult each others' combined successes to even greater heights.
My job is to show up daily as a vital life force for positive change, and to serve as an example of how you can do the same.
There’s no better reminder of this important life lesson than getting creamed in pickleball 4 times before lunch by players 20+ years older than you! (I can't beat 'em yet, but I can make them laugh :p)
Be the best YOU you can be every day, because YOU can do amazing things when you stop comparing and start creating.
Here's another version of me showing up as my best self during our Summer Swing show June 9th at the Manship Theater Hartley/Vey Studio. Watch the 5-minute show recap video below!
After receiving some great artist pitching advice from a top music agent in New Orleans, I spent this morning updating my virtual Press Kit--an asset every musician (or artist/craftsperson/speaker/etc.) needs today to help them stand out in the busy digital world.
In a nutshell, a musician's Press Kit is social proof of what they provide and how their art (music) makes people feel/respond/react.
This exercise turned out to be more fun than I initially thought as it forced me to:
This exercise also had an added benefit--it reminded me to CELEBRATE and be PROUD of all the work I've put into planning, preparing for and producing all the performances and special events I've collected over the years!
If you are in a service-based industry, think about ways that you can cultivate social proof for your business and save links/videos/photos/reviews as you earn them. It makes the gathering process a lot easier.
Curious to know what's so im-PRESS-ive about what I've been up to lately? :p
Click here to view the updated Press Kit for yourself.
1. A plateau is whatever you decide it is.
How many times have you reached a plateau in a skill, sport or hobby that you're passionate about and thought, "Maybe this is just as good as I can get."
After years of voice lessons, school plays and choir, All-State choir, etc., I thought that about singing: "Maybe this is as good as I can get."
So I stopped moving forward, learning and growing.
It took me 10 years to figure out that all I really did was live into my limited perspective: that my voice had a hard "talent" ceiling and I had reached it. There was no point in going further.
2. Sometimes finding the right teacher, mentor, or coach is what you need to get through hurdles that seem insurmountable.
Once the ukulele came into my life and I realized I WASN'T done with music, everything changed. I was having fun again as a beginner in a very welcoming ukulele community of people who were playing just for fun. I was singing again for fun. I learned how to truly HAVE FUN with music.
That got me finally learning songs I'd wanted to sing all along--jazz. Because stepping into something new isn't so scary when there's no pressure and it's enjoyable.
But it didn't get me the whole way to where I needed to be.
I have allergies to thank for that.
Yes, allergies, which I had never experienced until a few years ago. When they decided to grace me full-force with their VERY annoying presence (most often showing up as a constant sore throat--a singer's worst nightmare), at first I was worried it was some other issue--maybe I was doing something wrong with my voice when I sang?
So I did two things: went to the doctor (who confirmed I now have allergies. bleh) AND I found a vocal coach.
But not just any vocal coach. One who would teach me how to navigate the parts of my voice that I still had not mastered--areas that had held me back and fed into my limited thinking 10 years before.
THAT is when everything changed.
I just had to get out of my own way and ask for help to reach it.
3. It's possible to operate with a growth mindset in many areas of life where you have no perceived "talent" (no inside or outside pressure to be good at these) WHILE ALSO operating with a scarcity mindset in areas where you're supposed to be "gifted." The fear of failure can keep you small if you link it to your personal identity.
I now know that developing mental fitness and a growth mindset in all areas of life is a continuous process.
You'll be amazed what you can accomplish when you identify these sneaky mental roadblocks for yourself! (Which is why I coach others through this as well).
AS A RESULT OF LEARNING THESE 3 LESSONS:
Last Friday was a major musical milestone for me--headlining my own concert at the New Orleans Jazz Museum (where everyone who's anyone in New Orleans plays at some point).
I got to work with top-notch jazz musicians and pull several sides of myself together for this French & Traditional Jazz-focused performance. Many thanks to the New Orleans Jazz Museum for the opportunity, to the musicians who made it seem effortless, and to everyone who came to enjoy the music with us.
If you missed the show, click here to catch the livestream replay!
A PERSONAL CHALLENGE FOR YOU:
I invite you to take a look at 1 to 3 major hurdles in your life that you have overcome. How did you do that? What mentality did you have in doing so?
Then look at 1 to 3 challenges you are facing right now, and ask yourself honestly, "Am I working through these with a positive/growth mindset? Am I focused on learning and moving forward bit by bit (even if it means making mistakes), or am I stuck in scarcity?"
The answer may surprise you.
And if you realized you could use a bit of help shifting that, don't be afraid to a teacher, mentor or coach to ask for it.
Click on the image below to watch the full livestream replay!
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.