“I like to perform from the place where I feel I could fall…”
Those words continue to echo within me ever since Carl Anderson said them to me in a TV interview I did with him years ago. In my interviewer’s chair I couldn’t help but sit in utter admiration as he described his approach to sharing his magnificent light through singing, his powerful presence and powerful interpretation of song.
Carl was the original Judas in the movie, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, along with having a few successful hit songs (one, a duet he sang with Gloria Loring long ago) and had been a favorite performer on Broadway, TV and film. He was so humble and loving, with a huge presence that filled a room and a talent that kept you on the edge of your seat, giving you goosebumps every time with how masterful he was. It was as if he was led by God in each millisecond of his performance whenever he sang.
Unfortunately he died of leukemia in 2004. He even moved through his illness with the same ease, determination and surrendering to spirit as he did when he performed. Finally, however, the ultimate surrender happened and he passed. But he left an indelible mark not only with his many magical performances, but also a legacy of kindness, awareness and gifts of talent that extend beyond his life.
One of those gifts is the inspiration of those very words he shared during our interview. They continue to stick with me and have helped guide me through my evolution of performing and speaking through the years.
It was especially meaningful to me as I came from a background of moving through a hard time in my life where I got so shut down by fear that I was unable to perform, consumed with a never-ending onslaught of negative voices towards myself. Needless to say, I all the more appreciated what Carl’s philosophy was powerfully illuminating.
It is, at its essence, the core of what I teach and train in my WOW Factor speaking transformation program (‘WOW’ being an acronym for ‘With Out Walls’). The ultimate delivery is not trying to ‘make it happen’ and twisting, shaping or molding it’ – but rather, when you have no idea HOW what you’re speaking or singing, or dancing, or communicating will come out. Its when you click into that ‘space’ where the real magic happens. That’s what creates the ‘edge of their seats’ feeling, that’s what creates ease and flow (even if that seems counterintuitive, as we ‘think’ we have to control it somehow). That’s what allows connecting from your heart and takes you out of your head – all by being willing to surrender, take a leap of faith and let the song, the speech or the dance, whatever it is, deliver itself through you.
That’s why I’m passionate about The WOW Factor training I give and feel is so special and unique because I’ve been able to help people find how to click into that all important zone and be able to consistently speak from that place, no matter what – and this is the single greatest factor in creating great speaking and powerful impact.
Last Saturday, I had the embodied experience of that very thing – for this one, in the form of singing.
The annual Unstoppable Gala that hosts over 200 of the top experts in the transformational and online industry (with an additional 250 guests on top of that) was being held at The Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. The Unstoppable Foundation, helps children around the world get an education, clean water, medical aid and helps their families become self-sustaining. It is a favorite organization for many of those leaders in transformation and most schedule their events and plans around making sure they attend. Names like Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Michael Beckwith, Arielle Ford, Glenn Morshower, Mike Koenigs, Max Simon, Mari Smith and the list goes on.
Cynthia Kersey who runs the entire foundation and gala is a dear friend and one whom I help as much as I can. Behind the scenes I helped her get some high ticket VIPs, I helped create videos for her and, as asked by her, agreed to interview a number of VIPs during the cocktail reception before the big program, along with happily agreeing to sing for the main event.
She requested Beyonce’s song, “I Was Here” that was sung at the UN. Its a powerful ballad, but a monster to sing as it starts very low and then belts out very high ongoingly in the end.
I was excited to sing it, but due to a heavy workload, I couldn’t have the opportunity to practice it singing somewhere else ahead of time in full voice (which is very important so you can find where it sits in your voice, getting to discover what works and what doesn’t).
The closest I could come was singing in the car while driving (which isn’t quite the same thing) or ‘almost’ singing full out in my apartment at home – but due to a neighbor who freaks out at the slightest noise and not wanting to cause a potential battle (‘cuz I would have been loud, trust me), I had to watch my volume level.
Now, jump ahead to the event. Finally its happening! I’m here, ready to go, but don’t even have a second to fully absorb it and get grounded, as I’m instantly getting swept up into nonstop action, having to say, ‘hello’ to so many friends all there at once. I’m getting immersed in interviewing the various experts as requested. I’m then whisked away to the main event to begin getting ready for the big program.
Every step of the way I’m getting stopped by those I love to give their greetings, or even those I don’t know but who want to connect. I SO wish I could connect to everyone but there ARE tasks at hand that must be focused on and I keep flowing through the throngs in order to allow this important tribute to happen with grace.
I gobble down a couple bites of dinner (no time for leisurely enjoyment of it) just getting some food in so I don’t collapse from low-glycemic levels. I then head for backstage so I can get centered and focus.
Onstage, I hear Cynthia sharing from her heart about one of our leaders, Debbie Ford, who just recently passed – and one who was part of the original inspiration for Cynthia to go down this path of her foundation in the first place.
We all knew and loved Debbie and our hearts are still healing from having lost such a strong, wise presence (and yes, we still feel her spirit with us).
Cynthia wants to give tribute to her having been such a symbol of giving and tribute to all the ways that all of us give out there, all the ways we contribute to the planet and to do so with this special song.
As I’m hearing her set up this moment, I feel my heart pounding, I can feel panic wanting to start to rise as I’m PRAYING I can remember this song, AND, I have NO idea how it will come out! I have NO idea if I’ll be singing it with the right or best placement in my voice as it will be the first time for going for it. I also don’t know if the sound system is going to be alright as we checked it briefly but it was sketchy and not sounding good onstage.
This was the moment now arriving…
And it became a moment of choice.
I can either let myself get into my head and be run by the various worries and concerns and choose to ‘muscle’ my way through the song, doing my best to control how each note and interpretation comes out…
I can do what I ended up choosing to do and that was…surrender.
I knew that I’d only be creating tension if I tried to monitor how it was flowing out of me, if I tried to manufacture the feeling, or if I tried to be ‘safe’ and have an outer shell delivery of it but not be fully vested in each moment of the song from my heart.
I, in no way, wanted that tension. Frankly, I would not have been able to perform it well if I’d had even a trace of tenseness.
So I chose surrender, wholly and completely.
I said, “God, I have no idea how this will be delivered, how it will sound, whether I’ll even get the words right or remember the structure. Yes, I know I could very well not just ‘fall’ but actually falter, and I, of course, do NOT want to do that as this is too important. This is a precious moment of honoring Debbie Ford, of honoring the collection of our hearts and souls from our industry in one place and in allowing my light to shine and choosing to not doubt it. Please let me be fully in my heart. Please let each moment lead from one to the next. Please keep my own judgments or concerns out of the way, and, ohhhh, please, let it be a discovery of feeling and expression in each moment!”
I then walked to the stage and surrendered. I stood there breathing in the audience, feeling them, connecting to the essence of their hearts and with that breath, I began.
The pumping of my heart changed from anxiety and fear into calm excitement and groundedness. There was no effort, there was no apologizing for who I was, there was no trying to control how I was perceived or how it was delivered.
No, the song sang itself through me and I got to be a happy participant. Pure, flowing expression. Somehow those tough high notes came pouring out of me – and they did so effortlessly. I was almost shocked at the level of command I was feeling in just pure trusting of each millisecond and I allowed the music to be what it is and however it wanted to come through me.
It was magical.
I was surprised to see a standing ovation when I finished as it felt like a collectively created moment, not about me in any way. I stood there and drank it in, acknowledging it for the connected co-creation it really was and filled with gratitude that I hadn’t fallen on my face (whew!) but actually flown through the song with grace and power.
The ONLY access to that was the willingness to “perform from the place where I feel that I could fall”.
Thank you Carl Anderson for the many lives you touched by your brilliance in how you performed and who you were – and the many lives you’re continuing to touch from those of us, like me, who were inspired by you and choose to integrate your inspiration within how we approach not just our performing or communication, but our everyday lives.
What if we approached every moment of our life this way?
What if we didn’t have to feel like we must ‘make things happen’ but instead, allow them to happen with an open trust?
Yes, take the actions we need to take. Yes, stay aware and keep getting ourselves (including the judgments, limiting beliefs and fears) out of the way, but most importantly, surrender to the moment, be willing to fully FEEL the moment, live and lead from our hearts, rather than thinking we can control life, people and things around us.
The flow is a source of power and grace and it can’t be reached through efforting or suffering or forcing – only through surrender and the willingness to ‘perform from the place where you feel you could fall’.
Our March Virtual Roundtable is titled:
How to WOW When You Deliver Your Message!
Join our Conversation Starter, Lynn Rose as well as your sister members to dive deep into what it takes to really embody your message so that it’s raw, real and effortless to share!
To register please go to your members area.