How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs
A limiting belief is any belief or opinion that we have that may or may not be true, and may or may not even be relevant to our lives, bodies, abilities, voices – anything you are working toward or any aspect of your life, that ultimately colours the choices we make and results in this belief or opinion becoming a reality. I’m not talking about esoteric manifestation or magic here, I’m talking about a basic belief like I don’t have a good voice, which in turn then causes certain decisions and choices to made, resulting in a lack of singing ability. Perhaps you have a belief that your voice is simply “bad”, and after only one singing lesson you decide it’s all too hard because of your bad voice, rather than persevering and realising that singing is ultimately a process of balance and control that comes with time, not a matter of whether you have a good voice or a bad voice – there is no such thing as a “bad” voice, only one that lacks balance and control.
This relates to absolutely any aspect of your life, but we’ll continue on with the singing example – as a voice coach myself, I’ve noticed how toxic limiting beliefs are to a great singing voice, in part due to the psychological aspect of singing and involuntary nature of many parts of the vocal mechanism, including the diaphragm and the vocal folds. Your thoughts really DO affect the way you sing and can make or break your ability to sing well if you’re not in tune with your beliefs and opinions.
Singers often hold strong opinions
It’s perfectly fine to have an opinion, lord knows we have one about SOMETHING – but when your opinion and belief is related to something you are unable to do and becomes an excuse for why something isn’t working, or why you’ve chosen to give up, then this becomes a limiting belief. It’s human nature to label and classify the things we don’t necessarily understand, and try to explain away the intangible and figurative with literal and physical labels and beliefs. This is never more true than in a singing voice, which sure, has a definitive physical, muscular and scientific aspect – air pressure vibrates your vocal folds which in turn creates resonance which we then shape into vowels and words. Pretty simple, right? No so much. To develop control and balance in your voice, the process you must take might be VERY different to another singer with exactly the same voice type, again due to the psychological and intangible elements of the voice, along with the involuntary nature of the main process of singing; diaphragmatic engagement and vocal fold closure.
This is where figurative instructions such as Inhale The Voice, or Paddle Like a Duck come from – they aren’t literal instructions, just like Support doesn’t involve any actually supporting, holding or pushing in a literal sense.
First, you must understand that you DON’T understand the voice, unless of course you are a seasoned professional singer with a lifetime of experience. Strong opinions surrounding something that you are just starting to learn, or something that you are yet to master will only serve as a limiting belief and ultimately hold you back as a singer.
How I overcame my own self limiting beliefs
One of the limiting beliefs that I struggled with when I first started learning how to sing is that I had a second class instrument due to my low baritone voice. I honestly thought that having a low voice was a detriment to the ability one has to sing and that my range was limited, weak and couldn’t be trained. I even once had a voice coach who shared this limiting belief with me, which only served to hold me back further as a singer and hold back his own ability to be a good vocal coach. I held that same belief we just discussed that I didn’t have a “good voice” like my favourite singers had, I thought they were good singers because of their “good voice” and I was a bad singer because of my “bad voice” – this limiting belief then coloured my decision-making process and I stopped working on my high range and gave up on the idea of connecting chest and head voice and continued to sing in my low range, while occasionally making use of a light falsetto for a harmony here and there.
I was eventually introduced to figurative singing concepts like middle voice and placement which just seemed to ‘click’ with my voice, even though they weren’t literal or tangible descriptions of how to sing – and the funniest thing started to happen, my voice changed. The low baritone range was still there, but the pushing and yelling soon dissolved and gave way to full connection of my chest and head register, and I was then able to approach the songs and singers I had thought were out of my reach due to my “bad voice” for so long. Following this new path and letting go of the idea that my voice sucked allowed me to seek out more appropriate vocal training and programs that didn’t share or reinforce my limiting beliefs about the baritone range, and I’ve now built an impressive range, not just as a baritone, but one that now sees me coaching singers all around the world how to let go of their own limiting beliefs and build the voices of their dreams.
The only limits are the ones you create
The only limits are the beliefs and opinions that you place as a roadblock in front of your voice and ultimately your life. As someone who truly thought the baritone range was limited to one octave at the most, I assure you, your vocal range is much greater than you believe, and singing is a much easier process than you’ve been led to believe or that you’ve convinced yourself of. Singing is basically an act of balance and coordination rather than muscular force or ‘God given talent’ – are you letting your own self-limiting beliefs stand in the way of the voice of your dreams?
A great place to start is the free foundations courses and eBook library available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will show you how to set up a strong foundation and base for your voice while breaking down any limitations you might feel you have. Remember, your singing voice is only ever going to be as strong as the foundation you build it upon, and your range will only ever be as extensive as your foundation permits. When you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional voice coaching that will help you break down your limiting beliefs while working towards extending your range and building control and consistency every time you sing, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started building your voice today!
If you have any questions about limiting beliefs and how they affect your singing ability, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!