There was a time a few years ago when life’s circumstances resulted in my self esteem and self confidence dropping to their lowest ebb. During this time I was approached to join a choir. Being totally consumed in my problems and wallowing in self pity, I automatically said no.
The request was repeated over subsequent weeks and, much as I had always loved singing, I continued to say no. Eventually I decided “perhaps a couple of hours of a Thursday evening at choir rehearsal would take my mind away from my problems”, so I agreed.
On arriving at my first rehearsal the choir director said (in front of everybody) “Peter, welcome! We are so glad you are here”. I hadn’t heard the word welcome for a while…and when the choir burst into a brief applause, I raised my eyebrows in mild surprise.
Soon the director was telling me, “Peter, you have a good voice… you are fitting in well…the tenor section is sounding much better now”. I was warming to this new form of attention. Eventually I was asked to form part of a quartet for a special part, which lifted me further. One day I was asked to sing a verse solo. Me? A solo? Nervously I agreed. The result wasn’t exactly Caruso but it went well and others warmly congratulated me.
Choir rehearsals are very tiring and one sleeps well afterwards. But I was leaving rehearsals with an energised feeling. Positive things were beginning to happen to me. I was slowly starting to again feel good about myself. My confidence and self belief were rising and my self esteem was increasing.
When you lose yourself in an interest you love, you ‘find’ yourself. I was intensely enjoying everything about the choir. I became aware of time seemingly standing still with my world and its problems put on hold as I became absorbed in the joys of the moment. Mind, body and spirit would blend into a state of flow, expressing my inner being, talents, skills and abilities – including some previously unknown talents.
The feeling didn’t stop at the end of each rehearsal. There was a ripple effect of newfound confidence, optimism, creativity, and enthusiasm spilling over into every aspect of my work, relationships and dreams, a feeling that continued to grow and strengthen as the weeks went by.
The person I am today owes a huge amount to that decision to join the choir.
If your work gives you such feelings (as mine does now!), you are indeed lucky. However, like the financial planner who diversifies financial investments, it is wise to diversify your self-investments. Alternative energy sources sustain you when work demands become unduly stressful. One day they will play a key role in sustaining your dignity, self esteem and sense of life purpose when you are no longer able to rely on paid work.
For me it was a simple decision to join a choir that pulled me out of life’s mire and launched me into a wonderful new life driven by broader ideals, greater dreams and a new determination to succeed in life. The interest(s) will be different for you. The answers are not found ‘out there’ but within you.
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