Encouragement can make all the difference

I began writing songs about 20 years ago when I was doing my Masters at QUT. Originally I wrote them to use in workshops where I taught self-esteem building skills to women. I used to call them ditties; short catchy tunes with easy lyrics to remind the participants of content in our workshops.

It was fun and I used to find that while I was hanging clothes on the line, driving kids to school or waiting in the line at the supermarket, I would think of words and snippets of melodies and I would quickly jot them down. My collection quickly grew so I bought a small hand held tape recorder to sing my ideas into.

When I was preparing some major assessment, I had a meeting with my supervisor who was giving me guidance about my ongoing work, linking drama and personal development workshop material.  We were sitting on the floor of his office, shoes off, drinking wine (He owed me. He was very late for the meeting and I had rushed madly from 80 miles away where I lived, and had organised 2 little ones and their child care!) when I sang him some of the my ditties. I was anxious, as he was an intimidating bloke; clever, charming, PHD, boss of the department and all; but surprisingly he seemed to be enjoying himself.

When I finished a few of the unaccompanied renditions, he took some time to speak and then looked right at me and bless his kind heart, he said, “Glenda, those are great performance songs, not just teaching ditties. You could use those as a basis for an original one woman show.” I was stunned. Someone I truly admired heard me; got me.  I felt a deep warmth and gratefulness.

Lifted up with encouragement and his “permission” I did create and perform a one woman show for my final assessment. It was hard and I was terrified, but it was worth it. I felt more myself than I had ever done before. It was strange and liberating.  His validation gave me courage to write more, perform more and reveal more of myself to the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we must have approval in order to take a risk. I am not saying we must find someone we admire to encourage us before we can move forward; but I am saying that encouragement and validation can certainly make a huge difference. I am still paying it forward.