The Breakthroughs Blog

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The Gift of Presence

The Gift of Presence

Sharing From the Heart

I’m taking a chance here and I’m going to confess something… I’m a big fan of American Idol, especially this season (2011). Did you just cringe? Give me a chance here ūüôā It’s one of the only shows on TV¬†that gives¬†me the goosebumps and resonates with me every time I watch it. Though not gifted myself with an incredible singing voice or the courage to even dare share it with with anyone, not even my wife, I am in awe of what these young people do every week. On a personal level, and watching it from a¬†coach’s perspective, I get to see people taking big chances, sharing straight from the heart and moving people on an emotional level. I love that!

Here’s a show where people in their teens and twenties¬†summon up the courage to audition amongst thousands of others and demonstrate not only their talent but bare their souls and sing their hearts out,¬†sometimes for less than a minute, and then a judgment is made if they’re moving on to the next round or not. That is pressure.

My favorite this year, by far, is a young man by the name of Casey Abrams, he’s only 19 and demonstrates more talent than many people I hear on the radio. I think he’s a genius and feel he’s got a long, fruitful road ahead of him, even if he doesn’t win this year.

Take a look at Casey’s audition, if you don’t already know him, I think you’re going to really enjoy this. As you watch the intro, take note of any thoughts you have coming up – do you think he’ll be good? What do you expect from this youngster?¬†Then take special note of his reaction to the judges’ decision at the end:

If successful in their first audition, they move on to progressive rounds of auditions and have to sit around with hundreds of others in the same boat…even more pressure. That would be incredibly agonizing for me. They have to take every chance they’ve got and¬†keep pushing themselves to be at their best. From thousands and thousands of people, only 24 get selected to appear on live TV – 12 women, 12 men. Then they quickly eliminate several at a time until they have the top 12 and that’s when things get very interesting.

Check out Casey’s second¬†audtion that got him into the Top 24. Watch for the judges’ (and fellow contestants’) reactions as he performs:

He’s incredible, isn’t he? Anyway, the Top 12 live together in a home and form a cohesive group, competing with each other on the one hand but supporting each other on the other. Each week they have the opportunity to learn and absorb as much as possible from their coaches (the music producers and singing coaches they work with) and ‘bring it’ full force in a song that lasts only about a minute and a half. Some truly ‘own’ the feedback they get and demonstrate exactly what they’re capable of, some get a bit lost and confused. I can see the Action-Reflection-Learning Cycle alive and well as they¬†increase self-awareness, experiment with new choices and deepen their level of trust in themselves.

Connection & Presence

The type of feedback I want to shine some light on here is what I, perhaps selectively, hear¬†very often – it’s about connection and presence. It’s about being authentic – being real –¬†baring your soul and sharing it completely without¬†holding back.¬†¬†The judges and coaches are telling them they may have a great voice but they’re not feeling the music or the words, they seem to be¬†stuck in their heads and not connecting with the audience or the camera. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to sing live in front of an audience let alone connect on an emotional level, ‘sans inner-critic’, with a camera that I know is broadcasting me to millions of viewers. I used to have trouble giving a presentation and being present and authentic – what about you? Can you relate to this in any way in your life?

What keeps them not only moving forward but shining more and more each week? It’s not about dreams of money and fame. It’s about having a gift and a passion for touching people’s hearts. It’s not about the motions of dancing around on stage, it’s about e-motion, feeling the emotions the song stirs in their own hearts and sharing it without any interference. When a singer really feels the music and shares it freely, even if I don’t like the song or their voice that much, I can feel it.

Bringing it back to our lives, most of us aren’t going to be singing on TV any day soon, but we all have just as much reason to share from the heart. The only way we can do that is if we get out of our heads, where we tend to get stuck most of the time, feel it and share it. That’s what I call presence – being connected to your heart, your soul and¬†communicating with others¬†from that place every chance we get. Whether it’s with a family member or friend, a client or a boss, a stranger on the street – we all will get so much more out of life if we were present.

When we’re present & connected, we feel everything on a deeper level, life is richer and more meaningful to us and those we share it with. Don’t the people we come in contact with deserve the gift of our presence? And when you give someone the gift of presence – of being real and authentic –¬†people can feel it and tend to appreciate it on a very deep level.

How would your world change if you were present more often?

Please share freely in the comment box below ūüôā



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  1. Lonnie Dahl

    Casey Abrams is AMAZING!!!!!! What’s going on America????

  2. effetti dj

    Hi, this is a great post! Thanks..

  3. Eve Losito

    I always was interested in this subject and still am, thanks for posting.


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