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Episode 18 – Your “Backstage” is Not Your “Onstage”

Updated: Sep 13


I think we all do this – compare our “backstage” with someone elses “onstage”.

Meaning, looking at someone who is showing their absolute best, whether in a show or a recording, this person is putting his/her best foot forward and we are only seeing and hearing what he/she wants us to see and hear.

We are not seeing all the work that has been done to get “onstage” and we have no idea what this person has gone through to get onstage.

So why do most of us compare what we do in our rehearsals, studios, homes, karaoke etc. to someone who has been very calculating regarding what he/she lets us see or hear?

In this Episode of The Inner Singer Podcast I discuss the 2 meanings of “backstage” and “onstage” and how understanding this can propel you forward with your singing!

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The Inner Singer Podcast

Episode 18 – Transcripts

Your “Backstage” is Not Your “Onstage”

You’re listening to episode number 18.

Welcome to the Inner Singer Podcast, providing tools and techniques to strengthen your inner singer, your beliefs, your confidence, your mindset. And now, your host for the Inner Singer Podcast, Mike Goodrich.

Hey there. This is Mike Goodrich and thank you for listening. This is episode number 18 of the Inner Singer Podcast. Again, thanks for being with me here.

I’m going to talk about something that has a couple of meanings actually to me. Years ago, I heard in sales, actually in marketing, which is not something I was terribly good at. Marketing intrigues me. I love the idea of marketing, but sales never really intrigued me. And as I’ve spoken in previous podcasts, I was pretty lousy at it.

Marketing is an interesting concept however. There’s one fellow. I believe he’s Dan Kennedy. He was a big direct marketer back in the days way before the internet. He used to say this. I believe it was Dan Kennedy. I hope I am giving credit to the right person. But anyway, I believe it was him or he. He used to say that in your business, for example, don’t compare your backstage with somebody’s onstage. In other words, don’t compare what you’re doing behind the scenes to a finished product.

We can say the same thing with singing. We can look at a great singer and say, “Oh, my gosh! I wish I could do that.” But it really behooves us to not compare our backstage and what isn’t quite ready to be onstage and then compare that to somebody’s onstage.

So we look at somebody and we’re rehearsing. We’re not quite where we want to be. And then we look at somebody who’s where they want to be (or at least we think they’re where they want to be or clearly, they’re where we want to be in terms of their ability), we look at that and say, “Oh, gosh” and then we compare. We’re comparing our backstage, which is never ready to go on.

Backstage is backstage for a reason. For any of you who have ever done shows or have done any performin, you know that you can have beautiful onstage and the magic of the scenery and the lighting and everything and the mics, all that is onstage and that’s phenomenal. That is to show everybody off – the people, the production, everybody. It’s to put the best foot forward.

Backstage is another thing, right? You’re at the backstage, “Oh, my gosh. Look at this thing. The stairs’ a mess. The dressing room is tiny. The green room is awful.” You get my drift, right? We’re seeing what they want us to see. We’re seeing somebody who’s onstage, which is all the good stuff. So why in the world would we want to compare our backstage, which can be messy, to somebody’s onstage.

So enough said about that for now anyway, but it occurred to me that the two meanings come in here. That’s of course one way to look at it with somebody who’s looking at themselves as what they sound like in rehearsal, not quite ready, comparing themselves to somebody who’s on stage doing great. That’s comparing our backstage to somebody’s onstage.

But let’s look at this in another way. Let’s look at this like the inner singer and the outer singer. The inner singer of course is represented by backstage. The outer singer is represented by onstage.

Now, nothing gets onstage without being backstage first. So nothing gets to our outer singer without being in our inner singer first.

So we’re not going to sing great, we’re not going to be wonderful performers, we’re not going to feel wonderfully comfortable onstage with our outer singer unless we have already dealt with that with our inner singer, unless our inner singer is supported and grown up in a way that it supports the outer singer in a way that we would like to have our outer singer supported, meaning we want to sing well, we want to have fun and we want to be comfortable doing it.

We want the voice to feel good, we want it to have a full range of notes, we want it to have a dynamic level that’s loud and soft and we want it to be comfortable and easy and we want it to be fun.

Almost more importantly than anything, we want it to be fun. We want to feel good about it. We want to have fun. We just want to enjoy ourselves.

Well, that’s all a job of the inner singer. That won’t get to the outer singer unless it’s in the inner singer. Unless that’s already dialed in the inner singer, the outer singer doesn’t get to experience that. The outer singer only gets to experience what’s filtered through the inner singer.

And that’s a good word, filter because it does. The inner singer is wrapped up – our beliefs, our wiring, our programming and our thoughts. Everything that goes on is a filter that everything goes through before it gets to our outer singer – our beliefs, our wiring, our programming filter, what we sound like to ourselves, how we feel about our voice, how much confidence we have in it, if we feel secure, if we’re having fun.

And it almost doesn’t matter – or not even almost, it really quite frankly doesn’t matter what anybody else says because our outer singer is influenced through our inner singer and our inner singer is influenced by what we tell it.

Originally, maybe it was influenced by what somebody else told it and that’s how we developed some of these wiring and programming. We took it on unintentionally. Nobody necessarily meant it and we certainly didn’t need to take on a wiring or programming that’s not supportive to us.

But once we begin to realize this, it’s now what we tell ourselves. It’s not what anybody else tells us. It’s what we tell ourselves.

I’ve had many experiences working with somebody. One particular person comes to mind right away as they came and they took an hour lesson from me. They did a really good job and they did it really beautifully.

And at the end, I was very supportive as I always am. I may have mentioned this in the previous podcasts. Going into 18, I can’t remember what I’ve said in a lot of these. But anyway, it should be pertinent to what this topic is about.

I said, “That was great. You did a wonderful job.” And sure, they did. And then I heard through the grapevines from somebody that she knows very, very well. I said, “Well, I hope she comes in again. This would really be good for her. It’s good for her life. It’s good for her voice, but it’s really good for her.” Whoever takes care of herself that way?

This person said, “Well, I know how supportive you are.” But when I asked her how it went, she basically interpreted the whole lesson as it just pointed out how much work she has to do and how far away from being where she wants to be she is.

I thought, “Wow!” That’s really sad because I didn’t put any of that in there. That wasn’t even in my frame of reference. I was completely encouraging and I was thinking that she would leave thinking what great potential she has and what great sound she made and all good stuff. But no, it wasn’t like that at all.

So what does that mean? What it means is it doesn’t matter what I said to her. It doesn’t matter what anybody says to her. It doesn’t matter what anybody says to me. It doesn’t matter what anybody says to you. We are going to filter it through our beliefs, our wiring, our programming.

And we don’t even know that we’re doing it. It all happens very, very, very unconsciously because so much information, millions of millions of bits of information are presented to us to our brain every second.

And because that would be ridiculously overwhelming, the brain figures out a way based on what we tell it consciously or unconsciously is important and it filters out the rest. So it takes what we tell it is important, whether we tell it consciously or unconsciously, and it filters out everything else. So she already had a belief and a wiring that could not be penetrated no matter how complimentary I was.

It’s like that old game of telephone. You get 10 or 12 people and you whisper something in the person’s ear at the beginning of the line and they are supposed to whisper it in the next person and then down all the way. By the time it gets to the end, it’s something like – you whispered something like, “Wow, that was a great movie.” And then the last person says, “Wow, I really like spaghetti and meatballs.” And you’re like, “What? That’s so not what I said. Not even close.”

That’s what happens because it gets filtered through our belief system. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what we say to ourselves because what I said to her didn’t get through to her. She took it and interpreted it in a way that was consistent and congruent and validating to what she already believed, she told herself that and boom, that’s what she heard.

So it’s important to take care of our backstage, of our inner singer. And unfortunately, I don’t think that she really realizes that even though I was talking to her about it. But the thing is we do that every single day.

Have you ever heard of the scotoma? Have you ever had this particular experience? I certainly have and I bet you have.

Somebody tells you to bring them something. Let’s just say the scenario is you get to a dinner party or you’re having people over or you are just really hungry and it’s dinnertime. Then your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, whoever, brother, sister, it doesn’t matter, whoever it is, you’re really, really hungry and you’re just starving and all you wanted to do is you just want to eat and you’re just about to sit down and they say, “You’re still up. Could you grab that ketchup? It’s in the refrigerator. It’s right next to the mayonnaise. It’s between the mayonnaise and the mustard in the refrigerator and I just want the ketchup.” You begrudgingly agree. You didn’t want to do it at all. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

So you begrudgingly walk towards the refrigerator, just focusing on your food that you want to get to, open the refrigerator, you look down at the shelf that it’s supposed to be on, you see the mayonnaise, you see the mustard and you say to the person who requested the ketchup, “I don’t see it. Where was this again?” “It is right between the mustard and the mayonnaise,” they said. “Come on, I just want to eat. I can’t find this. Get it yourself. This is ridiculous.”

So what they do they do? They walked right up, walked over, looked down between the mayonnaise and the mustard and grabbed the ketchup and looked at you as if you’re crazy. And then you wonder, “Why didn’t I see that?” The reason you didn’t see it is because you didn’t want to see it. You were mad, you were angry and you were focused on something else.

We’ve all done this. I certainly have many, many times. In psychology, I believe it is called scotoma. So that’s a blind spot.

Now, that’s just a really simple example of how we can be tricked by being already in a decision with regards to our voice for example. You already decided all these terms and conditions and we’ve already decided all of these criteria like this girl. No matter what I said, it was filtered through her beliefs and came out validating her beliefs. So no matter how much I say, “Look, the ketchup is right between the mayonnaise and the mustard,” she couldn’t see it, she could not see the ketchup.

It’s crazy, I know. But how many of us do that? All of us.

There was a video floating around for years. It probably is. I actually don’t want to even tell you about the video in case you have not seen it because I don’t want to spoil it for you because it’s really phenomenal.

But I think I will anyway because by this time, most people have probably already seen it and I’m not sure how to show it to you with the proper set up without giving it away. I don’t think I could do it on e-mail. I don’t think I could send you the link because the name of the video is in the link and that would give it away. So let me just tell you. This is very, very interesting.

My wife and I were at a talk some years back. I think it was before our son. So it’s got to be more than eight years ago and it’s very interesting. This gal got up on stage and there’s a big crowd of people. And there was a pretty large film screen hanging above the stage. She said, “I want to show you a movie now.” She set it up like this. There are going to be two sets of basketball players, one has white shirts and one has black shirts.

It really doesn’t matter what the instructions are, whether or not I get this right or wrong for you, it doesn’t matter, but let’s just say. She said, “I want you to count the amount of times that the black team touches the ball or passes the ball. You count the number of times the black team passes the ball. There’s only one ball and there are five people on each team, black shirts and white shirts. I want you to count the number of times the black shirts pass the ball to the white shirts. Okay, cool. Go.”

So she plays the video. My wife and I are watching intently. And by the end of the video, my wife says, “How many did you get?” I said, “Seventeen. How many did you get?” “I got 18.”

There were about 500 people in the audience. The gal on the stage says, “Okay. Don’t shout out the numbers, but I want you to raise your hand. How many of you saw 15?” Hands go up. “Sixteen?” Hands go up. “Seventeen? Eighteen? Nineteen? Twenty? Twenty-one? Twenty-two?” Hands go up for everything. Hands are going up for everything.

And then she says, “Did you see anything else? How many of you saw the gorilla?” My wife and I started laughing, “Gorilla, come on. Give me a break. What gorilla?” She said, “Let me play this for you again.” So she plays the video again, the exact same video and I’ve seen it myself many times now.

Halfway through the video, as these basketball players are passing this ball back and forth, halfway through the video, a guy dressed as a gorilla walks into the middle of the two sets of basketball players, stands there for about 15 seconds, dances around and then leaves. And at least 60% to 70% of the audience when they were counting the number of times the black team passed the ball didn’t see the gorilla including my wife and myself.

We did not see a man dressed in a gorilla walked in the middle of two sets of basketball players, plain as day, danced around for 15 seconds. We did not see it. Why? That’s because our mind was directed to watch the passes from the black team to the white team.

And then this gal very wisely said, “If you didn’t see a gorilla, how many opportunities do you think you might be missing in your life?” I’ve always remembered that and I thought, “Wow. Really? If I can watch a two and a half minute video and miss a guy in a gorilla suit walking in, really? Whoa.” Along with 70% of the audience?

Anyway, it’s profound. You should look up the video. You can find it. It’s not on YouTube. You actually have to buy it for a lot of money to be able to use it. Well, not a lot of money, but you can find it somewhere. Gorilla and basketball players or something and you can Google it and find it. Of course now you’ll see a gorilla. It’s there. I’m sorry to blow it for you, but I thought it was worth driving the point home just for my own experience.

So we can get very, very caught up in what we’re focused on and sometimes what we’re focused on is not the most supportive thing, not the most supportive stuff for us from a vocal standpoint. We were talking about voice. Singing is life, right?

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. I’m sorry if there’s a little background noise. I’m trying to keep the door open. It’s about 100 degrees today and I didn’t want to have the air on, but I’m boiling in here.

I’m going to end this now. I hope this was valuable. I look forward to talking to you in the next one. Have a fabulous day and I’ll talk to you next week. Bye bye.

Thank you for listening to the Inner Singer Podcast. And please share this with all of your singing friends. And head on over to iTunes and subscribe. If you found it of value, give us a nice rating. Thank you so much.

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