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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

Love Shack, Baby, Love Shack

Last weekend, I went to karaoke with friends from my community choir, and I was a nervous wreck. First, these women are far better singers than me. Second, as much as I like making music, I get super anxious performing solo. Third, I unwisely volunteered to be the designated driver, so I didn’t have the benefit of liquid courage.

Please note that I use the term performing loosely here. We were tucked away in the corner of a small-town dive bar where beer-guzzling locals shot pool and completely ignored us. Still, I could feel my heart racing as I flipped through the binder of overdone, out-of-reach, and otherwise intimidating song choices.

As I waited my turn, I mentally divided the singers into three categories:

  • Amazing - Talented singers who love the music and connect with the audience

  • Also Fabulous - Terrible singers who are having a ball

  • Hard to Watch - Singers of any caliber who take themselves too seriously

I started solidly in the third category. My inner critic expects nothing short of perfection irrespective of my actual ability (amateur) and the stakes (exceptionally low).

But the later it got, the sillier we became, and the more fun I had. Because nobody cares about perfect anyway. Whether it’s karaoke, a job interview, or a keynote speech, the most engaging performers will be the ones enjoying themselves the most.

I cherish these wise words from musician, expert teacher, and everyday philosopher Jerry Phelps.

Authenticity is more compelling than perfection. Connection is more appealing than precision. Humor is more engaging than flawlessness.

So, go ahead, take the mic.


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