Some months back, the incredible Toni Newman asked me if I would perform a song to help launch her year as President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. My first reaction was indeed yes. But the song being requested was Because We Believe as sung by Andrea Bocelli. Needless to say, there was trepidation in that yes. This was out of my ballpark. My genre is rock. Yes, I sing Journey and some Triumph along the way, but Bocelli? Still, I could not refuse Toni; and I could not refuse my inner voice saying “challenge”.
Months passed and I drove to and from work playing and singing. I tried the song at karaoke and got great and cool feedback. Still, it was in the car and at karaoke. Surely, live in front of 250 people from all over the world would be different. Still, I practiced. I remembered my new favorite book, the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I knew what I had to do.
Then last weekend, the time had arrived. The Conference opened on Saturday evening. Many of my unofficial but personally acknowledged mentors were there, Joe Calloway included. Toni. Many friends and colleagues. On Sunday night at the CAPS Foundation Fundraiser, our band ELEVATION performed and we had an incredible time rocking out. But that was rock and my joy and comfort. That night, I found myself Skyping with my best friend Lisa and she asked me to sing it. It was emotional. It was a great feeling… but it was still not “the show”.
That next morning was rehearsal, and it went flawlessly. Still, it was not “the show”.
You see, the song was not only Bocelli. It was not only in front of a sizeable international audience. It was not only a commitment to Toni and her leadership and friendship. Warren Evans, the wondrous founder of CAPS passed this year. We all missed him. There was intense emotion and this song was, in large part, dedicated to his legacy.
But I believed. I believed in Warren, in Toni, and in the people who had come to this place. I believed in CAPS. I believed in my best friend Lisa. I believed in my friends and family, including my best little dog in the world, Panda. Most importantly, I believed in my God, my father and my sister in the next world and dedicated it to them. Moments before being called up, I thought of them all. I got my mind off me and my heart on them. The cue came, and I entered the stage, closed my eyes with Bocelli in mind and sung like I have never before.
There were comments of great kindness afterwards, from musicians, singers, speakers, writers and all. I was overwhelmed. I was not overwhelmed by any sense of talent. I was overwhelmed by the realization that doing is believing. The way is the work and the work is the way. A wolf does not “hope” he can hunt. He goes hunting… he works his way, develops his skill. Nature is filled with examples of doing as the path to believing.
Since then, I have a heightened realization that action is everything. And everything requires everything. Doing dances with being, intensely.
You want something. Do it, work it, craft it. Dance with it, through the stumbles and even the falls. The magic, the real magic, is not simply believing, but acting as if you believe. The feeling will follow the action. And the action requires work. In my work and play going forward, with educators, youth, service providers, leaders and more… this is my enhanced modality. The way is the work and the work is the way… we sharpen the blades and go to war each day. The good fight desires it. The great fight demands it.
By the way, that ballpark? I knocked it out of there.
Do, Believe. Be.
Peace, passion and prosperity
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™