Mistakes are an inevitable part of our daily lives, and it's natural to sometimes wish we could rewrite our history. But what if I told you that these very mistakes can actually be the catalysts for personal growth and honesty? Instead of dwelling on regrets, see them as valuable lessons that set you on the right path.
The Journey Begins: "Look Around"
Before I delve into the heart of this story, let me take you back to my early years as a singer/songwriter. My first official single, "Look Around," was composed when I was just 10 years old [what can I say? I've always been a deep thinker]. It carried a message of social justice, focusing on environmental awareness and empathy for the unhoused. Drawing inspiration from the music of legendary New Zealand musician Midge Marsden, this song marked my initial exploration of songwriting as a medium to be honest about my thoughts and feelings on the world around me.
Fast forward to my teenage years, and I found myself grappling with personal struggles and emotional challenges. My music's focus shifted inward, and during this period, I wrote the award-winning track, "Soon."
"Soon" – A Naively Honest Tribute to Youthful Love
While "Soon" may sound like a beautiful and romantic melody on the surface, beneath it lies a deeper narrative. At the tender age of fourteen, I fell deeply in love with someone four years older than me. I truly believed he had his life together [something I felt I seriously lacked], and in my innocence, I thought that love alone could conquer any obstacle. The result? Not good.
However, I wrote "Soon," as a hopeful love song expressing my unwavering commitment to this person and our shared dreams.
Of course, as life unfolded, I came to realize that love and hope, though crucial, weren't the only ingredients for a successful relationship. Maturity, responsibility, and many other qualities play a pivotal role. Especially as a young person trying to make sense of the world. As a result: "Soon" came to serve my teenage self as a form of communication to attempt to be heard by those doubting the relationship, a tool to help me understand my own thoughts and feelings, and now: as an enduring reminder of my youthful naivety.
However, "Soon" also gave me a number of life lessons that I wasn't quite expecting. But I'll get to that shortly.
A Surprising Turn of Events: "Soon" Goes National, Teaching Honesty on a Wider Stage
Okay, so writing "Soon" was a leap in itself... it was my way of trying to tell the world how I felt, try to make sense of how I felt, and express it all in a way that didn't feel confrontational or abrasive.
And that might have been enough.
However, everything took an unexpected turn in my life when I decided to enter it into a nationwide songwriting competition called "Play It Strange." It was the inaugural competition, and to my disbelief, I somehow secured the 9th spot in the entirety of New Zealand, competing against a pool of remarkably talented young songwriters. This achievement unlocked numerous opportunities, allowing me to professionally record and release the song. It even found its way onto radio stations and television channels across the nation.
This journey underscored a valuable lesson: even the most challenging life experiences can be transformed into something positive through the medium of music and songwriting. It became a testament to the power of being honest through storytelling in songwriting.
Impact and Relevance: Honesty in Our Social Relationships
The impact of "Soon" extends beyond my personal journey. I've had the privilege of sharing this song with diverse audiences and young individuals in workshops. It's astounding how this seemingly straightforward love song has resonated with others, sparking honest conversations about relationships, personal growth, and self-awareness.
Especially for my teenaged audience.
Today, as a youth empowerment through songwriting coach, I employ "Soon" to connect with my clients [especially my young women], fostering open dialogues about mistakes, growth, and the importance of honesty. It's a tangible example of how art can function as a mirror, reflecting our past selves and guiding us toward a wiser future.
Reflection and Growth: Embracing Honesty
Writing and performing "Soon" significantly impacted my personal growth. As a teenager, we're often bombarded with thoughts and feelings, but rarely know what to do with them. Allowing myself the space and creative freedom to write my experiences into music compelled me to validate my emotions, confront my vulnerabilities, and even reevaluate my perceptions about love, relationships, and life. Here's how it reshaped my perspective, mindset, and approach to life:
Lesson One: Perspective Shift through Honesty: "Soon" helped me evolve my simplistic understanding of love into a more nuanced comprehension. I came to understand that love is just one facet of a successful relationship. Other crucial elements include respect, maturity, and effective communication, feeling heard, trust, among others.
The most significant, however, is that in order for a relationship to thrive: you need to ensure that the other person's values, energy, and trajectory are in alignment with yours. You've heard the saying that "if you're the smartest person in the room; you're in the wrong room", right? It's similar with relationship. If your goals, values, and ideas on life aren't copacetic with the other, chances are: you're in the wrong relationship.
Mindset Evolution: The songwriting process challenged me to embrace vulnerability and authenticity. It taught me that sharing my imperfections and flaws can create more profound connections with others.
But - more importantly - it serves as an almost placeholder to mark my evolution and growth as I grew older, learned more, and came to my own conclusions about what healthy relationships [romantic or otherwise] look like.
It also continues to help me remember the typical teenage mindset regarding relationships, so that - even as my understanding of the world has evolved - I can continue to connect with my teenaged clients to this day.
Approach to Life with Honesty: "Soon" instilled in me the understanding that mistakes are indeed invaluable opportunities for personal growth. The mere act of songwriting as a teen encouraged me to not shy away from taking calculated risks, even if there was uncertainty about the outcomes [isn't there always?]. I came to understand that, in the grand scheme of things, a temporary setback or even a "wrong" turn could lead to valuable insights, greater resilience, and a deeper sense of self. With each mistake, I learned that I could emerge not only wiser and stronger but also armed with a valuable life lesson that would serve as a compass for my future endeavors. And, as a delightful bonus, I discovered that sometimes, those missteps could lead to unexpected successes, just like the hit song "Soon" that marked a pivotal moment in my journey.
But this isn't just about Me.
The entire reason why I write these blog posts isn't to harp on about me and my music... This is about YOU and your opportunity to either work through turning your life lessons into musical blessings... or helping your teenager do so.
So, to that end: now it's:
Your Turn to Embrace Honesty
Even if you're not a songwriter, there are meaningful activities you can engage in to promote personal growth and honesty:
1. Reflect on Past Mistakes with Honesty: Take time to contemplate your previous mistakes and challenges, especially those tied to relationships and personal growth. Document them and acknowledge the valuable lessons they've imparted. Recognize that every stumble is a chance for growth.
2. Write a Letter to Your Younger Self about Honesty: Imagine composing a letter to your teenage self, sharing the wisdom you've amassed from your life journey. Use this exercise to foster an honest dialogue between your past and present selves.
3. Honesty Challenge: Challenge yourself to be more honest and transparent in your daily interactions for a week. Share your unfiltered thoughts, feelings, and experiences with others. The practice of honesty can pave the way for genuine connections.
4. Create Your Own Art Honoring Honesty: Use your life experiences, including mistakes and lessons, as inspiration to craft a piece of art, whether it's a song, poem, painting, or another creative outlet. Sharing your creations can be both cathartic and inspiring.
5. Engage in Vulnerable Conversations with Honesty: Initiate conversations with friends, family, or mentors where you openly discuss your vulnerabilities and challenges. Encourage them to do the same. By embracing honesty, you create a safe space for authentic sharing and mutual support.
Remember that personal growth is an ongoing journey. Mistakes should not define us but refine us, helping us become better versions of ourselves. Embrace them as stepping stones on your path to becoming the most honest and authentic person you can be.
In conclusion, "Soon" transcends being just a song; it's a testament to the power of growth through self-reflection and the importance of honesty in our lives. It serves as a reminder that our past experiences, however challenging, can be transformed into opportunities for personal development and more honest, meaningful connections with others. As you navigate your unique journey, remember that the mistakes you make today can pave the way for the wisdom you carry into tomorrow. Embrace them, learn from them, and let them guide you on the path of honesty and personal growth.
Of course, you're not alone in this journey. Whilst turning struggles into song can be a vulnerable work: it is also a powerful one, especially with the right coaching or assistance.
Which is why I established YES Youth Coaching in 2019. Youth Empowerment through Songwriting is an unconventional yet effective method to help you channel your voice, turn your adversities into anthems, and aid you in your journey to embracing your honesty, celebrating your mistakes as lessons learned, and honoring your growth one song at a time.
When you're ready, here are the three main ways we can work together:
One on one coaching - helping you rewrite your perceptions of yourself, and the way the world perceives you: one powerful song at a time even if you've never written a song before. Perfect for those of you who are interested in unconventional coaching.
Commissioned song - harnessing your brand, business or organization in one powerful anthem that can be used for teambuilding and rapport, brand-building, and advertising. Perfect for companies wanting to enhance or improve workplace culture, and are mission, vision, and purpose oriented.
Edutainment + workshopping - using keynote speaking and music together to elevate your business, organization or event. Perfect for event planners and coordinators who are looking for something impactful for their next retreat, conference, or training day.
Or simply, click here to book a call with me, and let's revel in the power of your honesty and growth: one song at a time.
~ Emma G