Do you want to learn to express yourself clearly and confidently to achieve a higher level of performance? My special guest in this episode is vocal coach, Maggie Gelin. She is sharing her insights on topics like creativity, confidence, and the many ways in which to use your voice for stress reduction. Tune in to hear how to turn off any imposter syndrome inadequacies you may be experiencing and turn on your stronger, more powerful, more aligned voice so you too can rise to your potential.
Maggie Gelin is a vocal coach with a big heart and tons of passion for singing. She helps passionate singers overcome challenges throughout their singing journey so that they can share their gifts with the world.
• [7:31] Maggie discusses how “getting into action” can be difficult for many people… and shares the small steps you can take for forward momentum.
• [11:56] “Does it feel in alignment with who I am...with who I want to be?”
• [13:31] Maggie shares her story of overcoming the fear of voice surgery.
• [21:15] Maggie explains the cost of keeping our voices small and silenced.
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Dr. Christine Li -
Download Dr. Li’s free worksheet to help you let go of perfectionism and people pleasing here → https://maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com/freedom
Maggie Gelin -
Maggie’s FREE vocal warm-up: https://www.maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com/warmup
Christine Li 0:01
Welcome back to the Make Time for Success podcast. This is episode 110. If you enjoy a story of how people rise to fulfill their potential, you're going to really enjoy the stories that my special guest Maggie Gelin has to share with us today. Maggie is a vocal coach with a true passion for singing, and a huge heart as well. She helps passionate singers overcome challenges throughout their singing journey, so that they can share their passion with the world. And she's had to overcome her own challenges with singing and with becoming a success before she could become the leader that she currently is. I admire Maggie so much. She's one of the most go gettering and joyful people that I know. And I think you're gonna love this conversation. Let's go listen to it now.
Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important, and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the Make Time for Success podcast.
Hello, dear listeners, welcome to what is going to be a fantastic and wonderful interview, I am sure with my good friends and colleague, Maggie Gelin. Maggie, thank you for being here today, to share with us all that you know, to share your loveliness, and to share all of your insights on topics like creativity, confidence, and how to use your voice for stress reduction. We've already planned a great interview for you. But we're also planning to have a great conversation that is a little bit free flowing. So here we go. Maggie, welcome to the show.
Maggie Gelin 2:21
Oh, thank you so much for having me. And thank you for this beautiful intro.
Christine Li 2:25
While you are a beautiful woman, inside and out, please let us know a little bit more about you and what thrills you.
Maggie Gelin 2:34
Alright, so my name is Maggie. I'm a vocal coach. So I work with singers, I teach them, first of all how to sing but also how to use their voices to express themselves. So you don't have to be a singer in order to be able to express yourself, singing could be a good way to do that. And together, we're looking into topics like how to strengthen that confidence, not just as a singer, but also as a person. Also going into that, you know, creative flow that you can experience when you're doing something creatively. And most of all, just sharing your your passion, your voice, your story, the emotions that you feel, all through singing. So that is my big passion. And I love to help people with that.
Christine Li 3:24
Beautiful. So I have of course curiosity about all of these topics. And then I thought the shortest quickest way to get my curiosity satisfied is to ask you what your own journey has been with unleashing your confidence and your message and your passion and what kind of roadblocks are there in the past?
Maggie Gelin 3:47
Beautiful question. So just to be clear, I wasn't born a talent, right? A lot of people think that you need to have this gift, or you need to have this talent in order to do something successfully, whether it's singing or something else. And I realized pretty early on that I was not born with that gift. But I did love to be on stage and do my thing and sing wherever I could. And you know, as a child, when when you see child's children play, they're never afraid of anything. And so having that childlike curiosity for me is very important, even today, not being a child anymore. With so I didn't realize that something like skills can be trained, and I think the main roadblock was being confronted and working with people that did have maybe that gift or that talent. I was confronted with that in your university when I did my degree when with singing, and I realized that those are I'm going to call them the talented singers. They can be lazy. So I felt very jealous in a way to see someone that could do things where I had to work hours for. And I, I don't only see that with singers, I see that with every skill in life, you know, riding a bicycle, or rollerskating, whatever you'd like to do. And what I noticed is, throughout the years, throughout my studies, I was the hard working one, I was the one doing all the exercises for my voice instead of going out and enjoy a concert or go drink a little beer at night. So by doing all of that, I realized that I actually got to surpass the talented singers, and I am what I love to call a trained singer. And I believe everyone can be trained, and you can be trained in anything, really, I know that you can be trained in singing, because that is my expertise. But I'm sure it's like baseball or basketball, you're learning to throw the ball through the hoop, and the first time you might miss. But then, you know, the second time, it might be better. And that's how you can learn any skill, in my opinion. I
Christine Li 6:14
love this and reflection about the natural born talent and the train to talent. Because I don't think I've ever This topic has not come up in my podcast interviews before. And we've talked about a lot of things on this show. And I love this. And for me, it makes me think about the fact that you just knew how to use your natural skills and your talents are also in the realm of self discipline, and practice and learning and not giving up. I recently gave feedback to Maggie that I see her as this master learner, we go to conferences together, and she is just absorbing the information and integrating it on the spot, and unafraid to ask the curiosity questions that come up for her. So I wanted to just stop here and mention those things. Because these are Maggie's gifts to not just her love of singing and her talent for singing, but also just her ability to use her natural gifts to get herself what she loves and what she wants in life. And I think that's a beautiful lesson for our listeners. So thank you for sharing that.
Maggie Gelin 7:33
Oh, thank you for for sharing that too, because it's something that I might not be conscious of. And by you saying that out loud. I'm like, oh, yeah, of course. And getting into action can be so difficult. For many people, I see that with the singers I work with. But I also see that with other friends and family that you know, are also in the business space, and lots of them, learn new things, and then it stays with the learning. And I realized that it's when you take that first little step towards putting it into action. That's where the whole Yeah, it's like a domino, the whole domino will follow. And I think that is very important to realize that taking that first step, how small it might be, you know, you have an idea, and it could stay an idea. And then it gets lost in your mind with all of the other thoughts that you're thinking. Or you can take that first step and write it down, or, you know, text someone or however, that little first step can be just to make the ball rolling. That I think is what you were saying the most important thing you achieve? Well,
Christine Li 8:44
I absolutely agree. As someone who was stuck in procrastination for decades of my life, I completely agree. Okay, before we move on to the other topics, I want to stick with your own personal journey, if you don't mind. And let me ask you, Were there moments where you felt that you had either a voice block or an anxiety block or volume block? I don't know the kind of resistance that singers face, but I would love to hear from you. What along the way did you have to work through aside from the training piece, just the personal piece?
Maggie Gelin 9:23
Oh, so many things. If I'm taking the big one. Well, there's two that I want to go over two big ones. But I mean, there's challenges everyday, right? The two big ones. The first one is when I was in a choir, that was pretty competitive, because we would do you know, gigs and album recording. So it was a pretty professional choir. But not everyone in the choir got to do the projects like recording the album or performing. So there was a lot of competitiveness. And that's, I think my first encounter Start with comparing yourself with someone else. And not comparing yourself with yourself. in that choir, you also got grades every, I think every quarter just to see how well you did, and how you know what you can improve. And so one big roadblock that I had there, my grades were always amazing. But I felt absolutely bad as a singer, just because the other singers seems much better than I was. They weren't. I mean, I, if I look back, I got to do all of those performance with them. I got to do the album recordings. So I don't know if my fear of not being good enough was allowed to be there. But I also think it's a natural process that it was there. And being in that choir, it was kind of a toxic environment, to be honest, because you're always, like competing against each other. There were there was no, it wasn't a supportive environment. And I think that's the big difference that I want to create when working with singers. Is that supportive environment? Because the music industry can be very, I mean, like any industry, I guess. So that is the first big roadblock that I had, and the first big lesson. And you know, if you're going to ask me how I overcame that, I wouldn't know to be honest, because when I look back at my adventure, I also compared myself when I was in university, but the real click came when I saw that, you know, I surpassed those talented singers. And I think that's where I started focusing on myself and on my development as a person. And now I just got really good at just looking at what I do, does it feel in alignment with who I am with who I want to be? Does it feel good, and if not, then there's something we need to change. And then I'm not looking at other people that much anymore. And I think it's very liberating.
Christine Li 12:11
Truly liberating, I think that's one of the definitions of liberation is to not feel like you have to compare yourself to the people around you, who are struggling in their own way that we may not even be able to see or hear. So thank you. That's a beautiful story. And I'm glad you were able to sing with the groups that you wanted to sing and also that you've been able to work through that journey of deciding I am good enough. I think, broadly speaking, not just with your voice, but just within yourself. And then that takes you to the journey of how can I say in good alignment with what my body, my mind, my energy, my life needs. And that's a beautiful path to be on.
Maggie Gelin 12:55
It sounds amazing what you're saying. And it is a big work in progress, I think for everyone. So a big element in there I've in my opinion is compassion towards yourself. And looking at, I always tell my singers this, I tried to listen to myself as I listened to you, or as you're listening to a friend are watching yourself as if you're watching your friends. And so a second roadblock that I encountered that came up when you ask the question that is tightly close to this one. I had vocal surgery last month. And it's been a year that I've been struggling with my voice and I thought it was interesting, because I never well, you know, voice surgery for a singer. I mean, when you hear that people are like, Oh my god, are you okay? Actually, I was fine. But it's because when people started reacting that way, I started thinking, Oh, this is bad. Right? So influencing from other people. But what I've learned throughout the process was so I hit the fear of Oh, no imposter syndrome, right? Oh, no, I'm a vocal coach, hey, I need to get vocal surgery. Who am I to teach singing or you know, vocal training. Now luckily, the system that I had on the voice was nothing related to vocal technique, but the fear was there. And I felt that impostor syndrome a lot. And having surmounted that, and I'm really grateful for that surgery, because otherwise I wouldn't have realized it. I think, having surmounted that I get to be here because I know what I'm talking about or you know, it's it's more than just the voice right? And I think everyone listening should realize they have something to offer. And it's not about some limp you have you know, a pianist without a without a finger can still play piano, or a writer can always write Even if they don't have a pen, there's always something you have to offer. And I realized that things through that surgery, it was a hard time. It was a difficult time. But the lessons, right, those are the most beautiful things.
Christine Li 15:15
At listeners, I told you, Maggie was beautiful. And she's also about to make me cry. I love these stories. They're so beautiful. They're really beautiful story. So thank you for sharing them. I'm glad you're Well, I'm glad you had that epiphany through that surgery, as well, I think you're teaching us so much. Let's see, where should we go? Next? Let's go to feelings. Because I think that's where my mind and heart are taking me with the topics here? And how does the voice and how we use our voice to either block our feelings or help them to be expressed and felt?
Maggie Gelin 15:55
I love that you're asking that question because that is what my whole message is about. So a lot of people think that they need to have a good vocal technique in order to express themselves well express themselves with confidence, express themselves as they are right. They think once I know how to do the skill, then I can actually do it. And what I've noticed working with a lot of singers over the years is that the emotions that we feel, or the insecurities that we might experience or the negative thoughts are the anxiousness that we sometimes feel, it creeps up in our body, when you're sad, you're gonna feel that in your throat, when you're angry, you might feel that, I don't know, in your tummy, I feel it in my tummy. But everyone's different, right. So these emotions have an impact on how you do the skill. And my whole philosophy is that you don't need to have the techniques in order to do the scale well, or sing well or whatever. But you need to be able to do them from a place of confidence from a place of trusting and from a place of ease. And that will help you get to the level that you want to get at with the skills that you're developing. So emotions are a big part of that. And for many people, expressing yourself with your voice is a way to express those emotions. When we're angry, we're screaming, when we're sad we're solving. So our voice is a tool to express all of that. And singing can help you quick in that process. For a lot of singers singing is some kind of therapy, I don't want to call it a therapy because I'm not a therapy therapist, that's worse. But lots of singers tell me oh, this is my therapy. And I'm like, This is so beautiful. Because when you have that feeling that you keep inside, that's gonna influence different things in your life, and in your relationships. And it's getting that out there that helps you to process all of that.
Christine Li 18:12
Beautiful. So you've seen your students as they progress in their studies and their experimentation with their voice, that they become more connected with their feelings at the same time.
Maggie Gelin 18:25
Yeah, 100% I even had people that you know, had difficult conversations to have with someone else. And then they come and sing for an hour. And then they feel so liberating, that they're like, I'm gonna have this conversation from a place of power. And that for me is I am so grateful I get to work with these amazing singers, because maybe I'm not talking to singers here. But the people that I work with are so amazing. And I'm just grateful that I get to be their coach and guide them through maybe some difficulties that they stumble upon throughout their journey. But yes, definitely. Singing can help put all of those emotions that might be difficult to express. It might put a stop to that and calm you down.
Christine Li 19:14
Beautiful. I think you said a few minutes ago, you're not a therapist, but I have a feeling you're a very good there. So I love that your love for your work really comes through as well, which is wonderful. Now let's talk about the childlike curiosity, because I would just love to hear how you maintain that because I think there's an openness there that sometimes like you mentioned, we get trained out of that openness and we have to act a certain way. We have to act formally. We have to sing a perfectly. We have to be just like the other person next to us. How do you retain just that openness and have the feeling that wow, I could just explore in any way that I choose.
Maggie Gelin 20:04
Yeah, I love that. And I'm gonna say, I do that into singing through improvisation. And I do that with my singers. But I have this one posted here, I'm going to show you. And it says, How can I have more fun today? And it's always next to me on my desk. And I think that is my daily reminder to be in that childlike curiosity in everything that I do. How can I have more fun cooking? How can I have more fun? doing my taxes? How can I have more fun? And just asking that question challenges my brain also to look for ways to do different tasks that I might not like to do, but find a way to make it playful, and, you know, being playful is, I think, one of my values, because it's, it's so important to not be serious all the time, I believe it is. I mean, there are some moments where you have to be serious, obviously, on a funeral or something that does make sense to be serious. But experiencing that idea of fun, and playfulness makes everything so much lighter. And I know it sounds very, maybe naive or positive thinking, I get those reactions a lot, by the way, which is fine, I see it as a compliment. But yeah, being able to tap into that fun, Miss or playfulness, again, that that sparks those happy hormones, and we cannot have enough of those happy hormones, in my opinion.
Christine Li 21:39
And those hormones boost our performance. I absolutely 100% agree with Maggie. By the way, if anybody is wondering, and I to try to seek avenues of fun creativity, things that might open my eyes to something new, because novelty I think has a way of bringing us joy and that new spark of things. And I think when I think about the voice, I think about the cost of keeping our voice, small, quiet, silenced, we're missing out on the person's energy and their message, and their liveliness and their child likeness. And that's a big cost. That's a big cost of staying small and staying quiet, when you really have so much more to share.
Maggie Gelin 22:28
Yeah, your voice is such a powerful tool to communicate and get some messages across. It doesn't need to be with singing, just just talking to you. I mean, listening to your voice and to my voice. We're playing with our voices. And I think it's very impactful if you can influence someone like that in a conversation.
Christine Li 22:54
Absolutely. So for the non singers who are listening to us, what advice would you give them for nurturing their stronger, more powerful, more aligned voice?
Maggie Gelin 23:12
Who Good question nurturing their powerful voice. I want them to scream once a day. Just screaming could sometimes feel so liberating. So I think that's a good one, I love to go into nature. If it's a forest or somewhere where there's no one and just make noise, it can be a scream, it can be some kind of sigh, you know, we we are so scared to make too much noise. And that's actually something a message that I got from my parents, they would always tell me, you're so loud, Be quiet, be quiet. And that is something that I grew up with. And so the result of that is that I was scared to show myself. And of course, that's a limiting belief that I have seen and had to work through. Because as a singer, I need to be able to So myself and then be loud and be be who I am. And everyone should be able to make those sounds that they sometimes keep in sight. So scream it out. I love it's in a pillow.
Christine Li 24:29
I love it. And thank you for sharing that early situation that impacted you. I think that there's a real pressure that comes with experiencing limiting beliefs and an idea that there's limited space, or limited volume or limited experimentation that can be done when really the reality is the sky's the limit. There's no limit. There's no limit to what we can do and what where we can take ourselves If we allow ourselves that's the trick is that if we're not feeling safe enough, Nobody's going anywhere. And that's, of course, our journey as adults to work through, how do I get myself to be free enough to access everything that I have access to?
Maggie Gelin 25:18
Exactly. And finding ways to tap into that idea of everything is possible. I think that's the key to actually doing everything that you want to do. One of the ways you know, even if you're doing theater, and going into that dreamlike world, playing a character, same thing with singing, you know, there's so many songs talking about unlimited possibilities. If it's singing, if it's theater, if it's art, if it's reading a book, just getting into that mindset and world of anything is possible. That is so key, I think, to experience your successes.
Christine Li 25:59
I 100%. Agree, Maggie, you and I need to develop some sort, of course together.
Maggie Gelin 26:04
We need to do some things together.
Christine Li 26:07
And our we need to keep going, training our people and just doing the work on ourselves. This is what we do. So Maggie, thank you so much for teaching us so many deep, beautiful lessons today. Could you let us know anything else you would want us to know? Before we sign off, and also how people can stay in touch with you?
Maggie Gelin 26:30
Well, the only thing that I wanted to add to this conversation is a big thank you to you. I'm very grateful that I can be here and share my story and that we're, you know, we're getting to have this conversation. So thank you for that.
Christine Li 26:42
Thank you. It's my pleasure. My pleasure.
Maggie Gelin 26:43
Now. You ask also where they could connect with me. My website is singinginsiders.com So they can see me there. And then I have a little freebie if they want to they can download a vocal warmup, which is amazing. Even if you're not a singer. It's very fun. There's some tongue twisters in there that will make you laugh again, that playfulness. So if you're interested, you can also go and grab that.
Christine Li 27:13
Okay, beautiful. Thank you, Maggie, for that free gift for our listeners. I think I'll use that freebie before my podcast interviews. I have a feeling that it will be very helpful there.
Maggie Gelin 27:22
Oh my god. Yes. Yes, I'll send it to you. Okay, great.
Christine Li 27:26
And the URL for our listeners is maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com/warmup W A R M up. And thank you, Maggie for that beautiful share there too. Thank you, Maggie. This has been beautiful. Like I anticipated. You are so wonderful. Thank you so much for your time, your energy and your work. It is all so wonderful.
Maggie Gelin 27:51
Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate it. Thank you.
Christine Li 27:55
All right, everyone. There's our wrap for us. And we're going to take these lessons into the forest and we're gonna experiment with our voice. And I will see you next Thursday when the next episode drops. Take care.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Make Time for Success podcast. If you enjoyed what you've heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Maggie is a vocal coach with a big heart and tons of passion for singing. She helps passionate singers overcome challenges throughout their singing journey so that they can share their gifts with the world.