Taking risks is part of the creative process (and life) but there may be those in your life who are stopping you from moving forward.

Not needing permission is a theme social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk speaks about often – and this attitude is vital if you want to have a career as a singer or voice teacher.

In this episode, John talks about why you need to develop a resolve against those who place “ladders” in front of you – keeping you from your goals until you climb to their satisfaction.

Episode Transcription

Episode 54 – You Do Not Need Anyone’s Permission

Hey there! This is John Henny. Welcome back to another episode of the Intelligent Vocalist. I so appreciate you spending this time with me.

Now, if you are a regular listener of the podcast you will notice that I do not curse on this podcast. In fact, I always mark that the language is clean. However, if I were to curse, this may be the episode to do it but I’m not going to. But, I’m going to cover a little topic that gets me a bit heated. And this is also inspired a bit by Gary Vaynerchuk. If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is he’s a social media influencer. He’s quite intense – he does curse, I will warn you. But he talks about this beautiful concept of “not needing permission.”

I sent out a recent email to my list. If you want to get on my list you can go to johnhenny.com, you can sign up for my mailing list. I email about three times a week, sometimes it’s occasionally for products I’m selling but a lot of times it’s just talking about singing or getting things done or just being creative, in general. But I sent out an email about “Not climbing ladders.”

What I mean about ladders – I got this concept from an old book where this person, I believe it was Robert Ringer “How to Win Through Intimidation” which is a terrible name of the book, that must have been the publisher, because it really just talking about business concepts, and he was in the real estate market. But in the book he talked about how he didn’t want or need to climb ladders. When he entered the real estate business he didn’t wait the appropriate amount of time until he was given permission by those who had been in the industry longer that he’d earned the right to kind of promote himself in a certain way or go for certain deals. He said “I’m not climbing ladders. I am going to go where I want to, when I want to, and I don’t need anyone’s permission.”

I recently had a young teacher friend, and the only reason I pointed out his age is because of what happened – he went and was posting Youtube videos where he was critiquing songs and talking about vocal technique. And I actually found the content he was giving/producing to be really good. I mean, very insightful, great insights into singing technique, into pop vocals, how people approach notes, how they color their voice, how they produce certain vocal colors and the options that he would give to producing may be different vocal colors, or a technical shift that would “make it a little safer for the singer”. And he got a comment from a voice teacher – I hate to say but closer to my generation – and this voice teacher basically called him, disparagingly called him “a millennial” and said, “you basically haven’t earned the right to get on Youtube and voice your opinion.”

That just makes me absolutely mental. I’m so glad that my young teacher friend was not fazed – ignored what the guy said and block him from commenting further. He handled it in a very classy way. But unfortunately, not all of us can be that resilient in the face of somebody who’s been in our industry longer or someone you may respect telling you that you haven’t earned the right to do something yet. I’m not saying that you don’t need to be good at what you do, I believe that that is self-evident. But at the same time, you can’t wait for other’s permission. And whether you’re a singer who’s thinking about teaching, a teacher who wants to grow their studio or venture into teaching different styles – let’s say you’ve worked classically but now you want to start teaching Contemporary – get in there and out there, and do it. You don’t need anyone’s permission.

If there’s something holding you back, if there’s a fear of someone’s approval holding you back from going to your goals, you really have to have a bit of a sit down with yourself and a talking to, and you need to break out of that. If your dream and your goal is to sing, whose permission do you need? Your parents? Well, if they’re paying for your lessons, possibly, or not paying for your lessons. But don’t let that be an excuse. Don’t let that stop you. Find a way to learn to sing. Find a way to pay for your lessons. Find a way to record your music and get it out there. Accept the criticisms – you’re going to grow from it, you’re going to learn from it, and you’re going to get better. But in no way, shape or form, do you ever need to ask permission. Just do not. And when somebody starts to criticize you, whatever colorful language that you need to include in your self-talk, go ahead and use it. There, you just had my permission. You need to really get focus on what it is that you want to do. I am telling you, the clock is ticking every moment. And the clock is ticking hard, and the clock is ticking fast. Whatever it is that you want to do you don’t have time to wait for people’s permission. My voice teacher friend doesn’t have the time to wait for this older teacher to say “it’s okay to give your insights now. It’s okay for you to teach others now” because who knows when that’s coming.

Now, there are ladders that you may choose to get on. I myself have climbed ladders. And I’ve knowingly climbed ladders but I’ve also been extremely careful about the ladders that I get on. If you are going to university, if you want to get a degree, that is a ladder, but that is a ladder that you are choosing to climb. You understand the restrictions on that ladder. It would be that you’re not going to be able to say that you have a Bachelor’s in Music, until you actually do. That’s the restrictions of the ladder. There are teacher organizations that create their own ladders – that’s the whole point. And if you knowingly get on the ladder and you understand what that’s going to be, and that there are restrictions until you hit certain rungs of the ladder, that’s okay as long as you’re very aware of them. But be really really careful and be really really clear.

I know someone who coaches people in how to teach guitar. Yet he puts the restriction that if you’re, in his course, you can’t teach Skype lessons – that is a ladder I would never get on. That is an absolute No. I know someone else who helps people grow their teaching businesses. That’s great. But then he turns around and says “You can’t take what you’ve learned and help other people grow their business.” That’s a ladder I’m not getting on.

Then there are those who will just take pot shots at you, will decide that they can create a ladder, that there is a time frame that you need to go through or hoops that you need to go through, in order to do their thing. Don’t listen to them. Get as good as you can be. It is between you and your audience. It is between you and someone who may pay for your services. If you are not good you’ll ultimately going to be found out. And if you’re listening to this podcast, I have to believe and maybe it’s my own ego, but I have to believe that you’re somebody who takes singing seriously and you’re somebody who really wants to be good, and really wants to help others if you’re teaching, or really wants to move others if you’re singing. And really wants to have a command of your instrument so that you’re not falling apart and cancelling performances and having your instruments fail you. Get as good as you can be. And then take no (blank) from nobody. You go and you do your thing.

I know I’m on my soup box here, getting a little hyper. I will calm it down. I’m going to zen out. I’ve been practicing meditation. I’m getting better at this. But seriously, I had people come into my vocal studio, and these people are in their 30s/40s, even older. And they will tell me that they used to sing when they were younger but they haven’t sung in many years. And when you ask them what happened, you will find that somebody said something to them that was cruel. Whether it was a frustrated choir teacher, an uncaring voice teacher, a friend or somebody told them that they couldn’t sing – these people, years later, some of them have actually started crying. It is so painful to them. And what they did is they allowed somebody to rob them of decades of joy of expressing themselves through their instrument. They allowed someone else not giving them permission to take that away from them. And that’s time that they will never have back.

Listen, if you’re a young person listening to this podcast, I know I have all ages listening to this, I am telling you, the clock isn’t going to stop. You’re going to get older. Time is going to leave and we’re all going to pass away, we’re all going to die. What are you going to leave? Who are you going to allow to stop you from what it is that you want to do?

So, don’t get on any ladders. Don’t look for permission, unless you have specifically chosen, and you have your eyes wide open, and you are protecting yourself and your gift. And that’s it for today.

Hey, if you want more information about me and the stuff I do, you can go to johnhenny.com. Again, you can sign up for my email list, I email about three times a week. Most of them are not marketing emails. I’m not going to hammer you and spam you. If you are interested in voice teaching, I actually have a brand new teacher training program called Contemporary Voice Teacher Academy. Just go to johnhenny.com  and click on the menu Teacher Training. You can get more information on that. And by the time this is posted, my new Youtube channel should at least have one video on it. And the series is called Why I Love This Vocal. I’m just going to go in and break down vocals that I really love and explain not just in technical terms (in terms of vowel tuning and voice registration) but also musical terms, and how the artist communicates, and how they set the vibe with what makes a truly great vocal to me, because it’s called Why I Love This Vocal. And I didn’t ask anybody’s permission. But I’m really hoping that people will enjoy it.

The first one that I am doing is Justin Bieber. Yes, a guy my age. But I had a student come in and worked on a Justin Bieber song a couple years ago, and I was just blown away by how rhythmically  accurate Justin is. So the first video is a couple of Justin Bieber songs, and I’m going to go break down how he used his rhythmic accuracy to really create a compelling vocal and it really becomes part of the hook. So just go to Youtube, my channel is JohnHennyVocals. The video should be there. There’s going to be one for now but it’s going to grow.

Hey thank you so much for listening to me. And until next time; to better singing! Thank you so much. Bye.