I was having lunch in Las Vegas with the legendary Julio Iglesias, with whom I toured the world for five and a half years and sang duets. One in particular, "As Time Goes By," is on his latest CD, entitled '1'. Julio is not only a friend, but also a gentleman whose honest opinion I trust and value. During the course of our lunch, Julio looked at me intently and asked, "Stephanie, what have you decided to do for the rest of your life? You need to think of these things now." Julio was right. And I began to ask myself that very question: "What DO I want to do at this stage of my journey and still maintain the lifestyle with which I have become accustomed?"
Only hours before that, ironically, I had a similar talk with my friend, Brenda Andrews. I had mentioned to her that business had slowed down, and her immediate response was, "You should become a vocal coach. With your talent for being a vocal contractor, vocal arranger and your experience as a solo artist, the arena is wide open." I thought about it and committed myself to the notion . . . and here I am 15 years later, one of the top Celebrity Vocal Coaches in the business.
Here are the guiding principles that worked for me . . .
1. Be Confident. We must be confident in reinventing ourselves. In order to authentically move into a new arena, your belief system must be strong and true to your vision and not someone else's.
2. Avoid Distraction. Focus on the direction you want to go in and be definitive. Often you have to try different things to see what works for you. However, when you figure it out, remember to focus and jump in with all fours. As humans, we all struggle to stay excited about certain tasks. We get bored; we get frustrated; we get distracted, and our master plan suffers for it. So, if you have a vision for your life . . . as I did . . . don't be afraid, continue to believe in yourself––be a trailblazer.
3. Seek Positive Energy. We must be strong and know that we are only transferring who we are and what we do into another space. Stay away from those who belittle your dreams and surround yourself with those who are positive and who make you feel that you can be great in this new frontier. You must remain physically, mentally and spiritually fed and you will see your vision come to light.
4. Be Flexible. You must be flexible with your talents and be proactive––not reactive. Will you wait and let circumstances dictate your outcome? No, you must be proactive and look for an opportunity in everything you are exploring, and it will reveal itself and show what your possibilities are.
5. Identify Your Market Or Niche. By identifying the vocal coaching/artist development niche, I knew that the record companies were no longer spending the time and effort to develop artists anymore. So, that's when I started my School of Voice and Artists Development business. I did the research and I was true to myself in making sure this was what I wanted to do.
6. Self-Market. When promoting yourself, you must be business savvy in multiple areas. Remember, you are a Brand, and you want your Brand to be recognizable to the public. When you've decided what your Brand will be, (i.e. your name or the name of your new business), remember to have it legally Trademarked. You must make it a point to remain visible in this digital world, i.e., your website, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, YouTube etc. So, do the research and use social media as a means of effectively promoting yourself. You must go out and make it happen––it won't happen on its own.
7. Gather A Focus Group. In reinventing yourself, remember it is a journey. Use the skills you have and develop the ones you don't toward your chosen goal. Put together a focus group of friends who know you well and ask them what they think you're good at. Sometimes they see things in you that you haven't seen. Life is a perpetual continuum. You and your skills will always be changing and improving.
8. Maintain Your Passion. I interviewed my longtime friend and colleague, Ollie E. Brown, who is a top drummer for the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and is also a film and record producer. He is now a realtor of luxury homes and the successful owner of OllieWood Estates/Rodeo Realty. "If you're passionate about your business," he says, "when challenges arise, you will be able to withstand the pressure because you love what you do and you won't walk away. Objectives, love and passion—these three things are the elements to help you become successful in reinventing yourself. It's not even about the knowledge as much as the desire to be great."
9. Follow Through. I have asked on many occasions during my seminars, "Are you an I Can, I Will or an I Must person?" Each pledge has power behind it. So, which one are you? I Can means you are still thinking about what you want to achieve and you are unsure of how you should go about making it a reality. I Will means that you are going to get around to doing it one day. Most I Wills are procrastinators––a word you want to eliminate from your vocabulary. However, an I Must person has a clear purpose and proactively pursues his or her Master Plan with a sense of urgency on a daily basis.
10. Be Humble. Place yourself in the position to serve––it will come back to you tenfold.