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Embodying My Voice: A Songwriter's Journey Back Home creativity finding your voice Mar 21, 2024

There's something vulnerable about our voice. I imagine many, if not all, of us have experienced a time when we felt our voices were shut down, whether by force or by choice.  

Sometime in my late teens, I disidentified as a singer. I was more comfortable identifying as a woman, dancer, student, and later a mom, wife, and executive coach, but not a singer. Looking back on milestones when I stopped singing, there were two auditions where I wasn't chosen for the elite choir, one in high school and one in college. Despite having sung in choirs throughout middle and high school, I lost confidence in my voice and kept my singing sequestered to more private spaces like the car, shower, or kitchen during the pandemic. 

So, in my late 40s and despite being a business owner since 2014, I felt called to explore the deeper layers that kept me from sharing my voice and perspectives more widely, particularly in online spaces where I wanted to build my brand and my coaching practice. Despite marketing norms, I wasn't regularly sharing written or video content online, even though I had the skills to do it. I sensed that some deeper yet amorphous fear was keeping me from speaking up, putting myself out there, and sharing my perspectives. 

Fast-forward to the summer of 2023, when I felt a strong nudge from within to sign up for a Sing the Body Electric workshop with sound healer Eileen McKusick and Australian Singer-Songwriters The Brothers Koren. It was three days of in-person singing, toning, and releasing sounds long-stored in the body within a supportive community of others daring to do the same thing. I had so much fun that weekend that I took The Brothers (Isaac and Thorald Koren) up on their invitation to enter into a 9-month intensive process with them called The Songwriter's Journey, which would lead to writing and recording at least two original songs.

When I said yes to this, it came from a deep knowing that I had to do this, even though a critical voice in my rational mind said, "What the hell do you think you are doing? This is indulgent and ridiculous for a 49-year-old mom. You're not a singer." And now, eight months into the journey, I've written over a dozen original songs and will be recording seven of them in early April 2024 to be released as my debut album in 2024, even though I had previously deemed myself no longer a singer.

One of the phases of the Songwriter's Journey is called "Daring to Suck." It's been transformative for my willingness just to let whatever is there come out of my mouth while suspending judgment and criticism. One practice is to use Voice Memo on your phone, sing whatever wants to come out, and then give it a name. Repeat as often as possible. This practice helped me move through my fear of failure and to play and take myself less seriously. As of today, I have 160 sound files in Voice Memo; some are snippets (aka downloads, see below), and others are versions of full songs that I keep refining before studio recording in April 2024.

The process to bring back and embody my voice from within has included what Isaac and Thorald Koren call the five stages or roles of the creative process. (This relates to song-writing, but it also has wider uses in other creative endeavors like innovation and new product development, etc.)

Here are the 5 stages/roles:

Downloading / The Download(er)

This is the wide open space from which a phrase or snippet of melody drops into your awareness, seemingly from nowhere. This phase requires receptivity and the willingness to listen for impulses that may be subtle or that get drowned out by a busy mind. It's been on outdoor walks with my dog in my neighborhood this winter, where many downloads have emerged into my conscious awareness. 

Sculpting / The Sculpter

The Sculpting phase is when you take the raw download and, with the curiosity of yes/and, start to put shape to the download. This phase might mean adding, trimming, cutting, and polishing. It's the iterative part of refining melody, wording, phrasing, and rhythm.

Framing / The Framer

The Framing phase gives structure to the downloaded and sculpted material. Here, you might ask:

  • What's the structure of the chorus, the verse?
  • How many sections will there be?
  • What's the melodic rhythm that was usually created by Thorald that I can then write lyrics into?
  • What else does this need?

Making / The Maker

The Making phase is getting it all done or complete, finishing the song. This could be writing the remaining lyrics within a given timeframe, like a few hours or for a weekend. Time pressure or at least focused attention helps at this stage. There were many songs where I finished the lyrics (rhymes and all) within a couple of hours, much to my amazement.

Curating / The Curator / The Critic

The last stage of Curating brings in the Curator and perhaps the constructive Critic. Only now (and not from the outset) is the Curator invited in to reflect on questions like:

  • Could this benefit from more shaping or different framing?
  • Is this any good?
  • What do I do with this?
  • Should I record this and put it on the album? 
  • What does someone else hear and feel when they listen to it?

What's genius about this five-step process is that the Download and the Sculpting happen without consulting the Curator or Critic. It feels like play rather than work. 

So why am I bothering to write this up and publish it in blog format? Because I believe in the power of sharing our stories in vulnerable and honest ways. No coach can take someone somewhere that they haven't been willing to visit in themselves. When I coach leaders, we go on a deep dive into their inner world to reclaim their authentic power from within. That's what I've been doing for myself with the support of my coaches (or voice coaxes, as they call themselves).

Once it's recorded and released, my album will be a polished product, but that doesn't mean the process to get there...

Who I Am and How I Can Help You coaching Mar 12, 2024

As an executive coach, I help leaders regain their power from the inside out. I am here to transform pain into power.

In 2014, after burning out after facing a major health crisis, I founded my consulting business as Adaptive Alternatives LLC. Almost a decade later, I realized that I am the face, brand, and heart of my company, so I updated my company name to Stephanie Freeth Coaching. My calling is to be so completely authentic that I inspire others to step into their own authenticity and life purpose and to unleash their full creative power an genius in the world.

In leadership and life, the inner game runs the outer game. When leaders learn who they are at their deepest core, the experiences they consciously create for themselves and others around them can drastically improve.

Since childhood, I have been driven by the question, “Why do people do what they do?” This question has led me to become a lifelong learner in a wide range of subjects, including trauma healing, leadership development, and quantum physics.

In my quest to heal the wounds, triggers, and blockages that led me to burnout and exhaustion, I have learned how to leverage my three centers of intelligence: IQ (intellect), EQ (emotional intelligence), and BQ (body intelligence). I teach people how to do the same for themselves in accordance with their unique needs and energy patterns.

Today I am also driven by the question, “How we as humans fulfill our highest potential so that we create a world we want to live in?"

I don’t coach at the surface. I accompany others into their depths to gain new awareness of what motivates them, what lights them up, and what derails them from living out their full potential. I’m not for everyone. My knowledge runs deep and wide. I will only share it with those who invite me to do so because they are ready for my guidance. I have immersed myself in traditional disciplines like business management, leadership development, and team communication. I also dove deep into fields that fascinated me, like trauma and the nervous system, somatic healing, quantum physics, the Enneagram, Quantum Human Design, sound healing, intuition, and channeling.

If you are considering working with me, it helps to know who I am and what I am here to be and do in the world.

 Who I am. What I am here to be and do.

  • I am here to transform pain into power. I use my ability to transform pain into growth and power to help others navigate through crisis and emerge empowered and aligned. 
  • I am an agent of change. My purpose in life is to share ideas and inspiration with others. I believe that when we change our internal landscape, the way we experience the world around us shifts. Internal change is what creates external shifts. The more people heal their divisions from within, the more we bring the change we want to see into our experience and the world.

Coaches can’t take people anywhere they haven’t been willing to go themselves. Because of that, I like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned and am still practicing as a way to share the type of growth experiences I bring to my work with clients.

How I Can Help You

  • I’m here to help leaders fulfill their purpose and potential. I accompany others into their depths to gain new awareness of what motivates them, what lights them up, what derails them from living out their potential.
  • I help leaders re-align their patterns. My insights and awareness give people the information they need to deepen their mastery and experience greater joy. 
  • I am an experienced, wise, and knowledgeable resource. I share my stories with others because my experiences open doorways of possibility for others.
  • My enthusiasm inspires others to trust in themselves and to take giant leaps in their growth.
  • I tune in with curiosity to possibility. I am inspired to explore new possibilities and potentials. I use the power of my thoughts to stretch the limits of what is known and engage my imagination to explore the potential of the unknown. My curiosity makes me a conduit of possibility thinking. I ask questions that stimulate imagination.
  • I see patterns that others don’t. Through observation and practice, I have a gift for seeing trees AND the forest. I can identify old patterns keeping people stuck.

If my story resonates with you, please reach out and let's chat more about how to turn on your full creative power from the inside out.