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"What Drives You to Pursue Your Dream and How Have You Tackled Adversity Along The Way?"

Sunday, July 01, 2012

As you all know I ran a contest a few weeks ago, asking you to tell me what you want my next blog to be about. The winner was Andrea Harkins Kelly! Here is what she wanted me to talk about:

“What Drives You to Pursue Your Dream and How Have You Tackled Adversity Along The Way?"

Gina Zavalis

I picked this topic because it applies not only to my music and my singing, but it also applies to ALL of us in our lives and our aspirations, no matter what they may be.

Brilliant!

Well, to all of you and Andrea, here is my story and my blog...

I kept reading this topic over and over again, meditating on it. Why? Because to be honest, I was trying to figure out when I developed "drive." Doing this little project didn't work because I discovered I always had drive. I’ve been singing on pitch since the age of 2 ½. Since early childhood, I always referred to myself as a singer. In my heart and in my head, I was never anything else. So, I’m pretty sure I was born with drive; motivation, determination and a very strong will to study, train hard and develop the gift God gave to me. This was very obvious as a young child – do you know a child who sings on pitch at 2-1/2 years old? This is something I was born with, therefore, a gift from God that should not be ignored in my humble opinion.

The drive was always there even though as a young child I didn’t identify it as "drive." I was always singing everything and anything – just ask my neighbors... even the people who lived down the block heard me! What can I say? I have a big mouth! My parents always took my sister and I to Broadway shows and I knew I'd be there one day, on stage. It was never a far-fetched dream or a question. It was a reality, something planted in me – I just knew. Now, as an adult, I consider that was God speaking and harvesting seeds in me when I growing up.

Gina Zavalis

Getting older... here comes the training. This was easy, as I had been literally begging my mother for voice lessons since the age of 5. I started training, very seriously at the age of 10 with a rigorous schedule. Simultaneously I was also chosen to perform in an elite children’s theatre group. I started with opera, musical theatre and the rest of the classics. I loved every minute. This enabled me to develop an extremely solid foundation. Now, because of this foundation, I can pretty much sing any genre. I’m not a one trick pony. I have a five-octave range and this is all due to my continual study combined with the gifts God gave me.

Training, training, training… hone that craft and gift!

By they way, I still take private voice lessons with the same teacher. She is retired now, but still gives me lessons. Lots of you ask me why I still train. I don't believe in not training, no matter how great you are. You change and mature and so does your instrument and how you play it – in my case, it's my voice. I'm always learning, tuning up and, believe it or not, increasing my range. I NEVER take it for granted. Why would you ever pass up on learning more, developing your gift and getting better?

So, I guess I can conclude that “drive” comes naturally to me.

Adversity

Gina Zavalis

No matter what we do in life, there will always be tests, always be someone or something in our life to try to tear us down, beat us up and try to make us fail.

Well guess what? WHO CARES? You must develop a skin so thick and strong and MUST have TUNNEL VISION and NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR GOALS. In other words, IGNORE THEM. Keep working hard; never lose sight of what you want or who YOU are. Work at your pace, not the pace of others who mean nothing to you or your career.

Once in awhile something amazing might happen in your career and all of a sudden the rug gets pulled from under you. So there you are, really upset and/or angry, trying to figure out why. When this happens, try to realize that there is a reason why this particular opportunity didn’t work out and there is something better for you waiting and it will appear when you are ready. HAVE FAITH!

NEGATIVITY – YUCK!

Ignore all negativity in all forms and all negative energy. Sure, this is much easier said than done, but you must do it if you are to achieve your goals and be all you can be.

Don’t let any distractions get in your way and handle every situation gracefully. In other words, don’t EVER ENGAGE IN THE DRAMA OTHER PEOPLE CREATE. This will only distract you from your hard work and achieving your goals and dreams. And, aren’t you better than that?

Adopt this attitude, stay positive, believe in yourself, keep studying, soak everything up like a sponge, connect with people who are legit and know your business well and build a team around you who have many years of experience and a resume with legit referrals to back it up.

Friends – Oh, our beloved friends. I learned that some of our most treasured people in our lives can also be the least supportive. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people who believe in you, support you and hit the ignore button on people who doubt you or don’t show support. If there are people in your life you can’t ignore who are discouraging and critical then keep your time with them in limited doses.

Like an amazing colleague and mentor of mine says, ”Focus and Finish.” I won’t let anyone tear me down or stop me. Why?

I WON'T ALLOW THEM TO

Gina Zavalis

Best of luck to all of you! Keep your eye on the prize, work insanely hard, never give up and keep your head high!

Thank you Andrea Harkins Kelly for the wonderful blog topic!!

Gina Zavalis is an iHeartRadio "New Discover & Uncover" Artist!