Scott Savage

empowering you with new perspective

08: Lessons from The Voice: Valerie Peterson

I love The Voice!

Valerie Peterson - The Voice

I used to watch American Idol, but only the first few weeks when the contestants were a train wreck and Simon Cowell was merciless. Over time, the show felt more and more tired. The Voice feels different. It has heart, passion and joy! From the blind auditions to the finale, I love every stage. Honestly, outside of sports, it’s the only TV I watch consistently.

Meet Valerie Peterson!

Today’s interview is my little connection to my favorite show! I want to introduce you to my friend, Valerie Peterson. I’ve known Valerie since we went to high school together in Las Vegas. Due to the beauty of Facebook, we’ve stayed in contact over the years. In her own words, Valerie is “a lover of that first sip of coffee, fresh air and clean sheets.  She’s The Voice’s very own soccer mom/Olivia Pope.”

Valerie Peterson

I’ve been so excited to see Valerie’s reflections on her work making one of my favorite TV shows, The Voice. For the last 9 seasons, Valerie has been the Contestant Manager for the Emmy-award winning hit show. (She’s currently filming season 10, while we all excitedly watch season 9.)

As I began brainstorming friends and acquaintances who possessed a unique perspective on fear, courage and hope, Valeria came to mind. While these are themes she has experienced herself, she also watches contestants battle these emotions on a daily basis. I was challenged by Valerie’s responses below and I know you will be too.

SS: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Valerie? What does fear most often look or sound like in your life?

VP: Thanks Scott! I’m really excited!

Fear in my life and the lives shared with me tends to be self doubt; the possibility of rejection and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to criticism is a scary thing for anyone.

Fear Cripples Us

SS: It is scary! I’m curious – how have you seen fear hamper a contestant’s ability to succeed?

VP: Fear as we know can be entirely crippling. I’ve seen artists presented with such incredible opportunities who wind themselves up so tightly with all of the ‘what-if’s’, the doubts and insecurities start to kick in, and they end up losing sight of what their goal is/ was to begin with, it’s a terrible form of self-sabotage. It’s one of the worst things to see first hand.

Is risk a thing of the past?

SS: That’s a great perspective – self-sabotage. I’m going to quote you in the future! Let’s talk about you for a minute. What has fear kept you from in your life?

VP: Well, I would like to think it hasn’t kept me from anything! But, wouldn’t we all?

Fear has most definitely kept me from pursuing my own dream. I think that there comes a certain point when we start to feel that taking risks is a thing of the past. That “living on the edge” was something you could do when you didn’t have the responsibilities that come with growing up– mortgages, health care, children, retirement, and they all come with a price and a sacrifice— and let’s be real here, those plans (not just things!) for the future are expensive!

I think fear has kept me at the same job (even though it’s great one!). I’m scared to leave a job that I can count on, with people who are so familiar, and in a routine that I know like the back of my hand because it’s stable. It’s safe. But at the end of the day, this isn’t what I want to be doing with the rest of my life.

If I could do anything, I would own and run a Bed and Breakfast. It’s a dream that I’ve had since I was twelve and someday, hopefully, I will. Truly, if fear wasn’t keeping me where I am, I’d probably be working somewhere that would have me on the right path.

**Cue two week notice!** ;))

Courage AND Persistence

SS: Haha! I promise – I won’t tell Mark Burnett! But seriously, thanks for being so honest. And let me know when you open that B&B – I’ll be a guest! I want to follow up on your answer. If you’ve battled fear in that way, what helped you become courageous in the face of fear? What do you see helping contestants?

VP: I take a lot of inspiration from the contestants and artists that I work with. After all, it takes a lot of courage to walk on to that stage and sing their heart out. For many of them, they’ve been hearing “no” for years: “you’re not quite what we’re looking for” or “you’re too old” or “you’re too young, we’re not really feeling your style.” It takes a lot of persistence and a LOT of courage to keep with it. The great thing is, just like we all have the similar doubts and fears, deep down we all have courage and it only takes a spark to light it on fire.

Is tomorrow an excuse?

SS: I totally agree. I think we have more courage inside us than we realize. You’ve seen a lot of contestants over 10 seasons at The Voice. How does a sense of hope move them forward?

VP: I think hope goes hand-in-hand with persistence. It’s the idea that even if things don’t go as planned today, we’ll get up and give it our all tomorrow and the next day and the next. Sooner or later things will work out. You just have to be conscious that you’re not leaning on tomorrow as an excuse for today.

SS: Valerie, you’ve shared so many great insights with us today! I know there are some people reading today who, like your contestants, are tightly-wound with fear. What would you say to encourage readers who are battling fear?

VP: I would say take a deep breath, breathe slowly and fully. I would also say smile because everything is going to be fine.

There’s an exercise that I learned for when you’re doubting yourself or could just use a little extra love – and I can’t take any credit for it. I learned it through a friend’s therapist and I absolutely love it – it’s called “Tooth Brush Love” and I share it with the artists from time to time. Every morning, while you’re brushing your teeth, think of the one thing you’d really like to hear someone say to you that day, like “Gosh, you’re brilliant” or “You look beautiful” or “Great job on that project!” Get that thought in your head and as soon as you spit out your tooth paste, look yourself right in the eye and say it out loud! Say it as many times as you want but make sure you HEAR it and let it sink in.

Valerie, thanks for sharing with us! You can check out The Voice on NBC. The end of Season 1o is coming soon! If you haven’t seen it, Jordan Smith gave an incredible performance this week that topped the charts on iTunes, with his rendition of Great is Thy Faithfulness.

If you’d like to connect with Valerie, you can find her on Facebook.

If you’d like to see other interviews in this Overcoming Fear series, click here.

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About Scott Savage

Thanks for reading! My name is Scott and I'm a writer and pastor. I live in Prescott, Arizona with my wife, Danalyn, (a lawyer) and our three kids, including a set of twins. You can follow me on Twitter (@scottsavagelive).

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