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But:  this ain’t gonna be that kind of 12-Step Program

The New Year is just around the corner and setting goals is a common endeavor (maybe even torture) for many of us.   But New Years’ Resolutions rarely bring about the desired effect – to permanently change some kind of behavior.

I know this.  You know this.

Yet, here it is December 30th and I’m thinking about next year.  Let’s see, will I commit to getting more exercise (how many times has that been on the list) or losing a few pounds (yup, that one’s been there for the past few years too) or eating healthier, eating less sugar (sorry to say this goal has showed up too often without a good outcome)?  And yet, I do this to myself each year right about now–look at the weak areas in my life, create a wish list and hope that they in fact get resolved.

It appears that 40 – 45% of us set at least one New Year’s goal.  However, according to a study by author and psychologist Richard Wiseman, not many of us keep our resolutions past January. His research found that 52 percent of resolution-makers were confident that they’d achieve their goals, yet only 12 percent actually succeeded.

What is the secret behind those who succeed versus those who don’t? It appears that those who take meaningful steps to achieve their resolutions — setting step-by-step goals or telling their friends and family of their intentions, for example — were far more likely to achieve their desired change than those who made no specific commitments.  Those who worked within a group system (letting natural group dynamics generate motivation) succeeded more than those who worked alone.

So, what are the programs that really do help people make life-transforming permanent changes?

Twelve-Step Programs provide a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. As summarized by the American Psychological Association, the process involves the following:

  • Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion;
  • Recognizing a higher power that can provide strength;
  • Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
  • Making amends for these errors;
  • Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior.

The 12 steps first appeared in 1939 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. These 12 steps became the guiding spiritual principles for recovery from alcoholism which members of Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) use.

Today, 12-Step programs are quite ubiquitous and include (short list):

AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics
Al-Anon/Alateen, for friends and family members of alcoholics
CA – Cocaine Anonymous
CoDA – Co-Dependents Anonymous, for people working to end patterns of dysfunctional relationships and develop functional and healthy relationships
DA – Debtors Anonymous
GA – Gamblers Anonymous
NA – Narcotics Anonymous
OA – Overeaters Anonymous
SA – Smokers Anonymous
SLAA – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
WA – Workaholics Anonymous
WA – Workaholics Anonymous

What might your program to discover/uncover your true feminine voice look like?  What one-step-at-a-time program would finally give you the voice you want?

But, this ain’t gonna be that kind of 12-Step Program.

I’ve organized your 12-step program so you can easily and simply complete one step each month.

Those of you who have worked with Fundamentals of Your Feminine Voice or Beyond the Fundamentals, already have an understanding of the “Nine Elements of an Exceptional Feminine Voice.” I’ve added three more elements for a total of twelve.

Each month I’m going to walk hand-in- hand with you through these steps.  I’ll provide practical, easy-to-use strategies and techniques for each of the elements.  It is the mastery of these elements that will finally help you sound like the woman you are.

The 12 Steps to Sounding

Step 1 January:  Feminine Posture       — long, lean and elegant is always feminine!

Step 2 February:  Belly Breathing       – where it all begins, air is power.

Step 3 March:     Pitch                           –getting into the right neighborhood.

Step 4 April:        Voice Quality             -–a little hoarse is not a little pony.

Step 5 May:         Loudness                 – can you hear me now?

Step 6 June:             Resonance   – what divides the women from the men.

Step 7 July:               Articulation    – no more mumble jumble.

Step 8 August:          Phrasing       – the first of the supra-segmentals of speech.

Step 9 September: Pacing (tempo)  – not too fast, not too slow, just right.

Step 10 October:      Melodic Intonation – gliding up then stepping down.

Step 11 November: Fluency          – smoothly flowing like golden honey.

Step 12 December: Transfer of Learning – bringing it all together.


On second thought, maybe the original 12-Step Program does offer something for us.  Let’s take a closer look at their ‘guiding spiritual principles.’

  • Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion

“Hi, I’m Michelle and I’m powerless over my voice.”  Ok, this has some potential.   Because, isn’t there some truth in it?  You have tried and tried to create a feminine voice, but you’re not there yet. You’ve hit the wall.  If you’re reading this, you may be powerless over your voice and you need a program of discovery.

  • Recognizing a higher power that can provide strength

What is the source of your inspiration? Where do you find the motivation to practice day after day?  What inner resource do you call upon to help you persevere in this difficult and long process?

  • Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member)

Past errors!  Wrong directions!  Heading south when your direction is true north!  There are techniques, exercises and strategies that work, and those that don’t.  Usually a qualified person (your speech pathologist/voice feminization specialist) can show you what you’re doing wrong and can direct you to the approach that works.

  • Making amends for these errors

Making amends might look like self-forgiveness.  Developing acceptance, self-love and a gentle, loving manner of working with your voice will absolutely move you in the right direction.

  • Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior.

This guiding principle of a 12-Step program is also what we’re all about!  You must develop a new set of vocal behaviors that you can use everyday of your life!

A year through the steps!

You can and will sound feminine with a clear step-by-step program and the care and loving support of your sisters who journey with you.

Don’t be like Coop (see the little kitty photo above).  There is no rescue party.  You are it!

Just us

One year

One small step at a time.

Next year at this time you can be right here again–wishing, hoping, yet not taking action. Or you can finally get to work and make this year’s resolution a reality.

Are you with me?

Think about what  we might be able to accomplish together!!

I’d love to hear from you.

Keeping you and your voice close to my heart,


Denver, Colorado

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Mastery Musings®

My friend and colleague, Nancy Noonan, has devoted much of her life and work to exploring the elements of Mastery. She knows from experience, observations and study that as a whole, people feel better about the life they are living and the work they are doing when they take the initiative to bring excellence and mastery into their experiences. She says, “When we feel better about what we are doing, our internal engines prod us to do more of that. So, excellence begets excellence and Mastery begets Mastery.”

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I thought her newsletter article, Mastery Musings® would be valuable to you, my dear readers.  You are all quite aware of the challenges you face each and every day in shaping your voice into the beautiful feminine sound that speaks clearly the essence of your beautiful feminine self. These few simple tips might make all the difference in your outlook about how you’re going about mastering your voice.

I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice.

Erich Fromm

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Here are Nancy’s thoughts….

Why Mastery?

As I describe in my new book, Stepping Stones to Success, (co-authored with Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield), Mastery has a number of components; its own stepping stones. These can be understood through a basic formula:

Mastery = Skills + Knowledge + Excellence

Put simply, Mastery occurs when you use your honed skills and knowledge to continually achieve excellence in your goals and in your areas of focus. I first began thinking about Mastery during the years I was teaching art history college courses. As I taught about the artists and their work, I realized that the people we think of today as the “Master Artists” didn’t start out that way. Each of them started out at his or her own beginning. They then applied the formula of Mastery to develop their own styles and abilities to ultimately produce the works we all now call “masterpieces.” And with each and every one of these works, they began with a blank canvas or a block of stone. So it is for us.

Every day, every project, every challenge begins with a blank canvas. It’s up to us to make of it what we will.

Steps and Stephen Covey

I often talk about the steps and elements that the Masters used that can help us create our own “masterpieces” in our lives and work. Although I’m a huge proponent of mindfully focusing on the “now,” I also suggest we pay heed to one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People: Start with the End in Mind. At the risk of sounding a bit macabre, I advocate that we think of the end of our lives NOW. Think of the end of your life while you’re in the midst of living it. Picture looking back on your life and ask ! yourself, “What do I want to see?” A life where nothing much happened, a life built on mediocrity and just getting by? Or . . . do I want to see a life where I consciously did things to create excellence and Mastery? A life with gallery after gallery of one life “masterpiece” after another of my own making? . . . Which would feel better to you in the end?

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Let’s look more carefully at Nancy’s formula.

Mastery = Skills + Knowledge + Excellence

In a recent post Points of Interest: 3 important mile markers along your voice feminization journey, we discussed the three phases of learning.  Applying Nancy’s formula you can achieve mastery with your  voice by looking at it this way:

Skills: The Nine Elements of an Exceptional Feminine Voice©. After working with each element (pitch, quality, loudness, resonance, etc) individually as you have in Early Phase and Middle Phase learning exercises, you’re now ready to focus on the integration of your skills at the conversational level.  How do you do this?  Warm-up first (for about ten minutes), then read a simple paragraph from a magazine or the newspaper, then record yourself saying a sentence or two about what you’ve just read.  When listening to your recording, it’s critical to assess both your achievement in each element and the whole sum of the parts–how your voice sounds at a conversational level.


Knowledge: An early phase component where  you need to:

  1. Understand the mechanics of the skill
  2. Be clear about what approach you’re going to use to train your voice.  The Beyond the Fundamentals audio program provides an advanced set of tools and techniques to help you master your voice.
  3. Create a daily plan for your practice time.


Excellence: Your daily practice routine will determine the level of excellence you ultimately achieve.


Mastery: Your grand vision is achieving a natural, beautiful feminine voice.

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Let’s look at Nancy’s other point:

Start with the End in Mind.

What do you want your life to look like?  To be like? To feel like?  And what are you willing to do each and every day to manifest that?!  You are exceptional, you can and will master your voice.  Do a little something every day to make bring that dream to fruition.

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Eight Simple Steps to Get You Started!

Do you know where your voice is?

There are times in our lives when we are faced with a truth we can no longer deny or evade:  we’re lost and we can’t find our way.

Whether you’re lost in the actual geographic sense–you can’t find your doctor’s office, you got lost on your way to your friend’s new home–or ….

… in the career sense–you don’t know what you’re going to do when you grow up (even if you’re forty), you can’t seem to find a direction in your life–or…

…you want to find your feminine voice and you have no earthly idea where it could be….

Oh, where or where has my fem voice gone, oh where or where can she be?

Is your current path leading you to your feminine voice?

The concept of true north is having a reference point, a point on the globe or in time and space from where all other places can be referenced. In this blog, we’ll explore 8 simple steps you can take to orient yourself and begin your journey.

Every journey begins with the first step.

Step 1:

Know where you are.  In the vast array of female voices, how does yours measure up?  Is your voice too deep in pitch?  Is the resonance just not right? Do you have a frequency tuner?  If not, then you must get one. I like this model–Boss TU-80–it’s inexpensive and user friendly. Or, you might try a free tuner download like the one from Seventh String.

Step 2:

Be strategic. The secret to finding your feminine voice is having a strategy (or two or three or twenty).  Your journey must have methodical and strategic steps to take you to your goal. Any of the successes we’ve achieved in life have usually been planned.  Without the guidance from a qualified professional, like a speech-language pathologist/voice feminization specialist, you may waste a lot of your valuable resources on approaches that don’t work.  Before you spend a cent, do a thorough investigation of all your options, make a plan for your vocal journey, ask your friends what they did (which is much better than asking them what you should do). Learn about the nine elements of an exceptional feminine voice, create a budget for your voice therapy, and most importantly, try to relax into the process.  A relaxed heart and soul is more open to learning.

Step 3:

Learn to deconstruct the human voice into its components parts.  In my professional and clinical experience, you must learn the difference between pitch, voice quality, loudness, resonance, etc. My audio program (please see the bottom of this page for more details) and other training programs (VFT-voice feminization therapy, 120-Day Challenge) provide all the information and exercises to make you independent with your training regimen.

Step 4:

Develop a system for measuring your progress.  Are you recording and listening to yourself?  I mean, really listening?  I know it’s awful, at first to hear the sound of your own voice, and it’s nearly

impossible to know what you’re listening for, but with help, you’ll learn to discern the specific elements that make up a voice, and you’ll need a reliable means of recording your voice.

In your ongoing endeavor to feminize your voice, you must have a method whereby you record and listen to your voice on a weekly basis—daily is too much, monthly is too little. These voice logs become a wonderful witness of your progress.  You could also use your iPhone or Android or Blackberry to record your voice. Make a recording of your voice while you read a simple paragraph from the newspaper or a magazine. It’s good to have this baseline.

After you’ve worked on your voice for six months, record yourself again and compare the two.  You’ll be amazed.

Step 5:

Have clear and obtainable goals and expectations. Many people drive themselves crazy with unrealistic goals and expectations.  Changing your voice is going to take time and a lot of work.  I tell most of my patients to expect it to take six months to one year (at least) to make the changes they want to their voices. You are looking for authenticity, right? Let’s face it, you didn’t enculturate the way you currently speak over night and you won’t become the woman you image yourself to be in a few weeks or months (although some people I’ve worked with have, urgh!).  People for the most part respond very well to having a clear idea about where they’re going.

Step 6:

Find support. This step is essential. The 120-Day Challenge program I developed creates a kind of vocal sorority where the ladies in the course support each other over a four month period of time.  Some girls have created lasting friendships.  Isn’t that really necessary?  It’s difficult traveling this path alone.  So, develop a support system of girls who are working to improve themselves and their voices and help each other out.

Step 7:

Nurture yourself and your voice. It’s very important to understand that your voice is like your own personal musical instrument–what happens to your body, how you feel in your heart and soul and what you’re thinking in your mind can and does affect your voice.  If you’re sick (with a cold for example), if you’re angry, elated or even distracted, your voice will tell on you.  Care for your voice by effectively treating any medical problems (such as allergies or acid reflux) that affect your voice. Don’t clear your throat (seriously, don’t), drink plenty of water, and for goodness sakes, get a good night sleep.  And be kind to yourself.  Try to set aside judgments and harsh criticism of yourself as you’re developing your soon to be amazing feminine voice.  Hey, why not have a love affair with your voice and while you’re at it, try loving yourself.

Step 8:

Have an exit strategy. Be clear about your expectations so you know when you’ve arrived! We all go into new endeavors with high hopes and soaring motivation and some of us keep going and forget to notice or are too critical to appreciate that we’re arrived at our destination.  If you are regularly practicing your exercises and recording yourself you’ll know.  Try to intuit when enough is enough.

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30-Day Crash Course

Fundamentals of Your Feminine Voice

Beyond the Fundamentals 1: the next dimension

Learn more about the 30-Day Crash Course

DOWNLOAD “Beyond the Fundamentals” MP3 program NOW! CLICK ON the link below.

DOWNLOAD “Fundamentals of Your Feminine Voice” MP3 program NOW! CLICK ON the link below.