Highlights with Mandy Harvey, author, award-winning singer and songwriter, and motivational speaker:
Many people struggle to live out their dreams when they have a physical or mental limitation- especially if that limitation is aligned with their primary passions. The truth is that ordinary people do extraordinary things, but it takes:
-The willingness to try
- There is no doubt that to try and do what you have to do is so much harder than giving up. However, whatever your loss is, it is just a chapter of your story- not your whole life.
- Everyone’s reality of struggle is different and very personal. No matter what it is, there is always a way to go farther and be stronger than your circumstances.
-Community and support
- It’s common to take the ugly, undesirable pieces of our life and hide them away. The beauty of life is that those pieces are valuable, and people that you can share those parts with are indispensable.
- Consistent support is vital to any personal journey. There will be failure, but we need to keep cheering ourselves and others on every single time we get back up and try something new.
- Not everyone will give support in the way that we need it. You have complete power over which voices are made loud or quieted in your life.
-What you feed your mind
- “You can only be what you are willing to try.” much of what fuels this are the people you are with, and what you are feeding your soul.
-Creating with what you have, to go where you want
- A dream is not immortal and just because you face alterations in the “grand plan” of achieving our goals, it does not mean that you let go of your values and your ability to succeed.
“Going through any kind of loss and continuing to walk forward, you can allow the situation to eat you alive, or you can allow it to help you grow stronger.”
[00:27] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host Kevin Miller and today I bring you a special treat.
[00:34] Chances are you’ve seen the blockbuster show, America’s Got Talent. And if so, you may have seen Mandy Harvey, the incredible singer who is, deaf. Talk about an overcoming, inspiring story! She was in college pursuing a vocal music education degree, then lost her hearing. She left the program to pursue other career options, but later returned to music. There is a great story on what led to that. Fast forward to America’s Got Talent where she reached the finals and was Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer Winner, and in addition, CNN’s Great Big Story captured over 10 million hits on social media, Burt’s Bees signed her up for their “Remarkable Women” campaign, NBC Nightly News profiled her, and she has started performing at the world’s most prestigious clubs, concert stages and festivals.
[01:28] Now in addition to her recording career, live performances, and inspirational speaking, Mandy has just released her first book title; Sensing The Rhythm, Finding My Voice In a World Without Sound and it’s a message of helping others to realize their dreams and pursue their hopes. As an Ambassador for No Barriers USA, she travels the country to heighten awareness, break down blocks, challenge stereotypes, and lead the charge toward a brighter future for all.
[01:55] In this show we talk about her, her story and her message. Connect with her at www.mandyharveymusic.com, where you can also get her new book ‘Sensing The Rhythm, Finding My Voice In a World Without Sound’
[03:27] Ok friends, here I bring you…Mandy Harvey!
[03:33] Mandy, as I mentioned in an email, while we don’t have TV at home, we love great performances and have watched plenty of America’s Got Talent. We were just blown away by your performance and massively inspired by you and your story, so when it was proposed we have you on The Ziglar Show, it was an immediate yes and I just have to say…I’m honoured, and my kids think I’m the coolest to be interviewing you!
[04:02] That’s really funny, I also don’t have T.V., so I’ve never even seen the show before joining it. So I kind of probably a similar feeling of that one but you tell your kids ello and thank you for cheering me on.
[04:43] So you have a personal testimony to Zig Ziglar and his goal setting…will you share it with us?
[04:54] Yeah of course my really good friend his name is Carl and I was sending out messages on social media a couple years ago saying that I had so many goals and things that I wanted to do. I just was having a really hard time organizing it and Carl saw it and he has a friend of mine and he’s been through the Zig Ziglar program along with my other friend Sandra Perkins and he said you know what you know I’ve been through the school setting similar I would love to sit down with you and help you to create a clan, so that you can execute things and and get organized, so that you can actually get these goals done and I was like fantastic. So we sat down and was just sort of going through all the things that I really wanted to do, all of the different nonprofit organizations that I wanted to be a part of and through that kind of friendship and creating an action plan we became even closer friends. And now he is actually my business partner. So it’s just kind of a funny roundabout thing but that’s definitely the thing that really brought us together to really accomplish goals was the Zig Ziglar program.
[06:46] As you well know, the vast majority of people faced with a limitation, struggle due to it, not thrive. Even more so when that limitation falls directly in line with their primary desire. You love music, and lose your hearing. When you look back, why do you feel you did…overcome? Rise above it, instead of being overcome by the reality?
[07:24] I think it’s a very difficult question because I feel as if for a while I did give up you know I am not the kind of person who goes around saying that when the varsity came knocking on my door, I kept a smile on my face and I never gave up and I never lost hope. I very much lost hope and I very much did give up and the difference is that I refused to stay there for the rest of my life and I think that’s a really difficult step to take. I described the whole experience for me personally it felt like I fell down a well and I smashed into the bottom and it’s dark down there and I couldn’t see any light earning hope or any happiness from any direction just the ground and I sat there for a very long time until I got frustrated with the fact that if I sit here, if I never get out that I never tried again and this is my reality for the rest of my life. And I can get up and struggle and fail and get out and struggle and fail at least the scenery will change and something good might happen. And so I had a lot of people around me who pushed me to get back up for, people who encouraged me to believe in myself even when I had given up and they were cheering me on every step of the way and crying with me every failure and I am really do believe that it was a combination of just sheer stubbornness and inability to just have a stagnant lifestyle, mixed in with my faith, mixed in with my family and my friends who just never gave up on me.
[09:54] You state in your book that you believe due to your hearing loss and this challenge, you are better off than you’d have been without the loss. Why?
[10:31] Yeah honestly I don’t even think about you know the benefits of it, affecting my career or anything like that. I’m clearly just I’m just talking about how it’s changed me as a person. It’s made me a lot more empathetic, it’s made me look at people in a entirely different way, it’s made me more aware of the limitations but also how much of those limitations I am setting on myself and you know what is and is not possible, it’s sometimes the difference between what you’re afraid of and what you’re not and you know once you smack down on the floor hard enough you look around and when you see people who have been through the same pain or been through similar trauma you have some commonality there that you just instantly bonded and you talk to each other on a different level. I am a lot more invested and encouraging other people and I’m not crippled by fear of talking to others like I was before you know losing my hearing was always my biggest fear and when that happened I thought that it was going to destroy me and it didn’t and now I kind of evaluate things differently of what’s the worst that can happen, what’s the worst that can happen with opening my mouth and singing a song. Some people don’t like it, who cares you know that’s not going to destroy me the way that I thought hearing loss would and it hasn’t. So it’s really just made me a stronger person but I appreciate music for more, appreciate people more, I appreciate life more just just going through any kind of loss and continuing to walk forward, you can’t allow the situation to eat you alive or you can allow it to help you to grow stronger and to grow.
[16:22] You give an analogy that intrigued me…you cited your Grandmama sewing and from it you said “The biggest problem we face in trying to stitch together a life is that we’re often handed an ugly piece we don’t like, never wanted and wish we could get rid of, but we can’t.” It feels you are saying, why we might lament that, “Woes me, this piece is just my lot in life”, that we can keep that unwanted piece in our lives, but still do a lot with it. Not denying it, but amidst it?
[17:15] It’s a beautiful thing I think the ugly pieces, I really do feel like the society is telling us these days that everything needs to be picture perfect and the parts that don’t fit that mould you should kind of hide under a rug and and never let it open into the full head. I really feel that’s a huge mistake. Those broken pieces the ones with the little bird edges or the ones that are fraying apart that look horrifying, they’re the ones that have the ability to shape and mould you into a stronger person, they’re the ones that create situations that you have to you know buck up and get past and grow from and they are kind of the badges of honour in certain terms. Just because they’re ugly and you’re you’re not happy with how things turned out it doesn’t mean that there can’t be so much information and knowledge that came from those experiences and I would really love for that to change because there’s nothing wrong with failing at something. It just means that you need to do it differently, you know failure is a beautiful opportunity it doesn’t have to be something that’s just an embarrassment.
[18:42] You say…“You only become what you are willing to try.” Ridiculously simple, but how many people have a desire or even idea of something they’d like to become or even just be able to do…but simply won’t or haven’t tried. With all your experience in America’s Got Talent and No Barriers, what are your thoughts on why some people are more prone to try than others? Are they too ignorant to know maybe they can’t, or high self confidence…what do you see overall?
[19:34] I think it’s a couple of different things for different people. I mean I’m certainly I’m aware of a couple of people who do things just out of blatant arrogance, am surrounded by those kinds of people all the time are just like wow you are really confident and I’m not sure what but I think for me it depends on who’s on your team, who you’re surrounding yourself with, who Is is filling parts of your life you know when you surround yourself with negativity and you surround yourself with people who don’t believe in you and who are very pessimistic or you know are constantly reminding you that you’re not as good as other people you know and you start to believe them and those voices become very significant, but you know if you surround yourself by people who are willing to push past those barriers who are willing to grab hold of your hand and do this journey with you and cheer you on and laugh with you when you fall, I think that changes the game quite significantly.
[24:55] Do you find with people encountering a significant hardship that those usually come and exist as a “trinity” in essence, or do people tend to embrace one of those specifically?
- Willing to try
- What you
[25:57] It’s the hard road that’s the unfortunate aspect of it too. it’s really easy to give up, it’s really easy to sit on the floor and to not do anything is a really high difficult decision to get up off the floor and to take those painful steps forward and it’s a matter of are you willing to do it, are you willing to put in the work, are you willing to struggle and is it worth it to you. And for me you know I’m with the easy group for a very long time but I just got so tired of that being the end of my story, it couldn’t be the end of my story, it was just the beginning and I needed to see it as just the beginning and have a future ahead of me not knowing where I was going necessarily, not knowing what I was going to do or what it was going to look like but losing my hearing losing my hearing and being a music education, whatever your loss is is not the end of your story. It’s just one chapter, it’s just one piece on a giant quilt of your life.
[27:20] You wanted to become a music education major / music teacher. That was your dream. And it died. From that you say you learned…that no dream is immortal. That doesn’t sound like an inspiration speech. Tell us the upside to that statement?
[28:17] I made a serious mistake, I had been identified. My entire being my entire identity was wrapped into one singular dream and when that dream died and it really did, I mean there was a funeral I buried it we moved on and I died with it. Because I had told myself that I was incapable of anything else other than this and that I was not worth anything other than this and I let it swallow me completely and I put that dream to rest. I am not going to become a music educator I am not going to be a music teacher teaching at a college with my own students and being able to listen in craft and create and change people’s voices and think that’s gone I’m never going to revive that you know like we we did the C.P.R. and and electroshock does much as possible that sucker’s dead, they didn’t come in back but you know at the core of what I wanted to do it was be involved with music. And so boiling it down and I created a new dream.
[30:40] I’m interested in a statement you made, “People who have survived and overcome catastrophic experiences always have one thing in common: a turning point. Which conversely means those that do NOT overcome, do not experience that turning point. In your work with people, do you find yourself trying to awaken and inspire them to a “turning point” experience?
[31:27] I think that we do it for each other you know I am not a completely fixed person. I still have a lot of pain and a lot of things that I’m struggling with and a lot of fear and a lot of demons that engulfed my every day and it’s boiling it down to being honest to say hey I’m struggling here. I’m going to be open and honest about it and you’re struggling here and you’re being open and honest about it. Let’s talk to each other like real people even though it’s an awkward conversation and let’s push each other to not just give up and I don’t want to hold you accountable to it and I want you to hold me accountable to it. So it’s not just let me just tell you how to get better and three simple steps you know everybody’s simple steps are very different and I think it’s just saying that pain is real and your pain is valid and let’s just be honest about what’s going on and just because it’s messy and it’s sticky and it’s horrible doesn’t mean that I don’t care and I don’t want to be there to watch it, you know I think that it’s just getting past it holding each other’s hands.
[33:10] You cite “dream thieves” and interestingly tell stories of some of yours coming from the deaf community. Instead of applauding you, they accused you of not embracing your deafness and the deaf culture rather than trying to escape it. Again, from all your own experience and in walking with so many others, how prevalent do you find this…that often the people around you, often the closest, are the ones you don’t get support from. And how debilitating that can be to us.
[34:19] I mean it’s just a toughie, I think that it’s for me personally I mean I’ve hit this wall a lot of different times and I have found that the loudest voices sometimes or the smallest ones. Of course with my experiences with the deaf community I am embraced a lot by a lot of the deaf community, I have a lot of beautiful friends and learning to communicate like right now we’re having a conversation and everything is being typed out by a beautiful person that I can’t see through you know through my computer. But I have very much embrace the fact that I can’t here and I love my life and so everybody lives their life differently. And the criticism comes from people who are are generally dealing with something in their own life you know a lot of the times it’s because they can’t get past a barrier or they’re angry about something or you know that’s what I have found by. I think the point of it is that these voices are going to come and sometimes they come from the people that you want to trust the most and that makes it even more difficult but you have to assess what you’re taking in and say you know what I got what you’re saying but no and take it out of of the equation of how you’re going to keep going forward.
[37:40] I wonder if the real issue is ‘gimmick’ – a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business. This is what advertising does. We watch and listen to ads that are 99.9% gimmick. Often having nothing to do with the product. It’s to get us to pay attention. And hopefully…partake. Once we do, the value is what matters and people keep partaking or not. So if being a deaf singer gets you more attention…great. The only reason you have a book deal and record deals, live performances and speaking gigs is because once you got attention and people partook, you held water. I’d then say being attractive is a gimmick, as if you take a swath of any 20 male or female music artists, the majority would be considered attractive by anyone. Does that mean attractive singers sing better? No, they get more attention. Hate it, but we all do it. Nobody goes to buy an ugly house or car…
[39:36] You know it’s kind of an interesting way to look at it, for me I’ve never even thought about it that hard you know I didn’t choose to lose my hearing but it is who I am. I am a profoundly deaf person and being a profoundly deaf person, I’m also a musician and I’m also a friend, so you know this in this and that. I don’t necessarily see it as a label that I’m wearing from day to day, it’s just like in my mind in my eyes I’m a musician first and foremost you know and just because I have to do things a different way. It barely even crosses my mind.
[47:12] If you listened through without smiling and believing in more for yourself…please check your pulse. Again, Conect with Mandy at http://www.mandyharveymusic.com/, where you can also get her new book ‘Sensing The Rhythm, Finding My Voice In a World Without Sound’. Coming up next in show 544 we go behind the scenes with Mandy to hear her daily habits for success, following the 7 spokes in the Ziglar Wheel of Life. Some interesting highlights: To battle her connective tissue disorder and resulting bad joints and ligaments, she must work out 60 minutes per day to gain muscle. She travels so much right now she’s often only home 4 days a month, so she has to be ultra intentional in scheduling time with friends and family. She works on her music 40-70 hours per week. Her faith is the most important thing in her life but with her schedule and pace she struggles to spend time in her bible and at church. The pace has often had her only sleeping 4 hours per night so she’s really had to dig into time management. Personally, she loves fishing and calls her family “grocery fishermen” because they fish to eat. Again, just super, super interesting and inspiring. So till then…