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Observe: Compliance

Every day, we do things because they are expected. Because that is the way things are.

It is the rhythm of our society. One that many of us navigate with grace. Some types of compliance are necessary for the function, or safety, of society (the wearing of masks and social distancing to slow the spread of the pandemic comes to mind). But others can be a little, or completely, arbitrary.

I was thinking about this as I interacted with my kid this weekend. We’ve changed some house rules because their only purpose was to support a school day that no longer exists. This has caused a little confusion and there was an epic 10yo meltdown. I was a little taken aback at how quickly arbitrary, or situational, rules become canon law. It made me consider others in my daily routine. That was enlightening.

The problem with habitual compliance is that it enforces rote behaviors over thought and can ignore autonomy. Over time, this either wears down your autonomy or causes you to assert it in sometimes outlandish ways. Honestly, it takes only a cursory look around to see autonomy eruptions in our society right now. To be clear, I am not endorsing a breakdown of all norms. I would like people to consider the reasons why we do things and understand them.

Habitual compliance has another effect. It enables, or requires, one to regulate their breathing. It encourages you to hold your breath in order to clear the compliancy gate. Which is how we get here, dear reader. Because after my kid and I cleared the air this weekend we both just exhaled — literally. And that sensation felt completely familiar.

Today, I want you to consider any arbitrary compliance in your world. What are you doing, not because it serves you or a greater good, but just because? When was the last time you allowed yourself to decide in the moment? Are you breathing?

This Friday at 12:30 pm EDT, Gina will be live on FB. These will be short voice alignment sessions aimed at voice skills building. Watch it on the GROW Voice FB page. I hope to see you there.

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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