Now that all the holiday music is pretty much done, it's time to start getting ready for competitions,  NATS, MTNA, the Federation of Music Clubs and others all start their local, state, regional, and further competitions.  It is such a good thing for voice students to sing in competitions, not only because they measure themselves against others of their age or skill level, but because they sing for people who don't know them at all. 

Your own voice teacher is aware of how hard you do or do not work, s/he may sympathize with what you are up against in the working world of music, or s/he may be so frustrated with you that s/he has lost all sympathy -- in which case you probably need to be looking for another voice teacher or making plans to change how you're working on your voice.  When someone who has not heard you before hears you just that one time and gives you feedback on what you are and are not doing well on that particular day, it's about as honest as it can get.

Some students have the experience of reading a comment that changes their whole outlook on their singing.  It may be a familiar issue stated a different way, or it may be an entirely different point of view.

Some students have the experience of hearing other people say exactly what their own voice teacher has told them twenty times.  Sometimes when that happens, it finally makes a student want to change what s/he is doing and do what is suggested by the person they are paying for advice.  It's a lot harder to say that someone who's never seen you before "just doesn't like you" or "just won't understand what you want to do".  Reality is right there in front of you, and reality is actually more fun than fantasy land. 

Reality is where you decide what you're going to do, you figure out how to do it, and you get on the road going where you want to go.  Fantasy land is where you think a lot about where you want to go, but not about what it takes to get there.  I myself have a rich and full fantasy life in which my house fixes itself, and the trees in my yard move themselves to where I'd so like for them to be.  It doesn't get much done, but it is fun to contemplate -- preferably after making some actual progress toward what I really want to do. 

There's really not that much difference between yard work and learning to sing.  Basically you pick out somewhere to start, and you get to work on it.  When that's done, you admire it and then go on to the next project, while keeping an eye on what you've done so far, so that it doesn't devolve back to what it was before or into a pile of messy leaves.