There’s something you might not know about me. In fact, if we didn’t go to high school or college together, there’s a good chance you have no idea about it.
I’m a classically trained vocalist.
I don’t get the chance to sing in front of people very much anymore. When I do, it’s at church and I keep the opera tucked away.
But, back in the day, I sang in a whole bunch of choirs and ensembles. I even performed in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas (I was the lead in H.M.S. Pinafore…I was 17 and the male lead was 12…ahem).
I exaggerate not when I say that, for a good long time, singing and performing was my whole life.
My senior year, I competed at Solo and Ensemble. If you aren’t familiar with it, Solo and Ensemble is akin to the auditions on American Idol, complete with a Simon Cowell type. A singer or duo, et al, enter a small room and sing two songs for a few judges. Then, the judges, well, they judge the singing. The pitch, rhythm, breath, and on and on. Then, the waiting begins. Waiting to learn what rank the singer earned. 4 is bad. So bad. 3 is eh. 2 is good. 1 is close to perfection.
My senior year in high school I received a 1 for my solo performance.
Not only did I get a medal, I qualified to compete at the State level.
Sadly, I didn’t go to the next level. I declined.
Because I was afraid. I didn’t think I could compete and that I’d fail.
Friends, I regret that. I wish I would have at least tried.
Fast forward to today. Now I’m a writer (um…I know…obvious). Recently, I entered Paint Chips in a contest that will, I believe, include a rating from the judges (I just hope that the Simon Cowell types aren’t on the docket). It’s a risk.
My entire career is one big risk after another.
I could write a novel that will never be published. Maybe one of my novels will flop completely. Someone might tear apart one of my books in the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. One of these days, I might run dry of ideas. Risk. Risk. Risk.
But I’m not going to pass on the chance I have to keep writing. I’m going after it. And, if I fail, well, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll just try again. And again. Even when it’s scary.
And you, my friends, you have something to do. I don’t know what it is. Maybe you’re a teacher or an accountant, serving others. Or you work retail, dealing with grumpy guses all day. Perhaps you stay home with your kids, working endless hours and getting paid in hugs and sloppy kisses (I held down that gig for a few years…it wasn’t all that bad). Maybe you’re writing something that is burning inside you and you don’t know if it will ever be seen by eyes other than your own.
Can I just give you a gentle nudge? Go for it. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. You have something wonderful to offer. And we need you in this world. We do.
Don’t give up.
Even when it’s scary.
I promise you this: if you give it your all, you’ve already succeeded. And, in my heart, you’re a hero.
“Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill
What is it that you’re pressing on to do? What keeps you going? What would happen if you gave up? Have you ever passed on a great opportunity?