26th February, 2014
“Here’s the secret to success: find something you love to do so much, that you can’t wait for the sun rise to do it all over again!” Chris Gardner, author of The Pursuit of Happyness.
It took me a long time to work out what I loved doing. For a long time, my head was very full of what I thought I should be doing. I worked incredibly hard doing what I thought the world expected me to do. I worked in areas where I had the skills but not so much the passion. I also struggled through the endless list of tasks and jobs that I have had to do to make ends meet.
Every now and then though, I got a break and I got to do the things that I loved the most; acting and writing…and generally creating.
But it never lasted for very long. Mainly because I was my own worst enemy. It wasn’t that I couldn’t act or write or create. I could. It was that I was quick to put everyone else’s needs before my own. I found myself saying things like, “Oh I can’t take that role, because I would need to move interstate, and I can’t do that.” “Oh no, I don’t have the time to write a noel, I’ll just stick to the short stories.” “I can’t attend the audition, because I have a baby.” “No I can’t take that role because I have a shift at my day job…as a waitress.” Really, it was more like, I can’t take that next step, because I might fail. I was shit scared that I might not be good enough. What if someone tells me I can’t act? What if someone tell’s me I can’t write?
I don’t think I am alone.
I know so many people who are incredibly creative and talented. They are artists and entrepreneurs in their own right, teachers, public speakers, performers, filmmakers, authors, business gurus, singers, doctors…the list goes on. Many of them only get so far and then it’s as if someone has popped that bubble of enthusiasm inside their hearts. POP! Everything deflates and all of a sudden it’s too hard, there were more important and responsible things to do. All of a sudden someone questioned their ability to do that thing that they loved, and they believed them. They stayed small.
I think that the secret to success is about finding that one thing you love beyond anything in the world, but also about backing yourself 100%. Be your own number one fan. So when people question your ability or your motives, or wonder why you are not living your life to a certain formula, or are just plain mean, you can stand your ground and stick up for yourself.
I think we are given a taste of this as we go through adolescence. Amongst all of the other body/brain/hormone changes, we find ourselves thinking differently from our parents, often for the first time. As teenagers we struggle to forge our own identify; our own lives. Sometimes the energy and passion behind our ability to be who we want to become can be frightening. But we don’t back down. It’s as if this energy to achieve something great, and to become someone great, drives us on. No matter how frightened we are. It teaches us confidence in ourselves, and in our emerging ideas and abilities.
Instinctively, as teenagers, we surround ourselves with like minded friends, who cheer us on and are passionate about similar things. They are there to congratulate us, to chat endlessly on the phone into the night about what we love most. They are their when we fall over and know how to pick us up and keep us going.
My best friend would drag me out of bed, make me get dressed and drag me back to my acting class. She was also the first one to read my stories and poems, and who stood on the side of the stage the first time I sang (shakily) and performed (forgetting half my lines), clapping me on, with a huge smile on her face.
So here’s my recipe for success:
- Find that one thing that you love, more than anything. It doesn’t matter if you don’t earn a living from it yet. But get really clear about that thing that makes you want to get up in the morning.
- Make time for that thing every single day. Not now and then, not when you have time. Not next week/month/year. Every single day.
- Promise yourself that you will be your own number one fan. Make a pledge to yourself and say it out loud.
- When ‘haters’ give you a hard time, I like to remind myself what Theodore Roosevelt said: ‘.It is not the critic that counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of good deeds could have done it better. The credit belongs to the person who’s actually in the arena; who’s face is marred by blood and sweat and dust. Who at the best, in the end, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, he fails daring greatly.‘
- Brene Brown would also add: “If you are not inn the arena, getting your assed kicked too, then I am not interested in your feedback!”
- Surround your self with people who will cheer you on. Who will stand by the side of the stage and smile and clap, even when your voice is shaky. Who will be there with an ice pack when your bum is kicked, and will be just as excited as you are when you get that book published.
- And finally, have the courage to show up and get in that arena. If you don’t show up, then I promise you, your dream will never happen. Show up. It’s ok if your ducks don’t line up! If what you are doing isn’t 100% for 100% of the time. It’s actually awesome if you fail sometimes! The very people that you admire, or who are your role models in life are not perfect either. They have failed too! They’re just regular people, often frightened too, who are passionate about something they love, giving it a go. Backing themselves.
And sometimes they get to change the world.
You can too..