Failing on a Big Stage
As I prepare for summer music festivals, I find myself wondering, “This year, will I have what it takes?”
Never mind that I’m more than twice as old as the average performer there, and in some cases three times their age. At least I don’t feel a need to grade myself against the curve of their youthful success (or their skinny-jean waistlines).
Yesterday I heard an interview with Condoleeza Rice, the former Secretary of State who served as National Security Advisor when 9/11 struck. Regardless of political standpoints, I think we can all agree that would have been a lousy day to be in charge. I learned that during her first two years of college, she was a piano major… but discovered while attending the summer music festival at Aspen that other young pianists could read at sight what she’d spent months preparing.
Hmm… she and I have that in common!
But I couldn’t suppress a smile to hear that on a visit to Washington, D.C., Yo-Yo Ma requested they play together in concert at the 2017 Kennedy Center Arts Summit. She revealed her own surprise, but also the revelation that this opportunity had come about, not because she was a world-class performer, but because she was Secretary of State.
It’s not lost on me that my ability to travel the globe and study with world-class musicians is enhanced greatly by a salary which is not dependent on whether I rise or fall on the big stage.
My hope for you this week is that when you’re faced with taking a big risk… publishing a blog, querying an agent, performing in front of others, saying “no” to that thousand-calorie dessert (because who knows when the world will end, right?)… that you’ll find the strength and courage needed to TRY ANYWAY!
Because the success curve of your life is not measured by how you compare to other people (or their skinny jeans).