If you missed my last post about my vacation, you can check it out here. Along with the time I spent getting to know my cousins, another highlight happened the first night I was away.
I saw the Broadway show of Wicked in San Diego.
This in and of itself would have been a highlight, but it was an extra special experience for my family and me. It was the first night that my sister-in-law, Demaree, performed in the show, as the Elphaba’s sister, Nessarose.
She was amazing! It was stunning to see her perform with the rest of the cast. I discovered after the show that actors rotate in and out all the time, so each night could have a different combination of people… and the performance takes place seamlessly. She was a natural.
This is because she’s been on Broadway before, as young Cossette in Les Misérables, and she performed in the national tour productions of Big and The Secret Garden. However, she took a break from the stage while going to college at Belmont University in Nashville, where she met and fell in love with my brother, Dave.
After taking some years off from Broadway, Demaree discovered that she would have to work incredibly hard to get back into the industry. She trained with professionals, continued to perform in various contexts, stayed in contact with influential people in the industry, and auditioned for various parts.
Demaree has taught me a few things through her experience, and I’d like to pass them on to you.
1. Success is rarely instant. This sounds intuitive, but we don’t often act like we know this. We expect to be the exception. The current generation of young adults, known as the Millenials, Generation iY, or Mosaics, tend to feel that success is attainable for anybody, and that it comes quickly. We expect to be as influential as our bosses and mentors, forgetting that it took them years to get where they are.
Jon Acuff describes the first time he spoke with Dave Ramsey on his radio show, and how deflated he felt when he compared his performance to Dave’s. But think about it, of course Dave is going to do a better job than Jon! Dave’s been doing it for years!
The challenge is that since we have such incredible access to information, we see countless people tell their success stories. Unfortunately, all we see is their success. We aren’t clued in to the journey they traveled to obtain their success, so we assume we can achieve similar results without the long, hard road that precedes it.
All you hear about Demaree is that she’s singing on the national tour of Wicked. You don’t know the hours and work she tirelessly gave to bring her here.
2. There will always be critics. I’m not proud of this, but I was one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always known that Demaree has an incredible voice. She’s got amazing talent, has tons of professional experience, and loves her craft. But I always figured that there were tons of other people who were equally qualified, and the odds of success were tough. I figured that I was being a “realist,” looking at the facts of life.
I am so glad Demaree ignored the voice of people like me! There’s a reason why millions of people never accomplish anything great in their lives – they don’t expect themselves to. Mediocre expectations will only produce mediocre results… at best!
There will always be critics. Ignore them.
The only exception to this would be if those who are closest to you, those who know your dreams, passions, and gifts, if they offer some critique, I would pay attention to it.
3. Do what you love. When you know your calling, you are willing to go the extra mile. We go above and beyond what is required of us when we have passion, when we feel God placed us on earth to do what we are doing.
If you aren’t doing what you love, start doing it.
If you can’t immediately start it, come up with a strategy for how you can start doing it.
If you don’t know what you love to do, spend serious time soul searching, trying to discover what you love.
Demaree is a total inspiration. I’m lucky to have her in my family.
What have you learned from times when you’ve been successful? Who has been an inspiration to you?