“How many songs do you have?” Paul asked me as I stood in front of the microphone hooking up my guitar and setting up.
“Do your best two first. There’s a lot of people that are waiting to go on. If we have time you can do three.”
I signed up in the first slot on the list, but now I was having a bit of a nervous feeling wash over me. Why did I sign up first? Why couldn’t someone who really sucked go on before me? Oh well.
I had been playing music for many years. I’ve always been a guitarist. Just a guitarist though. Not a singer. I had a bad run with bands in the past though, and decided I’d be better suited at the helm. This would be the first time I played an open mic of all original songs, just me and my acoustic. I was nervous. What if they hated my writing? What if I screwed up? Where the hell is the music stand? Why didn’t I change my strings?!? WHY IS IT SO HOT IN HERE??!?!?!!
I looked out on the crowd, waiting for me to strum a chord. For my first song I chose a song that I had written only 4 days prior. Yes. Four days. LIVING. ON. THE. EDGE.
I started playing, and in the first verse I messed up a chord change. “DEAR LORD!!” My mind screamed out, “they’re going to be throwing tomatoes at you!”
The next thing I knew a good crowd had gathered. It was in a Barnes and Nobles, and now many customers stopped and stood there to watch. More than were there when I started. Ever single mistake I made crashed out in my mind, but I pushed on.
I finished the song and the crowd erupted with applause. It was much more than I expected. I played my next song and Mr. Paul gave me the thumbs up for one more. I felt sticky, not up to my best performance (obviously the nerves came into play). I thought I did horrible, but at the end of it I got a great reception and many people approached me to tell me they enjoyed it.
I’ve often thought about playing my songs in the past but I’ll admit, I’ve been afraid to fail. I’ve come to realize that if you’re not failing often in life, your not challenging yourself nearly as hard as you should be. (Or maybe you are a magical god from the heavens, but most of us are not.) If you are not failing then you are gliding gracefully in your comfort zone. And that may be alright for some, they might have a really great comfort zone. But most people are screaming out from their insides, aching for something more. If you want to do big things, you are going to have to fail big!
It’s become apparent to me that I would like nothing more than to be a professional musician. The road ahead will be bumpy and filled with failures, and that’s a good thing. It’s when you fail that you learn the most. I look forward to failing, and I can’t wait to fail bigger!
Ask yourself, when’s the next time I will have an opportunity to fail (or succeed!)? Will I create these opportunities? Will I take that opportunity knowing full well that it may challenge me, that I may not like the outcome? Will I grow from it? Or will I cower at the first sight of danger?
When you do get those opportunities, ask yourself these two questions after every one:
What did I do right?
What would I do better next time?
The answers to those questions will be the key to accomplishing everything you want in life.
Please, feel free to leave a comment. Now find your next challenge and conquer it or fail big!