Are you tired of doing your best, and you or your Art still not being chosen?
Sometimes, it can be so devastating.
You put your heart into your work, hours and hours of effort, believing this will be IT.
You watch someone else
win the prize
get the award
book the gig
sell the art
And sometimes you want to scream,
Why isn’t it ME?
When is MY turn?
As Artists, we know intimately that it’s not always about talent. In fact, we can all think of several celebrities who have raging success to our complete disgust and confusion.
It just feels UNFAIR.
So, what do we do in that moment?
This past week, I spoke in front of 700 people at my coach’s big annual event, called The Zone.
I was one of 7 of her clients that was chosen for a Speak Off competition, where I could win $10K, for the best 4 minute talk.
The audience was deciding who the winner was.
I was OVER the moon for this opportunity and had only a week to prepare. I actually had a really solid two minute talk to draw from and dove in with all kinds of cool ideas.
I decided to create a unique experience, and really put all of me into the talk, including using some small dance moves. I thought,
No one else is going to bring the stage what I do!
Have you ever felt that with your work?
I was convinced I would win, and was so excited for the chance to show up not only for my community in this way, but for all the people that were in attendance.
I wanted to make a difference.
I wanted to move the audience.
I practiced like crazy.
I asked for tons of feedback.
I performed it for several people.
And I was deeply passionate about the topic.
Ironically, the talk was about releasing competition and the radical effect this had on my life as an Artist…..
Yes, I was in an actual competition talking about the fact that we really only thrive when we RELEASE competition.
Definitely a head trip.
So, the big day came, and the talk was a HUGE hit. The crowd roared, and then when the voting was done at the end, my coach said,
It’s a TIE!
So, I had to stand up there with the other speaker and be voted on again.
The crowd roared for us both, but my coach had seen the applause meter, and squeezed me around the arms, saying,
For a moment, I thought,
This is IT!
And then she said,
We love you. It’s not you.
I felt like I was in the end of the musical A Chorus Line, and hugged the other speaker and then stood on the sidelines while I watched her jump with glee and sign the huge check for $10K.
I heard my coach saying,
There always has to be a winner
And I could feel years and years of “not being chosen” for shows and roles I wanted so desperately rising in me.
My stomach turned into knots, and I clapped, and then exited the stage.
I had done my best, and it didn’t win the prize.
Have you ever felt this?
When I came back to my seat in the audience, so many people started to come up to me, smiling with large eyes saying,
Thank you for your talk!
I’m an artist too…that meant so much
You made me cry
That was incredible
I wanted you to win
I love dance!
The response was consistent, and it went on for two days, people coming up to me at the event sharing how my talk made them feel, and thanking me.
I stopped and LISTENED.
And I went back to my original intention,
I wanted to move the audience
In the midst of my disappointment, I was faced time and again with evidence that I actually had been SEEN.
My work was acknowledged and so many artists resonated with the talk.
So, while I didn’t win “the prize”, I did win. I spoke to the largest crowd ever in my speaking career, and showed up the way I wanted to.
I truly did my best. In fact, I was “chosen” by hundreds that day.
And doing the talk, opened up a new thought,
Perhaps my $10K is coming another way….
And what about you?
What is the “prize” you are striving for in your Art?
Have you decided there is only ONE way it will appear?
So many artists become “overnight successes” after years in the business.
Because they don’t stop.
Because they don’t let rejection stop them.
Because they keep going, and recognize that there WILL be disappointments along the way.
That big check is waiting for you. And it will come by staying in the game.
It will come by placing your focus on where your wins are TODAY, and staying connected to your audience.
Release the competition, and come back to your vision of what you want. Take a breath. LISTEN to what your audience is saying and asking for.
Stay on the stage and in the game, so they can find you.
Because, the truth is, they truly want what you have.
Your turn comes when you decide it’s coming regardless.
Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography