A few days ago, I awoke suddenly from a nightmare about a past music failure I'd experienced back in high school. In real life, I was a sophomore and had signed up for a district music competition where I was performing an original song I had penned specifically for that event. I remember working so hard for weeks at my little Casio keyboard, writing furiously in my notebook to make the song exactly what I wanted it to be. When the day of the performance came around, I sang the song and gave it my all. Unfortunately, the judges didn't care for it and I didn't advance to Nationals that year.
The dream was almost an exact retelling of the actual event. I woke up suddenly after getting the news that I hadn't advanced in the competition. My first conscious feeling was dread in my apparent and embarrassing failure in music, and then another thought occurred to me: but I'm a music teacher! Once I fully came to and realized that the event was actually in my past, I was able to comfort myself with the fact that that particular failure didn't seem to set me back in my musical career as much as it could have. In fact I hadn't even thought about it in a long time.
I do remember being devastated after the event and feeling that maybe I didn't cut it as a songwriter. I believe I took some time off, but not too much before I was back writing and singing my original material again.
The tendency seems to be that after we fail at something, it can be easy to give up or take a longer break than necessary from that particular thing. Why would you want to try something again that you've already failed at? Herein lies the lesson. Just because you've failed at something, even something that you have talent in, doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt it again for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time. Eventually, you'll have logged enough failures that you are bound to have some experience under you belt and are that much closer to success.
Please don't discount the life experience you gain from every failure. It will grow you as a musician, singer, or whatever else you are in life.
So, I issue a challenge today: think about something that you've tried in the past and failed at and have maybe been too scared to attempt since then. Now, I want you to try again! What if you fail again? So what? Dust yourself off and chalk it up as life experience. Been aching to audition for the local musical in town even though it scares the life out of you? Do it anyway! What if you succeed? What if it leads to greater opportunities than you ever thought possible?
Do me a favor: once you've tried this challenge, post a comment on this blog or on my facebook letting me know how it went. It really doesn't matter if you fail or succeed; as long as you try again. I think you'll be surprised at what you can do when you take a leap out of your comfort zone and allow your failures to catapult you to even greater successes!