Susan Boyle’s audition on the show “Britain’s Got Talent” is apparently the most watched with 280 million hits in the first 6 weeks. We’ve all seen it – some of us multiple times ( .. me !).
We rejoiced and delighted at so many myths and stereotypes being debunked in just a few minutes right in front of our eyes. Ageism, look-ism ( is that a word?), economic demographics, personality types, educational backgrounds, academic ability. This wasn’t some bo-toxed, surgically enhanced, pelvis gyrating, cleavage heaving, teenage fashionista making it – but someone we could all relate to. A neighbour, an aunt, a friend… our mothers . Despite the slick editing and the clever stage management of the event ( the producers had to know surely of the potential talent), we all felt the sheer joy of the establishment having the wind taken out of its smug, self important, arrogant sails. Someone unexpectedly was defying all odds and achieving their dream right there on our HD flat screen or lap tops. And ironically of course, that was the name of the song.
But there was one thing that was very different about Susan Boyle. She really could sing. I believe wholeheartedly that we are all good at something. Does this mean overnight stardom or success is guaranteed, no matter how hard we work or try? Regrettably – no it doesn’t!
The celebrity obsession
We live in an era where for many, being famous or a celebrity has now become a goal in itself . According to USA Today 51% of 18- 24 year olds want to be famous – but they are not quite sure how or why. This culture of celebrity envy and worship changes our expectations. But the reality is that most of us every day people have to content ourselves with what Napoleon Hill sums up: “ If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way”
Keep it real
As coaches we support clients in identifying their passions and pursuing their dreams. But at the same time we also have to introduce a reality check. It’s not easy to fly in the face of the culture of wholesale, bumper sticker type positive thinking slogans. Although I love the fairy story element of success stories such as Susan Boyle’s, or anyone else fulfilling life long dreams – goals need to be as realistic and achievable as possible. Otherwise we are set up to fail.
Keep it achievable
I know this is going to be percieved in some circles as more of an equatorial downpour than rain on the general parade. But sorry, if you don’t have a good voice – you will probably never be a great singer. But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t still enjoy singing or improve. In the words of Albert Einstein, somewhat cleverer than myself, “ Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
Look at other avenues
There is also no law that says all personal satisfaction and recognition should come from your job or pursuing a career. There are lots of other avenues for personal development that can be equally rewarding. If you like working with numbers you can volunteer as Treasurer for your church, a local club or your kid’s school. If you have a good, but not amazing voice , you can join a choir or attend Karaoke events.
Don’t forget the hard yards
So if your current job is blue-collar or staff level the chances of you becoming CFO any time soon are pretty slim, unless you take steps to make that happen. You will have to graduate from high school , go to university and take professional qualifications. Like Susan Boyle or any other amazing success story their achievements may seem instantaneous, but there are usually many years of hard yards behind the scenes.
If you have dreams of being an Olympic athlete but need to lose 20 pounds and smoke a pack a day, then that too will remain a fantasy. Kriss Akabusi , author of “Success comes in Cans” and himself a recod breaking athlete makes the following comment ” Yes , the overnight success syndrome is a real misnomer. It took me 15 yrs to become European Champion. Of course it is appealing to just show up, be accepted for a gushing testimonial and people’s good feel factor, but in reality lasting success comes with determination, discipline, dedication to a course over time where one hews success out of failure and the core talent is sculptured from inside out”.
I can’t add to that !