Growing up, other people’s perception was my reality. I lived in a world where no one thought that I could do anything great, that I was mediocre to say the least.
In fact, there was no such thing as expectation when it came to my ability to deliver academically. I supposed my lack of success had something to do with it. But I have to assure you that it was not due to lack of trying.
My turning point was when I was in my junior year in high school. When I met a teacher, she told me that I knew own capabilities. She also told me not to let anyone tell me what I could not do or accomplish in life. I’m the only person who can determine what I’m capable of.
I started challenging myself, studied more each night and forced myself to develop discipline, to ask questions and not hesitate, especially when I don’t know something. Not to let the lack of knowledge hold me hostage. Not to let the fear lock me in the deep cell of sorrow.
Since then, I spent more time focusing on my passion. I did well enough to get into the university that I wanted to attend, but it was after college that I excelled, as I developed the love for learning. For the next 20 years, I completed two graduate school programs and developed the love for developing talent.
Many of the successes I had in my career are due to the fact that I prepared for it through years of training and studying and working on the skills, so when the opportunity presented itself, I could jump at it and show that I could get it done. As I always tell my two girls, always be prepared for opportunity. This way you’ll be successful.
On the same topic, I read the story of David Tolley, a highly regarded pianist and composer. He wrote off-Broadway musicals, performed for four US Presidents and did several performances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. In December of 1985, he was just a regular person. On that fateful day, Johnny Carson’s guest pianist, Horatio Gutierrez, had an accident and was not able to play.
Like any consummate professional the show must go on. So, Johnny Carson asked if anyone in the audience knew how to play piano and had at least 5 years experience. David Tolley raised his hand. He was prepared, and when the opportunity presented itself, he seized the moment. He played “Memory” from “Cats” and the rest is history.
The story about David Tolley reminds us that we don’t have to control our destiny; however, we need to be there before the opportunity arrives and when does arrive, we ought to have all the skills we need to be ready to do the job. David seized the moment and made it happen and the rest is history. Who could have known, the guy wearing a Nike t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops would have his best audition in the show where he was expecting just to be a spectator.
Think of what you want to achieve in life. Define the training you need to get there. Get started and be disciplined, do not give up, and work on it every day. Prepare for a better tomorrow by working today. Remember that you need to be ready for the opportunity. Start today and make it happen.