“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” -Beverly Sills.
An opera singer after my own heart, Beverly Sills was the kindest, most grateful, and down-to-earth singer of her time. An “anti-diva,” she made it her mission to build up the art form and help the next generation of performers. Contemplating my first day at the Napa Music Festival tomorrow and mulling over all the details that could go wrong–a missed note here, a bad rhythm there, a poor tone quality throughout, not being well-prepared in my music, letting my nerves get the best of me at the dreaded “sing-in”– I let my mind find solace on Beverly Sill’s beautiful words.
Every time I have “failed,” be it a slip in memory during a performance, a complete mental breakdown during my senior recital, an imperfect high note, missed cues, or even not getting into my first choices for grad school, a funny thing happened. Life kept moving on. I kept singing. I kept learning. I kept growing. Yes, it was hard. Yes, many tears were shed and threats were made to quit the vocal world altogether. But, no matter how disappointed I was in the performance, or the audition, or the situation, I would have been 10 times more upset with myself had I never even tried. The safety and security created from a life free from risk takes away any chance to learn or adapt. The sooner we give ourselves the permission to fail, the more successful we will be. We will suddenly be more comfortable with taking chances and trying new tactics which are in our best interest, whether vocally or otherwise.
Yes, I could have spent my vacation time on a “real” vacation. Stress-free, I could be spending these three weeks lying on a beach or traipsing through Europe worrying more about my next meal options than making a fool of myself onstage, but I am instead investing my time and money in creating my character and learning how to fail in style. I always leave these programs stronger, more courageous, and more understanding of my own students’ fears and needs. In the end, the information and experiences I accrue are priceless. So, here’s to letting myself fail while learning to succeed. That’s a lesson that will take a lifetime to master, so I better get to work.
#yogagivesback challenge day 20: bujapidasana. You have to overcome the fear of falling to learn to fly.