Being a Risk Taker
If the Cinderella story is about making one’s dreams come true, then Susan Boyle is the quintessential Cinderella of our century. Unless you were asleep a few years ago, or stranded on a desert island, you heard about her as a contestant on one of those reality TV series which purportedly seek the brightest and best, but in reality focus on entertainment by ridiculing, belittling and otherwise tearing down aspiring writers, singers, musicians, inventors, etc.
The series producers thought they had a real winner in Susan. “I want to be a singer,” she said. When they paraded this quiet woman, who looked more like a bag lady, on stage they were set for whoops and hollers. The whoops and hollers followed stunned silence and tears as Sarah opened her mouth and sang. A rich voice, inundated with passion and harmony, swelled and filled the auditorium.
Did her ability happen overnight on that crowded stage? No, it happened over time as Sarah gave voice to her music, maybe in the shower, maybe as she dusted and cleaned, maybe as she worked in the garden. She sang her heart out in private, then sang her heart out in public. She was always a singer–the rest of the world just didn’t know it.
The moment of risk launched her into the limelight. No, she hasn’t made millions and her singing style and music isn’t at the top of the popularity charts. What she lacks in popularity she makes up with character, tone, richness and depth not found in the cacophony and stridency of today’s music scene. She even landed a coveted role in Max Lucado’s current theater production, The Christmas Candle.
The difference between Susan Boyle and the rest of us is that she took a risk.
It takes a certain amount of courage to take a risk, but more than that, it takes the willingness to fail. Our culture rejects failure. We avoid failure, run screaming from it, diminish success by ensuring that “everyone gets a ribbon.” We desire the prize without the sacrifice to produce it.
No bestseller remains locked in a desk drawer. Paintings must splatter pigment on canvas. Music doesn’t exist unless the notes burst forth from lungs and vocal chords.
Risk entails displaying our hopes and dreams before an uncaring world. Risk requires belief in our talents and skills. Risk focuses on the one who likes our work more than the thousands who don’t. Risk demands we step off the zip line platform.
Like Susan, we must risk the boos of the crowd if we want the stunned silence of success.