Lauren Brombert: WINNERS. They all have different backgrounds and come from different places. Maybe they won on their first try. Maybe they’d been at it for years. Either way, the two – perhaps only – things they have in common are: They believed winning was possible. They were in the game.
Many of my friends are songwriters and artists. We have similar goals. Thanks to Facebook, I get a play-by-play of their accomplishments. There are days when I feel myself turning what is undoubtedly some very unattractive shade of green. I admit that I envy them for their successes, however big or small. How did they get that gig, get that placement, get that cut, get on the charts, get that award…? Why haven’t I?
And then it dawned on me. Some of the things they were achieving, I was only dreaming about. I wasn’t acting. I was sitting on the sidelines. I was watching the game, but I wasn’t fully in it. I wasn’t actively placing bets on my talent or my ability to achieve my dreams.
It wasn’t until I had this realization that I mustered up the courage to enter an international songwriting contest. I took a risk and put my entry-fee dollars on two of my songs. On one level, it felt like gambling. What did I stand to lose? Some non-disposable income and a little pride. But for one moment, minutes before the deadline, I ignored the odds and believed winning was possible.
Months later, I got the news that one of the songs had been selected as one of the winners. The other was chosen as a finalist.
But nothing might have happened—as it often does. What then? Curiously, it’s those who are determined to stay in the game who wind up defying the odds. Not playing, in fact, guarantees not winning.
“Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.” Andre Malraux
Do you have big dreams? Dreams you’re afraid to pursue because the odds are bad? Slim to none? Doing what you feel is the truest expression of who you are is never about the odds. Or the outcome. It’s about integrity. It’s about alignment between desire and action.
If we’re not pursuing our dreams, we’re essentially giving up on them. Tacitly, we’re saying that we—or they—don’t stand a chance. Never having tried, however, is much more difficult to live with than trying and losing.
What would you like to see happen in your life? What’s the next step toward realizing that goal? Is the risk of losing greater than the risk of never having given yourself a chance to win?
Make that move. Whatever the outcome, one thing’s for sure: You can’t win if don’t play.