Victory is Yours.

Ideas  /  Andy Eltzroth  /  01.09.14

My six-year old daughter experienced her first piano recital a few weeks ago. She'd only started playing a few months prior, but had picked up on it very quickly, and as we approached the recital she worked on memorizing and pacing those 25 or so notes.

Now, she's always had a bit of a tendency to overthink things that it seems most kids think nothing about. For example, she liked soccer practices but not games. When I asked her why, she said it was because she knew all of the kids at practice but since the kids on the other teams were strangers, it wasn't as much fun.

In an attempt to curb some of her over-analysis, my wife and I talked with her about being nervous. We let her know that it was perfectly normal, made it clear that we get nervous sometimes too, and talked about butterflies and the likelihood that her nervousness would intensify as we got closer to the recital.

The night arrived, we showed up early and got seats close to the stage. She was very open with me about her emotions and continued to communicate how nervous she was. She also mentioned how accomplished she thought she'd feel after it was over. I concurred and tried to do my best to walk her through the order of things while being silly to try to lighten the mood, but I could see her fear growing as family and friends of the other performers filed in.

My daughter was fourth on the schedule, and as we stood stage left preparing for her to walk up, I got down on one knee to try to ease her anxiety. I wasn't going to tell her that I felt like I was going to puke, I needed to be strong for her, but when she buried her head in my shirt and started to cry, I was convinced she was done. I was certain that there was no way she would go on stage that night. Then, without prompting, she turned around, dried her eyes, walked on stage, took a deep breath and nailed each and every note.

I was speechless. Even more so when she walked off stage, sat down and whispered in my ear. "Victory."

I sat there as proud as I could ever be, trying to process what had just happened. The feeling of anxiety that she (and I!) had felt was crazy intense, but she'd experienced 'victory' because she set a goal and seen it through.

It's a new year. Resolution time? Maybe. But whatever new ventures you're embarking upon, whatever opportunities you're considering for personal and professional growth, whatever resolutions and milestones you're committing yourselves to, even if they make your stomach turn, if you give them your all and finish the job, victory is yours.

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
― Ray Bradbury