Traffic was sparse on the interstate last Saturday. The sun was only halfway up and my son rode shotgun, strumming his ukulele. We were making good time. My heart raced.
“You know, son, I may just sit this one out,” I murmured, half under my breath.
“What? No dad, you can’t.
This may be our last chance to audition for the American Idol Experience.
Don’t you want to do this together?
Why would you change your mind now?“
“I guess I’m just feeling too old and too plus-sized to be stared at.
I’m just not up for being judged by strangers today.“
“Dad, you’re amazing,” he responded. “They will love you!“
I tried to will the tear drops toward the driver’s side of my face.
I’m stopping the story here for a moment to ask you something:
- What if you ignored your insecurity for one day?
- What if you tried something you’ve always wanted to try?
- What if you considered the odds and braved them anyway?
Perhaps you already know exactly how you are gifted? And yet, when you muster the gumption to open your gift, you suddenly hear every unkind word ever spoken to you?
If you stiff-armed self-doubt for one day, what would happen to you?
We arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios just as they opened the gates. Weaving through the crowd, we made a brisk beeline to the 1,000-seat theatre where they audition and perform the American Idol Experience. Each day, hundreds of Disney World guests audition for the chance to be one of the day’s 15 performers. My son and I went in together and cleared the first round. Next, we went into a private audition with the producer. After 15 minutes and 4 songs, he let us both in the show. My son was to compete in the 2:15 PM semi-final and I was added to the 5:00 PM show.
My boy chuckled at the notion that, if we both won our semi-finals, we’d face off in the finale: A father-son duel in front of 1,000 fans. And that’s exactly what came to pass. We did both win our shows. And so did three other finalists, ALL of them teenagers. And so, in the 7:00 PM finale, the five finalists were aged 14, 15, 17, 17 and 44. It was a bit like Jack Black in the “School of Rock”, mixed with a dose of “Barney and friends.”
There I was, backstage with these four brave kids. My son was content and confident. (I’m so grateful that he’s grown up to be self-assured.) But the three other finalists looked much less secure.
I felt for them. (I felt like them.) So, just before the curtain, I silently prayed that whichever kid needed it most would receive the most audience votes. I prayed for the Dream Ticket to land in the hands of the kid most in need of a victory.
Sometimes, the kid who needs the victory most is you.
Take a chance.
Don’t let your doubt drown out your gift.