Don’t let doubt drown your gift

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:

  1. What if you ignored your insecurity for one day?
  2. What if you tried something you’ve always wanted to try?
  3. 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?

American Idol ExperienceWe 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.

American Idol ExperienceSo take it from me.

Take a chance.

Don’t let your doubt drown out your gift.

31 Responses to “Don’t let doubt drown your gift”

  1. Congratulations, kid!

  2. I want to hug you both! This is amazing. So inspiring. Let me tell you a story. All of my life, I wanted to be a writer. First, my mother steered me away and said I’d never be able to make money at it. Then I asked a trusted manager to read something I’d written. He shrugged and said it wasn’t his style. But I kept writing. I begged friends to read my novel but they were too busy, or didn’t like the genre. There was a dream in my heart that wouldn’t die no matter how many times people tried. I wrote more novels. And one day, I decided to send a manuscript to a writer’s contest. And a literary agent. And a publisher. And one by one, they said, “Patty, this is good.”

    I got my Dream Ticket. It’s two published novels with a third one coming out in August.

  3. What does the dream ticket win you?

    • Hi Lynn, the Dream Ticket is the “ultimate fast pass.” It let’s the winner skip to the front of the 10,000 person stadium line for the real show’s auditions in any season. Of course, the age range is 15-28 for the real show, so I can’t use it. My son said I should call The Voice and ask if they accept “Competitor Coupons!”

  4. Tristan, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Thank you for sharing your behind the scenes with us!!! So many of in the leadership space have admired your leadership and your heart for so long. You are such a beautiful example of character, courage, kindness, and leadership! This fan will be cheering for you from across the world!

  5. I’m at my desk at MindTouch HQ reading this and trying not to cry. You’re awesome dude.

  6. Wow, great story. Congratulations! And thanks for the reminder to all of us.

  7. Way to go Tristan. I appreciate the challenge. Great post, great lesson and it sounds like great fun. Happy for you. Thanks for sharing the encouraging lesson. Mike…

  8. Thanks for writing this SO inspiring

  9. “Sometimes, the kid who needs the victory most is you.” Felt that man. Congratulations for your dream ticket. You really got some nice bonding with your son.

  10. The conversation just resonated in me. I myself would think that I’m too old for such things but you really did a good job here Tristan. “Don’t let your doubt drown out your gift.” I’ll take chance!

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  20. Thanks for following me! Love this story…I can only follow 2k on twitter 😦 plebe status. Have a Wonderful Christmas and new year!

  21. This is quite the little gem I just found! My son is entering his first talent show. He is quite skilled with the yo-yo. I will share your story with him and hope he doesn’t ask me to join him ; /~

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