Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week 9 - Watch Me Climb!

It’s Week 9 and I am still climbing. The picture at left is actually my 6 year old son at Earth Treks but you can click here and watch me climb

I recently received another pledge for $250. This puts my campaign at $1,850. I am pledging $150 to round my total to $2,000 with 6 weeks to go. I am getting closer!

What inspires me? Failure. I hate to fail. I am okay with losing. Losing and failure are two different things to me. When regardless of what you do to make the situation better, the outcome does not turn out in your favor, you lose. When you don’t do all that is within your power to make the situation better, you fail.

I learned about failure from Lou Salerni, a teacher I had when I was in college at SMU. One day, I was working with Lou on a monologue for an audition. It was Romeo, from Romeo & Juliet and I was trying so hard. I was doing this terrible, terrible British accent because that is what I thought Shakespeare was supposed to sound like. When I was done, Lou said, “Why don’t you try it a different way. Let’s give the character a Cuban accent. Try the monologue again.” I thought Lou was crazy and felt a little uncomfortable. Up until then all I had been doing in my Voice and Diction classes in college was trying to get rid of my accent and here was Lou asking me to bring it back. “Okay,” I said, “I will try it.“ What did I have to lose, I was already doing a lousy job. So I tried it and it was great. I instinctively found the natural places to pause, the right words to emphasize. I really understood the monologue the first time. When I finished I said, “Lou, that was great, but I can’t do it like that for my audition.” “Why?” he asked me. “That’s not how its supposed to sound,” I said. “So what” he said. “I understood you and it was more interesting than the first time, when you were trying to sound like somebody else.” “Listen,” he said, “if your going to fail, fail on your own terms, not because you made a choice that somebody else was expecting you to make and didn’t work out. When you fail this way, you know why. You know that it is something that you chose to do. You took responsibility. And, Jose, if your going to fail, fail big. Make a BIG choice, so if you fail, it is obvious why. When you make a small choice, a safe choice, you can never really be sure why. You can always wonder, well what if I would’ve done a little more. No make a big choice and let there be no doubt as to why it worked or didn‘t.”

I thought about Lou again after I took the job of Executive Director at Pyramid in 2007. My first 6 months at Pyramid were my toughest. Here was this 27 year old organization that had only had one director since Day 1. I felt pulled in so many different directions. The Board knew what was best for the organization and what they wanted me to do. The Founder knew what was best for the organization and what she wanted me to do. Staff knew what was best for the organization and what they wanted me to do. Many people who had been around Pyramid much longer than I had knew what was best for the organization and what they wanted me to do. I wanted to do such a great job and I was trying so hard.

So one day, it hit me. I knew what needed to be done. I was just afraid to do it. I was making decisions based on what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. The Board, the Founder, Staff, but I was failing. I needed to make some important decisions. Yes, they were going to disappoint some people and make others upset, but if I didn‘t make them, then Pyramid was going to lose or win based on what somebody else thought. That day, I decided to stop failing.

Pyramid is in a much better place today (and so am I) because I remembered what Lou had said. I figured out the difference between losing and failure. There are times I forget. I blame others for what is not working, run from difficult decisions. I fail, but like I said, I hate failing, so I stop, move beyond my comfort zone, go beyond what I think I am capable of and risk failing on my own terms.

I hope I inspired you today.

Make a contribution, in any amount to my Pyramid Atlantic fundraising campaign by clicking here. Have a great week.

SO, its crunch time! 7 more weeks to go and $1,000 to raise. If you were thinking about contributing, but wanted to wait to see how far I would get, now is the time. I am almost there. A contribution of any amount will get me that much closer.

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