You failed. Well, it happens.
Now, let’s see how this failure is important and why you should embrace it.
Not everybody reacts the same way towards failure. I understand this and you need to understand this as well.
When an event occurs, the reaction you will have has nothing to do with the event itself. It is up to you, to get angry, to be mesmerized, to laugh, to not pay attention, to make it a big deal…
Let me put one of my personal events on the table so you can identify yourself to what I am telling you about failure.
I am French, born and raised and I came to New York in 2013 to pursue my career as a Jazz singer. I have seen a lot in New York, from good experiences to bad experiences and sometimes really bad experiences.
In 2015, I had the immense opportunity to sing on Broadway in front of hundreds of thousands of people for the Best Of France, right in the heart of Times Square. That’s a big thing, for a kid coming from Burgundy, to be able to perform on a gig like that.
I was super excited, my wife came (that would be the first concert she saw me performing at by the way), my kids came… Former President Barack Obama was there, the former French President Hollande was there. No, really, that was quite a big deal.
The only thing was that the person who was hosting the show was a Jazz singer as well. I knew him. That’s a small world, not everybody is in this genre and France is not such a big country, therefore, I knew who he was and he knew who I was. Not personally but the Internet made us know each other without seeing each other, without talking ever to each other.
He was not just hosting, he was singing his act from time to time between two shows of Cabaret and other performers on that stage.
So first of all, when I arrived and came to him, he asked me what songs I would be singing. Of course, I was about to do some Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Charles Aznavour… and he answered : “Waow no. Everybody is doing that.”.
I called the organization of the show and said : “There seems to be a problem, there are multiple jazz singers in the show and we seem to all have the same songs, the guy told me not to sing that… I have nothing else!”.
She asked me to come back by the guy, where she would meet me personally with him and he explained to him that he never meant that that way and therefore I was totally free to sing whatever I wanted. It was my moment.
He added : “And I know you Tony, you’re amazing I have watched your videos on YouTube!”.
While I took that simply like a kind move, I should have known better.
Time for me to go on stage, he introduces me and I tell my audience what song I am going to sing and… The wrong instrumental starts going on.
I dodged it pretty well, I am used to this, said that I will sing it anyway, no need to bother looking for the right files (I know what file was supposed to come first), and I started to sing my final song as my intro.
While performing LOVE by Nat King Cole, rearranged in French for the show, my microphone starts larsening and later on, completely shuts down for a few seconds.
After four songs, he came up on stage and said how great it was. I had two other songs to sing and that was on the contract.
Round one done, it was Saturday, I still had a blast, it was pretty fun, I saw a lot of people, kind of made me forget the little jabs and inconveniences during the show. It was time for me to go back home with the family, I would return the day after for the second and last day of the Best Of France. Still super excited.
This time, I made sure that everything was perfect, double checked everything, called the organization one last time, made sure I had a spot… And I left for Manhattan in the afternoon for the show of tonight, the day where President Obama and Hollande would be there.
When I arrived for the show, I couldn’t enter the zone. Nobody would let me enter it at all. I had no access, nobody would talk to me, the fences were closed, I had no badge…
One of the French Superstars was there too and hitting on my wife from the other side of the fence, so much that she told me “Who the heck is this guy? Keeps on looking at me, it’s creepy.”. I had to explain.
At some point, by waving and kind of screaming, the host finally sees me and comes to me between two acts. I explain the situation and he tells me :
“We are so late on schedule, we are behind of a few acts, I don’t think I will be able to put you on stage today, I am sorry!”.
“But, it’s in my contract.”
“Look, there is nothing I can do, it’s too late for any addition to the show right now, you had the chance to perform yesterday, that’s good for you!”.
I left with my wife, going to Subway for a sandwich, trying to call the organization. No answer.
My wife told me to go further, to push harder, to go for it. I could not.
It was too much already. I wanted to leave. I finally decided to leave.
And while going back to the train station, we had to pass in front of the stage on the 42nd street.
As we would walk closer and closer, I would hear a voice resonating in the streets of Manhattan. I recognized his voice. It was him. He was on stage. Singing My Way from Frank Sinatra, in front of Obama and Hollande.
Right hook. KO.
I was defeated and the word is light for what I felt. I felt anger, I felt disappointment, I felt low. I ended up stopping my music career for months after that.
The reaction was totally up to me though. Because indeed, I could have been just so happy to end up the first day and leave it at that, but I wanted it all. I wanted to sing in front of Obama, for what? The prestige? For my social media? No, because I knew I was the best and I wanted to do it.
It was a long work on myself to come back from this event. I took months to realize that I should embrace this failure in order to really know who I am and what I want to do. At the end of the day, it didn’t kill me and the guy is not getting further with this action.
It’s all about learning how to dance in the rain, accept the failure, and find all positive meanings behind this, why it happened, how we can overcome this in the future and be a better self.