Hurdles come in all shapes and sizes and, while all valid and very frustrating, it’s the larger ones I’m talking about here.
You know, the ones that completely throw you off guard, toppling the confidence you’ve been building and developing a mental wall between you and potential opportunities. But what counts is having the ability to bounce back from them and try again.
Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, once said:
‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’
By trying new things and battling the nerves that may otherwise hold you back, you can open your world up to astronomical advantages!
How I landed among the stars
I recently auditioned for a school production, Annie, and after having performed in a local musical only weeks previously, my nerves were calmed by a highly welcomed sense of self-confidence.
Filled with anticipation, two friends and I hurried down to the drama block early on the morning that the cast results were announced. I’ll never forget seeing my friends’ faces light up as they spotted their names on the list. Mine wasn’t there. I remember one of them bragging to me for days about how she got a part. I wanted to disappear into a black hole…
I also remember feeling the self-confidence that had motivated me to audition slipping away. Suddenly the only thing that seemed important was that cast list. Despite this feeling of failure and low self-esteem, a few weeks later, I found the confidence to go along to a much more professional audition for a big stage show. After having my self-belief knocked, I was much more nervous this time. But you know what? I got a part! I was over the moon. After feeling so disappointed in myself, I had a wonderful new opportunity ahead of me!
And this pushed me to volunteer for even more amazing things that led to some fantastic outcomes.
Five ways that new opportunities enable us to shine
- Helping other people
An opportunity came up at school to help organise a Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning. I found lots of ways to get involved, including designing the invitations, making cakes and decorating the hall. I also volunteered to sing a few of my favourite songs to entertain the guests. We managed to raise hundreds of pounds for this amazing charity.
- Being recognised for your efforts
Over the course of the next few weeks, I received countless compliments and messages of thanks from my teachers and friends at school, and over my Mum’s social media after she posted the video of one of my songs.
Recent letters and emails from school have also given me such a boost, with comments such as ‘You were absolutely fabulous’ and ‘Your respect and maturity are very much valued’.
- Learning new skills
Another great opportunity I have been lucky enough to be offered at school was showing a group of parents around on our open evening. This really helped me to develop my persuasive and social speaking skills.
- Meeting amazing people
As I mentioned earlier, I was in a stage show in September. I was part of the younger group for We Will Rock You. I met so many amazing people during the rehearsals and show nights, and I will never forget the impact that rubbing shoulders with ‘the stars of the show’ had on my self-confidence. It really was a kind of magic!
- Exploring new passions
Another great thing about being in We Will Rock You has been the music. Since the very first audition, Queen songs have become a big part of my everyday life and they’re by far my favourite band now. If I hadn’t auditioned for the show, I may have never discovered them.
The power of saying YES to new opportunities
And that really proves, doesn’t it, that stepping out of your comfort zone and grasping new opportunities doesn’t have to be scary or daunting. It can be incredibly rewarding. Change your perspective of the unknown; see it as something exciting, something to look forward to. A gentle nudge in a new direction. And yes, there will be hurdles along the way. And yes, they may knock you over, stop you in your path and hold you back. But get up and leap right over them!
Remember, by stepping out of your comfort zone, you can fill your world with bigger and brighter moments. Believe in yourself.
By Evie Roodhouse, age 12, for Alive!