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Does success mean: having lots of money, leading a jet-set lifestyle, having a great relationship, achieving a particular status within your career, being famous? The problem is none of these things are easily achievable because they are not succinctly defined. We generally have an unrealistic paradigm of how our dream of success should look, sound and feel. For example, how do you know when you reach “lots” of money? How much money is “lots”? How do you define a “great” personal relationship? Are these things even realistic and achievable? If you chase vaguely defined definitions of success, you’re never going to be satisfied.

Here’s another thought because I have seen this so many times throughout my lifetime; you might well achieve “success” in the eyes of the world … only to find that it seems hollow and empty to you. And what would the point of being successful be, if you're always feeling inside like a looser because you spent your precious resources of time, energy and money on climbing that ladder of success only to find it didn’t get you where you wanted to go or what you really wanted?

So how do you start the process of figuring out just what “success” means to you personally, not to anyone else, just you.

First, take a good look at your whole life and the big world around you. What’s out there that makes you curious, excites you, interests you, looks, sounds, and feels right to your sensibilities and can be achieved. There are many ways to become involved in the professional world of singing besides performing. Look at all the possibilities before you start on your path. You want to be as sure as possible that this is what you want pursue. It’s your life going by so make it count and do whatever rocks your world on purpose. And please, start taking responsibility for both your own success and failures. Being honest with yourself about how you do what you do is of paramount importance, so start now.

"The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear." - Brian Tracy

  • What makes you happy and feel fulfilled?
  • Are your goals realistic and achievable or are you kidding yourself?
  • Are you more concerned with how others will view you if you change directions or “settle” for something other than what you told them you wanted to achieve, your dream because you found your real purpose in life?
  • Do you know how to deal with rejection and failure along the way, because it will be part of your learning process?
  • Is your talent enough to get you to your objective?
  • Do you have your life in balance? It’s important to understand that there is more to life than a career.
  • How well do you take care of the self?
  • Do you feel you are or ever will be enough just as you are?
  • Are you following someone else’s dream for you? If so, are you afraid to change directions because it will let them down which seems either easier because you don’t know how to deal with the confrontation that will ensue or it’s more important to have their approval or please them than taking a risk and finding your own path?

Know that taking all the required courses and being in University productions is just the beginning of your preparation for a career no matter what degree you are getting. There is an internship that gives you a real look into the professional world of performing that can and should begin while you are in school. It involves taking risks by trying things outside the required curriculum. Take a walk over to the School of Drama, find a great straight beginning acting class, learn how to apply stage make-up for the many different characters you might play. Jump in and take a lighting class, set building class, directing class, stage manager class. This will give you a great overall idea of whether you want to be in our profession. When there is an opportunity for a Master Class by a professional, go, absorb what they offer, take what is meaningful to you and add it to your knowledge, skills and tools.

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." - Dale Carnegie

Make it your job to find what you feel you need to expand your understanding of how to get to where you want to go so you can be great at how you do what you do. Be curious and flexible. Make mistakes, fall on your face, fail, pick yourself up, look for the lesson inside of any of those bumps in the road and move on wiser and better prepared for the future. It’s not up to anyone else to know specifically what you feel you need to succeed and be successful. A formal education is not a perfect fit for anyone. It’s up to you to find what will fill in the gaps that you need even if it is outside your University experience. Figure out what it will take for you to have it all make sense and have the pieces fit together as they should just for you. Rock the boat, ask for what you want and need. You may or may not get what you need in that moment, but never give in. Keep suggesting, questioning and asking. This in and of itself will stir the feeling of being successful. This is your life going by…

Now I want to know what you have to say. Avanti, and ciao until next time. Carol

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