I'm a huge American Idol fan, and have been almost since the very first season. I was watching last night's episode where they pair up the Idol contestants with a celebrity singer. Most of them were Grammy Award-winning artists who have sold millions of records. As I sat there soaking in all the talent, it dawned on me that I was hearing answers to two questions I've often prayed about in relation to my own writing career.
Was God speaking to me via an American Idol episode?
Ha ha, I don't know if that's true or not, but I'll tell you, I did get some goosebumps when I heard two ultra-successful professional musicians share the following nuggets of wisdom with the budding musicians, because their answers spoke right to the heart of some of my own insecurities.
How do we deal with negative reviews or feedback without it completely destroying our confidence?
According to Shaggy, who has been a working musician for three decades, has been nominated for seven Grammys and won two, and nominated for three American Music Awards:
"Despite all your accomplishments, you still find people with something negative to say. The best way to combat it is to simply not pay attention to it. Your talent and skill has gotten you this far, and you need to have confidence in that."
What is the definition of success?
According to Jason Mraz, who has been nominated for four Grammys, and won two, as well as winning a dozen other miscellaneous singer/songwriter awards, here's the answer to that:
"What I realized instantly is that the music is the reward. I didn't need the paycheck. I didn't even need my own apartment. I could sleep on friends' couches, because the fact that I was doing music gave me all the riches in the world."
I got goosebumps when these precious bits of truth hit me and inspired me. I grabbed a pad of paper and wrote them down. All artists, regardless of the art form, have similar characteristics, and what I learned watching American Idol is that we all deal with the same uncertainties. I'll choose to believe that God was speaking to me through Shaggy and Jason Mraz to keep me going down this sometimes rocky, but always rewarding life of telling his stories, the best way I know how.