What American Idol taught me about my Business Mindset

We were in Hollywood Studios for the day, and I heard there was an American Idol Experience attraction. So obviously, I thought that my husband – who is a true music lover, but can’t hold a tune to save his life – should audition. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to sit in the audience with my little princess, and cheer for him?

Well, it turns out that you actually have to be able to sing to get into the show. There are real auditions before they let you in. So Hubby said that I should do it.

First, I had to go into a small room and audition for one guy who was sitting behind a desk. I was told to stand on a star on the floor and sing any song I wanted. I chose Lady Marmalade.

The judge told me I made it to the next round.

The next round involved practicing a few songs with musical accompaniment, and then singing two of them in another small room for a different judge.

I passed that audition, too. So now I was going to perform in the American Idol Experience show for an audience of hundreds of people.

It was pretty exciting. I hadn’t sung on a big stage in years. Everyone was cheering, and the judges – even the mean “Simon-like” judge – were pretty nice to me. There was an audience vote, and I won!

My story could end here. And it sort-of does. I had accomplished something fun. But it all felt easy and natural. I wasn’t pushed too far out of my comfort zone. I like singing, and my earlier experiences on stage and with bands all came flooding back, so I had a good time rocking it out to “Hot Stuff.”

But now I was in the Grand Finale. The stakes were higher, the prizes were bigger, and my daughter really wanted me to win (that was the biggest stress of all!). I tried to have fun, but suddenly I was attached to the outcome (mistake #1).

Thinking back on the original show, I realized that I was really doing it just to do it, to have fun, to feel good about singing again. And my enjoyment of it came through.

Now, in the Finale, I felt pressure. The judges were not so nice this time. I allowed their energy and their words to affect me. I really didn’t think I would win, so I lost confidence (mistake #2).

What does this all have to do with business? Well, how you do anything is how you do everything.

It became clear to me that this is how I approach business, too. There are many things that come easy to me, that feel natural. So I do those things a lot. But I only go so far.

I stop myself when it gets too hard. I lose confidence when other people say discouraging things. I let others affect my mood. 

Why am I telling you this?

Sometimes it seems that other people have it all, and we wonder why we can’t have it all, too. Many people tell me that they think I have “made it.” And they wish they could “make it,” too.

But it’s not about arriving somewhere. It’s about constantly pushing past your blocks, your fears, your challenges. Then those challenges become easier. They aren’t so challenging. BUT, there are new challenges! Every day.

Each day in business presents us with our own challenges. If we can become aware of them and take steps to work on them, we become stronger. Will you join me in committing to this?

I lost the Finale to a 14-year old boy (he was pretty awesome). But I came home with some great memories, and a renewed commitment to keep growing.

Where do you stop yourself? Become aware. Take a baby step to go past that today.

To your success!

Comments Closed

9 Responses to “What American Idol taught me about my Business Mindset”

  1. Nancy Rose says:

    How true. I can relate to so many times in my life when I just give up before I get to the finish line. I’ve realized that I need to understand what fears are stopping me, feeling judged is one of them. Thanks so much for sharing and reminding me to move forward.
    Nancy Rose recently posted..Five Eco Garden Tips

  2. Love it!!! I am impressed Nika:) This is very cool…and your so right, we do react and let others affect our moods and change our thinking…about ourselves, what we’re doing, our business. I took chances more when I was younger and w/o kids…guess that says I need to get back on the horse! Time to think about what is stopping me…and go for it! Your comment “But it’s not about arriving somewhere. It’s about constantly pushing past your blocks, your fears, your challenges” says it all. Thanks for sharing and showing others we’re not alone!

    Rita Brennan Freay
    @Rita4kids
    ritabrennanfreay.com

  3. Gina Bell says:

    Nika, this post is so timely for me. I seriously just had this very revelation. It really surprised me too because I had successfully convinced myself that I was stretching myself to step up in big ways.

    The reality, yes I have been doing cool things BUT not the thing (there’s one thing in mind) that really excites me and stretches me. I have one specific and recurring idea that keeps popping up and I keep pushing down because as amazing as I know it will be it requires that I put myself out there MASSIVELY. (Not to mention a bit of restructuring of what I’m already doing to make space).

    This week I actually (finally) started to take action, baby steps towards this bigger vision of me (and ripples of that). I’m scared as hell but so far willing to see where it goes LOL.

    Thanks for sharing this post Nika and reminding me that a) I’m human and b) I’m not the only one that feels this way sometimes.

    ~ Gina xo
    Gina Bell recently posted..Freedom Fix: Let Go and Grow Faster #BlogBoost

  4. Paul Owen says:

    Nika, I just started following you on Twitter, and this post immediately grabbed my attention. I have been struggling with the same self-imposed ceiling on my own performance, both in music and at work (which is non-musical).

    Your theme is very similar to a recent Michele Singletary column in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/the-book-that-can-help-you-leap-barriers-to-financial-success/2011/07/05/gIQAP6Bl5H_story.html) in which she discusses a Gay Hendricks book on the topic of people’s self-imposed barriers to the success they want.

    I look forward to following your blog.

  5. I so agree, having confidence in yourself and your dream or project will make you comfortable when going forth and making yourself successful! Great blog!

  6. Enjoyed your post very much. It sounds like so much fun to be in an American Idol type of process to see what it was like.

    Your learnings from it and application to biz are powerful and I can relate. Thanks.
    Cherry Woodburn recently posted..You’re Right, He’s Cheating or You’re Stronger Than You Think

  7. Alina says:

    Thanks for this post, it means a lot to me.

  8. Blondie says:

    Thanks for letting us into you. I love the application to business. . . Powerful.

  9. Ande Lyons says:

    La la LOVE this post Nikka! What an amazing story… And a beautiful tie-in to the journey of ‘raising’ a business. Building our persistence, tenacity, and reilience muscles helps give us the strength to make the mistakes that give us the experience we need to drive our businesses forward. Good for you for auditioning, for reaching for the stars, and for sharing your awesome experience with us. Cheers! @AndeLyons
    Ande Lyons recently posted..Snuggling and Cuddling – It’s My Favorite Dessert!