This week, I am in Fargo, North Dakota, training over 100 teachers to teach the 7 Mindsets to thousands of students at half a dozen schools. This is my 10th trip to Fargo in just a few years as part of the continued effort to help Fargo become the first 7 Mindsets community in the world. I’ve invited my wife to join me on many occasions, and when she recently did, that trip inspired this week’s story…
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock and roll, JR was dancing along to the radio when he was just a toddler. Before he was 3 years old, he was already trying to sing in harmony with his favorite songs. He started taking voice lessons very early, but it would be a few years before he had the notion to do anything serious with his talent.
When JR was 11, he competed in a big talent competition. He gave it his best effort, but it wasn’t quite enough to win. At his age, dealing with the loss was hard, and he considered quitting. However, upon returning home, he learned of an open tryout for a popular after-school kids’ show. Mustering his confidence despite the recent defeat, JR tried out… and made the cut. But the show only lasted for two more seasons before it was cancelled and JR was once again wondering if he should keep trying.
Following the show’s cancellation, JR returned to regular life. At 14, he was still young, but he hadn’t expected things to end so quickly. When he received a call from another young musician who invited him to an audition for a group he was starting, JR wasn’t sure if he could take the rejection if it didn’t work out. JR realized that even though the other experiences didn’t end well, he still was having fun pursuing his passions…and maybe that was just as important. He decided to go to the audition, and found there was genuine musical chemistry with the other guys. The world would soon agree.
JR, whose full name is Justin Randall Timberlake, seemed to become famous overnight as the youngest member of the boy band ‘N Sync. The truth, though, is that the young men rehearsed constantly, sweating through hours of practices to hone their dancing and singing to a level that would get labels interested. It took more than three years for them to get an album released in the USA. However, their hard work paid off. Both their first and second albums eventually sold more than 10,000,000 copies, while their second and third albums are ranked as the two fastest-selling albums ever during the weeks of their release.
Today, Justin Timberlake is one of the most famous entertainers on the planet. Besides his highly successful solo music career, he has ventured into acting, fashion, and even restaurant ownership. But when looking at all he has attained, it’s incredibly important to remember that, like all of us, he has faced failure and disappointment, and has taken risks in leaving what’s familiar in order to try new things. In fact, one interviewer even pointed out how easy everything seems when Justin does it, to which he answered, “Making it look easy is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done. All that time practicing in front of the mirror, holding an instrument with my fingers bleeding, rehearsing with legs and feet cramping… it’s the idea that if something is worth having, it has to be worth putting all of yourself into it.”
Although I invited my wife to join me in Fargo time and time again, she always thanked me and declined. At the beginning of this year, though, she said she wanted to accompany me to Fargo in February. I told her the temperature would be below zero and the streets would be covered with snow, but she said she didn’t mind. I was a bit suspicious of her change of heart, and with good reason, it turned out. Justin Timberlake was playing at the Fargo Dome that week, and she had already bought the tickets.
As you pursue your own dreams, keep in mind that the hardest part of facing an ending is beginning again. I’m writing about JT because he found the courage to keep singing in the face of one defeat after another. Find your song in life, and don’t give up too soon! After years and years of hard work, thousands of hours of passionate dedication, and many failures, you too may become an overnight success.
Until next week...
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