If at first you don’t succeed…

anna_netrebkoShe didn't listen to the critics

When she was a young girl she was told that she wasn't a great singer – that her expectations shouldn't be for more than singing in the chorus. But that didn't stop her.

She studied and practiced with a coach. And then she entered competitions. And when she won one, it got her a spot with the performing group she had always hoped to sing with. So she joined up – even if she wasn't going to be a star.

She worked hard. She studied hard. Oh, she learned her parts just like everyone else. But she also learned everyone else's part.

And then it happened – the lead Soprano got sick and the director asked her if she knew the parts. “Of course” flew out of her mouth faster than anything she could imagine.

She got the staring role and people didn't say she was “ok” or “fine.” No, the reviews came back and she was amazing. And it launched the operatic career of Anna Netrebko – a Russian star.

Are you ready to give it another shot?

I don't know what you've walked away from simply because you thought you couldn't do it. But this week one of the folks I've been coaching mentioned they'd started to think about outsourcing again.

They'd had a bad experience. They'd been frustrated. They'd felt like it just wasn't for them.

But I had them read my book on managing virtual teams. I'd hoped that would help. We'd talked about remote staff and how to do it right. And today I got the email saying they were going to try again.

And I love that. Because high performers don't give up. They know getting back up from a fall is part of what it means to prepare.

Have you let go of an audacious dream?

A few years ago I read a great book about a Microsoft employee who quit his job to change the world. His organization has now helped establish thousands of libraries across globe – over 3500 of them.

I remember reading it and being convicted that even if I didn't quit my job, I should commit myself to something larger with the resources I had available to me. Especially after reading about the plight of education throughout the third world.

But you know what I did? Nothing.

Because life got in the way. Maybe I told myself I wouldn't change the world. Maybe I told myself I'd never do more than sing in the chorus.

But Anna's story inspires me to think about things differently – as it should you.

So when I read about a friend (Syed Balkhi) this week who was pursuing something big and audacious – he is trying to make a dent in education, and raising money to do it, and asking for $25- I gave. More than he asked, because I wanted to help make a dent too!

Will you join me? Read about my friend Syed's efforts.

…and let him inspire you to pursue your own big dreams – even if it means you'll have to pick yourself up and renew your focus in order to succeed.