While watching Carol Leifer on the Tavis Smiley Show talk about how she kept trying, and trying, and trying to get on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson I had a realization.
Tavis was asking how do you keep going when you keep getting rejected (it took her 22 auditions to finally get booked)?
Carol talked about how it’s important to not take things personally and keep focused on your goal, but I believe there’s a more important, underlying lesson: it’s not about the plant, it’s about the soil.
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Let me explain.
What Tavis was asking about is how do you grow the plant?
What is the process for doing the thing?
Is that an important question?
But the more important is to realize where the drive to keep going comes from. It comes from within.
To introduce another metaphor, it’s like lifting a heavy weight. One can understand the mechanics of lifting a heavy weight, but if the muscle capacity isn’t there it simply won’t move.
That’s what Carol really had: capacity.
She had good soil.
Was she trying to grow something challenging?
She was trying to grow one of the toughest crops, ever: success as a woman comic in the 70s.
Did a bunch of seeds fail to produce anything?
But she kept planting, and tending and re-planting.
She didn’t fail all those times because there was something wrong with her soil, something wrong with her, she was trying to grow something in one of the hardest conditions imaginable.
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The lesson here is that to do tough, difficult things – and so much of what we want is exactly that – we need to focus on our capacity, on our “soil.”
If we ignore those things the weight will never move and the plant will never grow – no matter how much we “know” about how it supposed to work.