Another day at the office...
Thousands of exam entrants, a few hundred distinction students, 100 scholarship nominations, 16 finalists. One of them - my daughter. It’s a fantastic achievement. I arrived at the end of the day to my beautiful daughter in tears, in the midst of a crisis of confidence and adamant that she would not be participating any further. The occassion demands of her attributes that, at present are way out of her comfort zone; performing on stage in front of a public audience with minimal practise of a routine they have learnt that day, taught by no other than the international dancer who choreographed the exam syllabus. The enormity of the occasion was a little overwhelming. This is it, this is what a dancing career feels like. It's make or break baby. It took me a minute to adjust to the situation, as generally I am supportive, but only because dancing is what she wants. My determined daughter is usually striving for the goals herself. A dancing life is not what I would chose for my baby. Seeing her in despair because she has been successful is a whole new problem, and I stopped to consider my approach carefully.
However, as soothing as my presence was, no amount of cajoling, pep talk or motivational encouragement would bring her round. There was no way. She was not doing it. Then her teacher came up, made some appropriate congratulatory murmurings, rubbed her shoulders and stated that ‘opting out was not an option’. Just like that. End of story. I was pleased. It wasn’t going to work coming from me. I was there to provide unconditional support and cushioning for frayed emotions. Direction comes from the coach; the teacher in this instance who took the choice away so she could concentrate on how she was going to do it rather than if.
Sometimes we don’t need rescuing, we need pushing. And she did it, she gave it a shot, pushed through her fear of failing, and performed. In fact her worst fear did happen. She knew the steps but she got stage fright and forgot a lot of the routine. In her mind the worst happened, but she survived the worst, it did not beat her. The world did not spin off its axis. Hopefully next time the fear will not overhwelm her. Experience and maturity will give her perspective. And at the end of the day giving it a go and not achieving what she knows she is capable of, is still better than not trying at all. But it takes courage to try in the face of failing. Most of us dont try, to avoid failing.