Sunday, December 09, 2007

The worst performer in the Christmas party karaoke line-up

On Friday I took part in a karaoke competition at my work’s Christmas party. The thing is, I’m not a good singer and I know it. In fact, I was so bad I was probably the worst performing artist in that line up. The kind that leaves the judges and audience stunned, but fascinated in a very sick way:-)

Anyway, I got into this mess through my fellow-journalists. It was maybe an hour or two before deadline, and they were nagging me that I had to enter the competition because they were entering. It was to be done in the name of team-spirit and all that nonsense.

You know when your child keeps nagging and saying “please” and you’re concentrating on something else, and finally you absently say “yes” just so the buzzing noise will go away?

By the time the full implications of what I agreed to sank it, the party planners already had my name in the official programme. I felt I would be a bad sport for pulling the plug at the last minute. But boy; was I nervous!

That night (before the party) Baby and I had quite a lot of fun practicing the song I was to perform.

Yes, I know "Barbie Girl" was a very strange selection, but I've already admitted I was not in my right mind:-)

Anyway, the stakes went even higher when I heard, at the Christmas party that it was actually a serious “Idol” type competition and there would judges and prizes. First prize was a weekend stay at a hotel and there was also lots of champagne and some luxury chocolates for the second and third prize winners....

I think that's when I decided to stop worrying about my performance and to go on stage and just be silly and have some fun. Clearly I was not in the running for a major prize. I was also the only one who could control whether I enjoyed the Christmas party, and my performance, or not.

The party also reminded of some very important lessons:

Sometimes it’s okay to be silly/do badly: I’m not a good singer and have no great dreams to be one. So it does not matter in the great scheme of life that I did badly.

But failing publicly is another matter, especially for someone who is somewhat shy as I am. My bad performance however showed me that sometimes people react to the attitude of the person who failed, not the failure itself.

Because I didn’t care, and thought it was all silly, they did too and laughed with me. If I had been embarrassed because of my failure, some people would have been concerned on my behalf, tainting the experience.

I should get out of your comfort zone whenever possible: I’ve never done karaoke before and never performed musically in public. And lately, as I grow older, I’ve become less adventuresome.

But the Christmas party reminded me of the young woman I used to be, who hiked up to Mount Aux Sources (the highest peak in SA), took golfing lessons ( was bad at it) Chinese painting lessons (found it soothing) and went on road trips over parts of Southern Africa with friends at a drop of a hat.

Use the experience for future work – I’ve read my children’s stories in public/at festivals and would like to do more of that. This experience will help me gain more confidence, and put myself out there for more readings.

Personal development - It will also remind me, when I’m nervous about a presentation or speech or something, that no matter how badly it goes, I will survive. During those moments when you’re overwhelmed by nerves, that’s a nice thing to know.

Teach my child to deal with failure - I don't think as parents we do this enough.However, failure is an inevitable part of learning, and the better equipped you are to deal with it, the more willing you are to try new things and adapt your strategies when things don't go according to plan.

P.S. As a karaoke participant, I also won Beacon’s Superfine Luxury Truffles, which family and friends enjoyed over the weekend.

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