Have you been struggling to move ahead or feel like you haven’t quite reached the greatness you feel you’re here to achieve? Here’s my thoughts around ‘Failure To Launch.
Firstly, here’s my story.
I’m a Maori girl from Tainui. My people are from a sub tribe of Te-atiawa called ‘Ngati Rarua’
I’m one of the direct descendents of our Tipuna, Rarua Oi Oi and our people, while they started up around Taranaki, found their home in the top of the South Island.
My mum grew up in Pa in Blenheim and met my father there. They were both in performing arts. My father had already been married and I have 6 older siblings 3 of whom are all involved with Maori issues. Brother Richard, GM of Rangitane, Brother Butch – former radio and TV presenter is the CEO of Ngati Apa and Brother Michael is a carver, former owner of Shark Nett Gallery and activist fighting for fishery and land rights for Rangitane o Kaituna.
My whanau on my father’s side are all loud, outgoing, fabulous. If you’ve ever been to Blenheim and mentioned the name Bradley, people will either roll their eyes or be energised. Or ready to fight.
My mothers side, the Phillip’s, are funny, very intrenched in their connection to their relatives: the McDonalds, the Loves, The Greys, the McGregors – in fact, chances are if you do go to Blenheim, most of the town are my relatives.
I didn’t grow up there though. I grew up as an only child in Wellington, my fathers 2nd family.
I was a pretty happy kid, spoke in sentences from the age of 1 – in fact, I spoke in sentences before I could walk!! I grew up around adults, so had an incredible vocabulary and understanding of words and language.
I was also pretty overweight and when I ended up at school, I got introduced to the nasty mouth of the bully.
I didn’t know a lot about my Maori side until I went to the Pa for my grandmothers Tangi when I was 7 or 8. It was a completely different world for me. Everybody was my cousin. We played in the long grass out the back, we all ate together and supported each other through the grief of losing Grandma.
Then back home and back to the bullies.
Not long after that my parents knew that the bullying was really affecting my self confidence and could see that when I spoke, sung or performed at school, I found my safe place. I could escape and play a character: I seemed to sparkle! So that’s when I started my training as a performer.
I started with speech and drama training and not long after that, Tap dancing. As I was overweight and HATED exercise, Tap dancing was a fun way to add a bit of cardio vascular workout into your day without thinking of it as exercise!
We didn’t have a lot of money. My father, at this stage, was only partially sighted and had health problems due to diabetes. I have no idea how they could even pay for my tuition, but it’s something they did to help me find my confidence.
I started to really excel in performing arts and at Intermediate really found my feet as a performer and had a great group of teachers who believed in me and nurtured my talents. We ended up going into a recording studio when I was 12 and I recorded my first songs. It was amazing and lead me to start learning singing with an opera coach. Back then, children were not trained as singers, so this was pretty big deal!!
I was still hit by bullies right up even into my college days. It seems that everyone liked to give me their opinion on how I lived my life, how I looked, that I needed to lose weight, that I was useless, that I was a show off…..and everything else you can imagine.
Words are more powerful than we realise.
While we might think ‘they’re just like water off a ducks back’, they can easily chip away at your self confidence, especially if you don’t know who you are, what you stand for, what your gift is and your purpose here in the world!! Now those are big things to consider when you’re a kid and it seems it’s only something I have managed to work out now: Hindsight is wonderful right?
The one thing I knew was, as a performer, the bullies couldn’t touch me. They would either be laughing at a joke I just pulled, or they couldn’t get up on stage and speak or sing in front of 700 kids like I could.
Like it was natural for me. It was certainly the place I belonged.
I lost my dad at 18 and felt I couldn’t leave my Mother to head to broadcasting school – which – was always my plan – so stayed in Wellington and did a degree in Theatre and Film and a diploma in Film and TV production at TVNZ. It wasn’t her choice, it was mine.
I’ve worked on and off in film and tv since I started out and have pretty much worked for myself for the best part of 20 years.
Over those years, I never felt I reached my potential. And the only one I have to blame is ME. In fact I blame ME for both my greatest failure and my greatest success.
I admit this: I allowed other people’s voices and opinions take over my life. Sometimes this was great: sometimes it was a failure.
At one stage someone asked me if I liked kids. In my family where there are about 50 grandkids on my dad’s side alone, you can’t help but like them – they’re everywhere!!! As a performer, it was second nature for me to act out kids stories to keep them amused. The person suggested I get into Children’s entertainment and I ended up running a relatively successful children’s educational business for around 15 years. I won awards for my work and admit, I did love it. I also owned my own performing arts school, empowering kids through performance and loved watching their transformation. It was something my parents and teachers had given me, so it seemed like my responsibility to do this for others.
In both instances when I tried to grow those businesses, following the advice of others instead of listening to my own innate wisdom, those businesses failed and I ended up closing them down.
I’ve worked professionally as a musician, and for the last 4 years have co-owned a digital marketing company. I’ve appeared in a number of TV commercials and been feature as a voiceover artist, MC’d massive events around NZ, toured with theatre companies and have really enjoyed all my work, but nothing really ‘took off’ for me in the way I truly felt it could. I felt like something was holding me back: Like I had failure to launch.
So I spent some time asking: What or WHO is holding me back?? The answer is pretty obvious: it was me.
About 18 months ago, I landed a TV presenters role for a TV shopping channel. I LOVED IT and felt like I finally found my place! I was working with amazing people like Mike Puru, Karen Teague and Marnie Oberer…….people I had stalked on TV………and finally, something seemed different. Finally my natural personality traits, my ability to talk and years of training had VALUE.
Around the same time, my partner Pete and I had been delving into Live Streaming and how to use it to help our digital marketing clients to help them get better results with their marketing and from this: YOURFIXTV was born. A platform where I get to share ideas and talk.
A year later, we are now working solely as a TV production company, broadcasting businesses, products and people to the world through social channels. Not only do I love it, but I’ve discovered that using the strength of my natural personality traits has been my single biggest success yet.
For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m home.
The success I’m seeing and the fast growth of my business is simply a by-product of being the right me, in the right skin, in the right place, doing the right thing, that’s perfect for me.
So the reason for today’s topic is that in my opinion, failure to launch: whether it’s moving into a new job, becoming a business owner, making life changes or simply choosing a new focus in your life is sometimes governed by the fact that we have allowed the voices of others to choose or influence our path. Often we don’t want to disappoint our family…..We don’t want to cause chaos by making changes…..we don’t want to stand out….or simply, we have allowed other peoples dialogue become the inner monologue that you use to live your life.
We all know what it’s like right? When we listen to someone for long enough telling us we’re useless, we’re overweight, we’re stupid………words are powerful. Those statements, seep into our subconscious.
What we forget sometimes is that we always HAVE choice, and that those voices and opinions are someone else’s version of you and your life. How does that work for you? I know, for me it sucked, and finally putting those bullies and opinions to rest, listening to my own inner wisdom, trusting that I only choose activities, events and roles that suit me and my strengths and celebrating my GIFT or my GENIUS – which is to talk – has been my winning formula. I can speak for others when they can’t and it’s taken until my 40’s to work this out! On the flipside, at least I’ve found my answer – and I’m loving the results.
So finally: do you feel like you’ve got failure to launch?
Do you have a fear of failure? My answer: would you rather look back on your life and realise that you never tried anything and reached your greatest results OR look back and think: I gave it a damn good go!
Do you sacrifice yourself for family and friends? While we love our family and friends are they in your skin? YOU are the captain of your own ship.
Are you plagued with inferiority complex? Are you in a situation where you believe that others are stronger leaders, have better ideas, and are more equipped to achieve success? Why are you comparing yourself to others? Einstein said, ‘it’s like judging a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree’!! WORK ON YOU, your genius and the value your genius can add to the world.
We can only break through these barriers by helping ourselves. You are the common denominator in both your failure and your success in launching your life and achieving your greatness.
SO, from me to you:
- Be yourself. Be fabulous and make no excuses for being awesome. As Dr Seuss said, ‘No-one is you’er, than you’, so own it.
- Trust your instincts. I learnt in theatre, your first response is the right response. WE know in ourselves the answers.
- Embrace mistakes. Everytime I make one I have a motto: fail forward fast. If something is not working, change it and find your winning formula. It IS achievable: it just takes commitment to yourself and ensuring your awesome inner voice is the loudest.