I did something a little out of character last week. Something that people have been telling me to do. A friend of mine was going to audition for The Voice, and jokingly suggested I go with him… so I did.

Now, I have lots of experience auditioning for things. I did theatre as a kid and into my early 20s, and learned long ago that someone telling you you aren’t right for the part doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing – it means you aren’t right for this specific part in this specific production. So, I wasn’t worried about rejection or falling on my face or anything like that. I had a decent idea of what to expect.

What I didn’t expect was to see hundreds and hundreds of people lined up that I’d never seen before. I’ve been a part of the music scene in Atlanta for awhile, and I thought there would be at least a few other pros showing up for fun or to take a shot at getting on the show. I’m sure some of them did show up, and it was just at one of the other audition times, but I still thought I’d run into someone I recognized from playing out in town. Most people that I talked to there were just regular folks who love to sing, and had little to no experience performing.

Now, this struck me, not because I think only professionals should audition for stuff like this (far from it!), but because of the conversations I was overhearing and participating in. Dozens of the other people waiting in various lines with me were talking about auditioning for all kinds of shows – American Idol, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, X Factor, etc. and many of them had auditioned several times for these shows.  And yet, they still weren’t performing anywhere otherwise.

They were treating these shows like they were the one shot they’d have at being a real singer.

They were waiting for some producer on a reality show contest to tell them it was ok for them to sing.

These weren’t people without talent – even just warming up in the hallways, they sounded beautiful. Many of them could easily get jobs somewhere in the entertainment industry…but something has made them believe that this is the only way to do it, and if it doesn’t work this way, they just need to quit.

Who are you waiting for? 

The only person who needs to validate your dream is YOU. There isn’t a single successful person out there who hasn’t been rejected, told no, told they are talentless hacks… what makes them successful isn’t that they are better than everyone else, but that they worked their butts off and never quit.

When someone rejected them, they tried again.

When they didn’t do as well as they wanted, they trained harder and tried again.

When they were told no, they learned from the experience and tried again.

They didn’t wait for validation to do what they loved. They did it anyway.

Whose permission are you waiting for? There’s only one person who can give it to you.