Opening number. Me, Ray, the Geoff Harvey Orchestra…and a few million people. I was young, nervous and a relatively inexperienced singer, but as I was working for Channel Nine at the time I was given the amazing opportunity to sing live on the Midday Show with Ray Martin.
I was backstage waiting, I fussed and tizzed and for some unknown ridiculous reason, I decided to change my stockings, “think I’ll go for a lighter shade of beige today” I mused. Stockings down to my knees, there’s a knock on the door and a voice suddenly calls out ‘ready to go – you’re on!’ I panicked, rushed, laddered my stockings, changed quickly into another pair (thank god for spares), raced out to follow the runner back stage to put me in position – after all this was a live show, there was no being late.
I just made it onto the platform in the studio and heard Ray’s intro, "ladies and gentle please make welcome…" and the studio audience clapped… talk about startled deer effect! I was panicked, adrenalin coursing through my body as the music began. I smiled at the camera with the little red light, and started to sing!
All was going well until the end of the song, I was inwardly frantic, internal dialogue babbling at 100 kmph…‘how many times do I repeat the chorus to the end? Is it 2 or 3?, how many times have I already sung it, is it 2 or 3? is this the last one? is there one more to go? Oh, I’m out of sync! - this is the end of the song, hit the last top note Robbi!
I went for it and attempted to belt out a top note... it cracked! - in other words my voice ‘broke’ on that top note, it was flat and horrible, and terribly obvious...inner mortification. Inside my head I’m thinking ‘keep smiling, it’s just me, just Ray… and a few million people’ – some failures are more public than others. I felt sick to the stomach, ashamed, and so bitterly disappointed.
How many of us have felt like that when we’ve ‘failed’? When we’ve been foolishly unprepared or rushed into dysfunction? Where we’ve made hasty decisions and found ourselves in the thick of it and lost a wonderful opportunity or promotion? I never did get the chance to go back onto the Midday Show (I wonder why?) but I did get to sing many more times and develop. It’s what you do after you fail that shapes the impact on your life. If I had let that one moment define me I would never had gone on to have the singing career I had.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get up that matters’. What ‘failures’ have you allowed to define you and hold yourself back from moving forward or trying again? What failures have meant that you’re remaining small and playing in the wings instead of living centre stage of your own life?
Perhaps revisiting your failures and giving yourself the gift of forgiveness is the first step to reclaiming a part of you that you buried long ago.