“Success from Failure with Julia Sweeney” written by Bren Koger.
I think one of our worst fears of public speaking is that we will get booed off stage. Well, this is exactly what happened to comedic actor, Julia Sweeney, the first time she performed as a stand up comedienne.
You might remember Julia from SNL’s (Saturday Night Live) androgynous, fictional character Pat.
The central aspect of this character was the inability of others to determine Pat’s gender.
Julia Sweeney is the actor who portrayed that character and In the book, “Great Failures of the Extremely Successful” she says that failure has been a huge contributor to her success on SNL.
She started her career by taking a stand-up comedy class and then went on to try out her act at The Comedy Store nightclub in Los Angeles. It was an open mike night and her act was a disaster. Not only were people not laughing, but they were yelling at her. They didn’t seem to get her particular brand of humor.
She was dressed as a character she named Mea Culpa, and was talking about her love of saints.The audience didn’t get that she was dressed for a part they thought this was how she really looked.
Finally people were screaming for her to get off the stage.
To make matters worse, her friend she had driven there with had performed earlier. She did so well, she was asked to come back.
As a last ditch effort to salvage the night, she decided to ask the owner if she could come back too and the owner said, “No You Were Terrible!”
Getting Success from Failure
She figured out that The Comedy Store and that type of comedy just was not her thing. So she took a break for a year and went back to accounting.
Then she read a review of the Groundlings Improvisational Company. She took a couple of their classes and she knew this was her future. This led to her being cast on SNL.
She found out through that experience that there are thousands of different ways to be funny.
And If she hadn’t failed that night, she might not have found this out.
She discovered that sometimes you need to first discover what you can’t do before you can discover what you can.
What About You?
Is there something you had your heart set on but tried and failed?
Maybe it involved a bankruptcy or a loss of a job.
If you feel a passion for something, don’t give up on it because you’ve suffered a setback. Take a tip from “Pat “and find another way to accomplish your goal. Create success from failure.
The rewards will be unimaginable.
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