At 23 I packed up and moved to New York City to chase my dream of being on Broadway. Since I was a freshman in high school, that was always the plan. I didn’t really think about any other eventuality BUT Broadway, fame and fortune. I’ll skip to the punch line, that you’ve probably already guessed:

Didn’t happen.

There’s a brilliant TEDtalk by a woman named Kathryn Schulz called “On Being Wrong” and I highly recommend you all take the time to watch it. Schulz is a researcher who devoted years to learning about the psychology behind being wrong, and her findings are… eye opening to say the least.

Think back. On everything. How often did the thing you think would happen actually come to pass? Like…. I mean has that EVER happened? At least, has it happened exactly in the way you imagined it would?

I came to New York and within a week, booked my first show. Then another, and another. I had callbacks for Broadway shows, was getting amazing responses at workshops, classes, open mics, etc. After about a year I scored a manager, an agent, and was in a show with the original Annie and other Broadway stars. It wasn’t entirely butterflies and rainbows, but it was all part of the plan, and life had a very clear trajectory.

Then in the fall of 2011, I blew out my voice.

And it was bad. For the next two years I couldn’t even audition, much less make it through a rehearsal process and an eight-show-a-week performance schedule.

Something else happened instead.

After years of soul searching, I decided I needed to have an adventure. I needed to do something to give my life some meaning outside of performing and singing, or I’d go absolutely crazy. I was probably dealing with mild depression, though it was never diagnosed. So I grabbed some friends and went on an adventure. A 6,000 mile road trip from Seattle allllll the way to New York City. And then we decided we should film it and make a movie! Brilliant! This was going to be the most fun experience of our lives, and we could make something incredibly meaningful not just for us, but for the people who watched.

Turns out, two years later, we’re still working on the film, which has proven to be a much more difficult endeavor than we expected, footage got damaged, and the trip itself – while amazing – definitely tested our friendships. I thought this would be the beginning of a successful film production company.

Something else happened instead.

Most recently, I’d booked my first ever solo-trip to Iceland, Copenhagen, Sweden and Norway for my birthday. I was just a week out from having the biggest adventure of my entire life, and I broke my leg rock climbing in Hawaii and had to cancel both that trip AND a subsequent trip to Australia with my brother. I should be checking in for that flight right now.

Something else happened instead.

But here’s the good part: without blowing out my voice, I never would’ve gone on that trip. Without going on that trip I’d never have found my love for rock climbing. Without my love for climbing I’d have never traveled to all these amazing places. Without that travel I’d never have started travel hacking and earning points to use on adventures. And if I’d never broken my leg, I wouldn’t have started focusing on what I want from the rest of my life in the way I have over these past seven weeks. Turns out, crushed expectations can lead to some really great opportunities!

So the really big lesson here is to let go of those expectations. About EVERYTHING. Because not only do I have no idea what’s coming down the pipeline, but I’m almost always COMPLETELY WRONG about what that’s going to be. We all are. I mean listen. I SUCK at this. Hard. But the beauty is in the mess of it. Acknowledging where you struggle is the first step towards changing your actions. And what better way to enjoy the moment than to surrender to the fact that ANYTHING can happen? I mean how cool is that when you actually think about it?

Right now I’m working on a business plan to open a climbing gym. That’s my dream. But no matter how hard I work, how meticulously I plan, how obsessively I research, there’s only one thing I can be sure of:

Something else could happen instead.

And… I’m ok with that.

Live Adventurously,
Andrew

PS here’s the link to Kathryn Schulz’s TEDtalk. It’s worth it: Kathryn Schulz – On Being Wrong

One thought on “And Something Else Happened Instead

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