|Photo credit: Paula Broome Photograhy|
Winning and losing
In my new book Scissors, Sisters and Manic Panics my heroine, Sadie Nathanson is absolutely determined to win the Thames Gateway Junior Apprentice Hairdresser (or Barber) of the Year Award. Although you’ve got to admire her spirit and determination she realises at various moments that she’s more-or-less sacrificed everything in order to give herself the best possible chance to reach that goal. I’m not going to spoil things for you and tell you whether or not she succeeds(!) but her actions do pose the question – what happens when you don’t win? Is it really the end of the world?
Go to any childrens’ party these days and you will witness children WINNING. All of them. There is a moment in your life when you are simply unable to bare the disappointment of losing at ANYTHING. Children of a certain age become fiercely competitive – they have to be first at everything, and to some extent parents these days pander to this and just let them go right ahead and win. It’s perfectly understandable – who wants a room full of crying children who’ve just ‘lost’ at musical statues? Much better to give everybody a sweetie when they’re ‘out’ and tell them they’re a winner. But of course this is just prolonging the inevitable. As soon as a child sets foot in the gates of a school, it is most likely that they will get their first taste of ‘not winning’ – losing even. And this is just the beginning of a long path where you fail and you pick yourself up and you start again.
If you work in a creative industry then it’s much more extreme. It’s the best of times and the worst of times, and it’s a sad fact that, unless you are blessed by good fortune, you will ‘lose’ many times over if you want to write, act, sing, dance or play music. But is losing such a negative thing? Or is the old adage ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ a truism?
As far as I’m concerned the path to success in a creative industry is not straightforward and it’s also not for the faint-hearted. Self-belief is key, as is energy and enthusiasm for what you’re doing. After a set-back; getting right back up, dusting yourself down and counting your blessings keep you in the game. And a memory of ‘recovering from failure’ is the most important lesson of all. A friend of mine who recently won a BAFTA - often judged as the pinnacle of many creative careers - spent much of her thirties on the phone to me weeping about various career failures. In fact we wept in unison! But she worked her way to success and now, whenever she has a set-back, the knowledge that she has that ability is enough to keep her going.
So perhaps winning isn’t about the end result at all:
If you are knocked down but find it in yourself to come back for more then you are truly successful.
Make sure you check out the rest of the tour - details are below!
And make sure you have a go at her hair-quiz: http://girlswholikewords.polldaddy.com/s/ssmp-quiz