Earlier this year, my daughter received a small part in a community theater production of The Little Mermaid. A very small part. Remember the seagull who thinks that a fork was a hairbrush? My daughter was one of his backup singers (also a seagull), and she had exactly one line: “Awk!”
She had worked on her audition monologue and song for weeks. Because she was one of the younger kids trying out for the show, I knew that she wouldn’t get a big role. I worried, however, about her reaction when she found out that her line – “Awk! – would take her as much time to memorize as it would to say. Would she be upset? Would she be angry? Would she want to quit the show entirely?
Her reaction? Utter rapture. As soon as she learned about the casting, she began practicing her “Awk!” endlessly – experimenting with different pitches, volumes, levels of screechiness. She was the most enthusiastic backup seagull I had ever seen, approaching every practice and the performances with tremendous excitement. And her energy was contagious. When I picked up her after the show, older kids cheerfully sang out “Awk!” whenever they saw her.
Watching my daughter approach her tiny role with such sheer joy, I began to wonder: Why don’t I have that kind of attitude toward my work? Continue reading Approaching Our Work with Joy