Like many performers, I have fantasized about what I would say if I had the honor of accepting an award- a Tony, a Grammy, an Oscar, you name it.  That moment when the stars seem to align and other people value you the way you wish.

I remember, when I was in elementary school, I asked my mom what my special thing was. I explained to her that one friend was great at soccer, another friend was a beautiful dancer, but I didn’t know what I was good at.  And, I wanted to know. I wanted to feel special about something.  My mom didn’t list a million wonderful qualities or force my interest in a specific direction. She said something to the extent of, “One day, you will know.”

And one day, that moment did come.  I randomly decided to perform in a musical, the lead quit, and the directors had us sing in front of each other to replace her.  Everyone sang. So, when it came to me, even though I was rather shy, I sang. And, all of a sudden, I heard something that I’d never noticed before…. When I sang, my voice sounded like a SINGER.  And, from that moment forward, I worked toward embodying the dream that had awakened in me.

Now, as I continue to make this dream a reality, I think of the little girl who sang in front of the mirror, holding a pretend microphone, imagining herself wearing California Barbie’s green palm tree earrings… embarrassing, but true.  The girl who was so painfully aware that she didn’t know what she was good at and felt that everyone ELSE was something special. And, I am grateful that I found the music in me.

Still the question comes to mind, what if I don’t make it?  And, to that I ask- What is making it?  Is it getting that Grammy? Is it having millions of fans applaud you or buy your music?  Because, what if those things do happen, and you are still unhappy?  To me, “making it” is waking up each day and giving myself the opportunity to sing and create. Making it is about how I spend my time. While external acknowledgement is exciting, rewarding, and helps pay the bills, at the end of the day, it is not about that. When I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “I am doing what I love with my life,” I have made it.

I don’t think we should wait for other people to nominate us to be what we want to be. I think, if we don’t nominate ourselves, no one else will. It is like hoping to get a role in a show, but not showing up at the audition…  We can give our acceptance speeches to ourselves when we look in the mirror and accept ourselves for our strengths and weaknesses that make us who we are.  And, we certainly can thank deserving people in our lives whenever we have the chance.

So, here is my acceptance speech, as of today:

(I’m wearing an amazing dress and don’t trip up the stairs on the way to the microphone… Some person hands me an object that will be placed on my piano when I get home. I step up to the microphone and take in the cheering fans. Tears well up in my eyes. And I begin…)

“Thank you so much for this moment.  I am grateful that you recognize my hard work, passion, and commitment to myself and to my music.  Thank you to my teachers, singers who have inspired me, (agent, manager, people who made this possible, fans), and to my friends and family who have always listened and who have been a part of my journey. Thanks to my parents and grandparents for reminding me that I am something special, even before I knew it.”

(the play-out music begins and I am escorted offstage…)

Please feel free to comment below and post your own acceptance speech here if you like :)