During last year’s commencement ceremony for the University of San Francisco’s College of Arts & Sciences, comedian, Bill Cosby served as the guest speaker.
In his address to the graduates, Cosby reminded the students to push through obstacles in order to reach their potential.
To illustrate his point, Cosby shared about his first real opportunity to make it big as a stand up comedian. It happened back in Chicago, where he was hired to headline at a popular club for $740 a week. Big money back in the day.
“I knew I could go there ’cause I was good!” he said.
After having the red carpet rolled out for him by the club, Cosby stepped out onto the stage and was horrible. He bombed!
He told the story, “The room felt heavy. I felt heavy. I began to understand: I had no business in this nightclub.”
Cosby offered the club-owners their money back after the show, and promised to quit comedy and become a teacher. The owners nodded, agreed that he’d stunk, and told him to get back on stage for the second show.
“I stayed, still feeling heavy,” Cosby said.
This time, instead of announcing Cosby as “America’s fastest rising new comic” as before, the announcer simply told the audience his name.
Cosby stepped onstage as the curtain rose and demanded, “Where was my intro?” The announcer replied, “Obviously, you didn’t see the first show!” And the two began to banter.
“I was back!” Cosby told the graduates. “I was brilliant!
Had it not been for the words of some club owner in Chicago who said, “Get back in there and try it again,” the world would have lost a brilliant comic.
As a leader, might there be someone in your circle of influence who needs to hear you say, “Get back in there and try it again?”
Is there an area where you, yourself, need to have a do-over? If so, dust yourself off and get back in there and give it another shot. And of course, encourage someone else toward their dream too.
We all bomb from time to time, but we must not quit. For we never arrive at greatness without picking up a few scars along the way.
Stay the course, and soon someone might be saying of you, “She’s back, and she was brilliant.”
Is there a place in your life where you have given up and need to reconsider?