Sometimes inspiration jostles me into setting gloriously bold goals. After that initial surge of excitement, doubt might try to creep into my mind with thoughts such as, Who are you to do this? If you haven’t done it yet, what makes you think you can do it now? or So many things would have to align just right for this to happen that it would be tantamount to living a miracle. To allay my fears and take the first courageous step, all I have to do is think of Shirley Jones.
When she was a teen, Jones accompanied her parents on one of their annual trips to New York. On a whim, Jones called a friend, the former musical director of the Pittsburg Playhouse. When they got together that day, the director introduced Jones to Broadway agent Gus Schirmer. Gus heard her sing, signed her on the spot, and then took her immediately to an open audition for chorus roles in several concurrently running Rogers & Hammerstein productions. Jones had never auditioned before.
The casting director had her sing three songs. A few minutes later, another man whom Jones couldn’t see from the stage asked her to sing the same songs. She did. The second man, who just happened to be across the street working with the orchestra on Oklahoma! that day, was composer Richard Rodgers. After Jones sang for him, he told her, “You have a beautiful voice, young lady.” Then he picked up the phone, and Oscar Hammerstein was conveniently home to take the call. A few minutes later, Hammerstein arrived at the theater. Jones sang for him, too.
By no accident, it was during this time that the composers were looking for a young ingénue to play the lead character, Laurey in the movie adaptation of Oklahoma! Within a few hours of acting on a whim and calling a friend, Shirley Jones had an agent, was given a spot in the chorus of a Broadway production of South Pacific to test her stage presence, and became the only performer ever to be put under contract to Rodgers and Hammerstein so she could play the leads in the movie adaptations of the composers’ two most successful shows, Oklahoma! and Carousel.
Whenever doubts try to obscure my enthusiasm for an inspired idea, I think of how everything was so perfectly aligned for Jones to fulfill her destiny. She had one skill to hone—her singing voice. Everything else she needed to ultimately become a movie star, Oscar-winning actress, and television icon was already in place when she acted on an impulse and called a friend.
We have no reason to indulge our doubts. Before we get an inspiration, life has already set in place everything we need to fulfill it.
Hone your natural talents. Then when you feel an inspiration, even one as casual as a whim to call a friend, act on it. Miracles await.