“Roll up, roll in to the stately pleasure-dome for miracles, song, symphony and enchantment…” So begins the blurb for Xanadu, the latest show by Giffords Circus.
This weekend I spent an amazing afternoon with the family under the big top. What a spectacular performance! None of us could quite decide which was our favourite act.
I found myself wondering what makes a show like this so good, and I came up with three life skills that anyone can learn – things that I saw in every single member of the Giffords troupe.
They work hard at being the best
Performing at this level takes hours of practice. Hundreds of hours, or even thousands. And that’s just for the acts themselves – the juggling and the acrobatics and the clownery. But then the performance itself is a finely choreographed sequence of very different acts, with the entire cast doubling up as stage-hands to move equipment in and out of the ring over the course of two hours. It is exhausting to think that they deliver up to three of these performances every day, five months straight.
Being a top performer takes hard work, in any field. Do you know what your areas of improvement are? Do you know what you need to change, specifically? Then invest in yourself and spend time on these things, because you are master of your own destiny, and your performance won’t improve unless you put the effort in…
They embrace imperfection
None of the acts we saw were 100% perfect. A slip here and there, a forgotten line, a difficult acrobatic move abandoned because it just wasn’t the right day. But I remarked that even when they made these mistakes, the performers recovered gracefully and even incorporated the change into their routine.
Imperfection is part of the human condition, and recognising this is a strength. It shouldn’t stop you going out and performing. You will, inevitably, make mistakes. Do not be afraid of this – and when it does happen, make sure you acknowledge it gracefully, then learn from it to improve your performance next time you are in a similar situation.
They ENJOY what they are doing!
What a compelling example to see such a large group of people celebrating their craft. It was an absolute delight to see the entire Giffords troupe visibly enjoying the execution of their skills.
Do you enjoy the job that you do? Are you enthusiastic and keen to get stuck into your day when you wake up? Are you passionate about learning something new in your role? If not, then it may be worth thinking about the direction you are taking. Have you chosen it, or has life chosen it for you? Fundamentally you will struggle to perform well if you are not deeply motivated by enjoyment of what you do.
The best thing of course is that these three things are accessible to absolutely everyone – regardless of skill or experience level – and applicable to any profession. Three life skills that anyone can learn!
- Work hard at being good.
- Accept imperfection as part of your journey.
- Above all, do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do.
Before you realise it, you will become the example that others aspire to…
Image: Lil Rice in Xanadu © Gem Hall 2019
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