I have confidence to spare, but that doesn't mean I'm great at everything I do. I don't make a record expecting to go platinum. I make music because something inside me is aching to get out, not because I have to make the top ten on the Billboard charts (although a hit is always nice). My first records only went gold, but they were enough to launch a twenty-year career. One of the albums I did, Order in the Court, didn't turn out like I'd hoped. To be honest, it was pretty mediocre. The record label was going through a whole regime change, and the album didn't get the kind of support it could have. And musically, I was trying to do something a little different that didn't quite work. But I was okay with that, because I know I gave it everything I had, and the experience taught me things that made me better.
My talk show wasn't a raving success, either. If it was, I'd still be doing it. Things got really heavy with my guests and the studio audience. Every day I felt like a doctor going into the ER, and you lose patients sometimes. It's exhausting, because after that you have to go home, process what happened, dust your-self off, and come into work the next day ready to save lives again. Again, I tried my best. But you can't beat Oprah at her game.
The movies I made weren't always huge box office or critical successes. Sure, I want them to earn millions at the box office on opening weekend, but it doesn't always work out that way. I show up on time, pre- pared and ready to go. I remember my lines, hit my marks, and deliver my performance to the best of my ability, with all the heart, authenticity, and emotion that the role requires. I work well with my co-workers, shoot the stills, go on the press junkets, and do everything I can to promote the movie in every possible way. I can't say what the studio does or what the director, producer, or some other actor does, but I sleep at night knowing I did my best. If a particular movie doesn't go so well, I can't say anything about the audience. Maybe ours was released in eight hundred theaters and another one was released on the same day in two thousand theaters. But two years later, if people find it on cable and decide it's their favorite movie from me, I'll know it's because I did my best. It's going to show.
It might not be when or how you want it to happen, but you don't have to feel bad about it. Try your best, then you can let that thing go and try something else. Just be sure to finish what you start. See it all the way through, and don't give up so easily. It's human nature to want immediate satisfaction, but sometimes these things work out best on God's schedule, not your own. And sometimes His plan is a lot more interesting than anything we can come up with ourselves. It's hard to see it at the time, but maybe losing a job is a blessing, because it frees you up to pursue something that you find more fulfilling. Maybe you wouldn't have done it if your back hadn't been against the wall.
You don't have to love just one thing or have only one career. Don't be like my scared ass friends when we were on tour in Europe. Don't take the McDonald's approach to your life's work. Sure, the familiar is comforting, but it's also boring. You'll miss out on so much flavor in life. Order up a few tapas dishes. Taste something new on the menu!