Be a contender.

What are you waiting for?

Permission. Maybe you’re waiting for the person in charge to tap you on the shoulder and say, “It’s your turn. You’re up next.”

The problem is, how will they know you’re ready? When you step up and demonstrate it through your actions. By taking a leap and showing that you know how to play the game. The beauty is that once you’ve begun, you no longer need someone else’s permission.

A guarantee. Someone or something that promises that if you do this and fail, it won’t matter and it won’t hurt. A promise that you’ll get paid whether or not you complete your mission.

These things sound great in theory, but any project you begin without concern to failure or success is a waste of your time and energy from the beginning. Any job or project where you get paid just for showing up is effectively setting you up to fail. What is the point of bringing your best work to a task that will never recognise the value you contributed?

Often unwittingly we sit back and wait for someone else to pick us. To tell us when it’s our turn.

The people who do the picking don’t like to be wrong any more than you do. The artists who are touted as the next big thing or an overnight success are championed by people whose own reputation depends on them backing winners. They’re not amateur gamblers, who drop a few coins into a slot machine hoping that it will be their lucky day. They’re the professional poker player who knows the game intimately. Who can read the dealer, the deck of cards and the environment around them. A professional doesn’t place big bets unless she has confidence in the outcome.

If your hand is strong enough to bet on, why not pick yourself?

Choose to step up and get into the game. Nobody starts in the major league, but those who end up there do so because they train consistently to refine their skills. They form their own team and look for opportunities to engage with the competition, whether it’s at a local pickup game, a district tournament or state championship. They step out onto the court or field time and time again, knowing that there are no guarantees that they’ll win this time…but by suiting up they’ve placed themselves in contention.

Matthew Carey understands the power a song has to connect people and the insightful truth a great lyric can reveal.

Equal parts student and teacher, Matthew is dedicated to learning something new each day and thrives on sharing his knowledge and experience with others.

He has established The Business of Performing to explore ways for artists to build satisfying and sustainable careers. An inspiring community of actors, musicians, writers and creatives follow his writing online and you’re invited to join them.