How to Fail at Something You’re Really Good At

Opening to critical acclaim, “Sparkle” hit the theaters this weekend. I have no doubt if you like the tear-jerker genre, you’re probably gonna love this movie. Not just because of an emotion filled plot but also because of what this movie represents–a sad ending to a life overflowing with potential.

Cruising down the road during my high school days, I’d listen to Whitney Houston’s smooth tones resonating over the radio. Hers was truly a gift. It had to be to make her voice sound that awesome through my car’s cheap, metallic-sounding, distortion-prone, no-name speakers.

But no matter how incredible it was, that gift didn’t keep her life from spiraling out of control until it hit rock bottom in a hotel bathroom just a few months ago. In fact, it probably led her there.

We’ve all heard this same story over and over again only with different names in the tagline. But it doesn’t just happen to singers and movie stars.

Every day teachers, athletes, pastors, government officials, writers, artists, and on and on, lose their way in the talent God gave them. We just don’t hear about it because they’re not ultra-famous.

And each time I hear the story I wonder, “How?” How does someone so talented with a God-given gift allow that talent to literally consume them?

The common thread I see is this: once the focus of the gift becomes you instead of what you are supposed to do with it, you take a first step onto the same slippery slope Whitney stepped. And without something in place to catch you, further down the slope you’ll slide.

So how do you fail at something you’re really good at?

  1. Allow your gift, whatever it is, to be all about you, and
  2. Allow for no accountability to keep you grounded in reality.

Of course this begs another question–how do you succeed at something you’re really good at?

  1. Use your gift the way God, the gift giver, intended it to be used, and
  2. Surround yourself and listen to people who genuinely care for you in order to stay grounded in who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

Who can imagine the total success Whitney could have had if she’d not taken that first step or if she’d had someone in her life to keep her from taking one more?

Today you have Whitney’s choice. Where will your potential take you? A step in one direction leads to complete destruction. A step the other way, to astounding success.

Live The Mission,