We live in an era where people are encouraged to vigorously pursue their dreams, as if hard work and perseverance will always lead to success. But, that’s a fallacy and Patrick Egersborg, an opera singer and actor, is living testament to it. Egersborg began writing a blog, Give Up Your Dream, after failing to find the kind of success he’d hoped to achieve. Although he secured some work, it wasn’t sufficient to make a living and he spoke movingly of his frustrations at failing to fulfil a childhood ambition, on BBC Radio 4.
This is a familiar story in the arts world, but it struck a chord because Egersborg admitted his problem lay not just in his inability to secure the roles he coveted, but also in his attitude. He was never satisfied with the, “small crumbs of achievement” and was driven by an ego, which craved recognition from the opera industry. When success failed to materialise, his whole personality was affected and his inability to deal with rejection, led him to write the blog. He eventually realised that contentment lay in detaching from his ego, and transcending the need to seek validation from others. He also managed to balance his creative pursuits with a stable job in a law firm.
I was drawn to Egersborg’s story because I had also passed through a period of dissatisfaction with my professional achievements. Having enjoyed a successful career, my upward trajectory suddenly stalled and plummeted. Without warning, I was unemployed with plenty of fire in my belly. As time wore on and my aspirations drifted beyond reach, I despaired at the prospect of never fulfilling my potential. This was compounded by an ego, which wreaked havoc with my self-worth. A breakthrough eventually arrived in the shape of God.
Throughout my life, faith had proved itself to be a turbocharged-engine, propelling me forward and pushing open doors. This meant I expected God to lead me on a linear path and was bewildered to find myself lying at the bottom of the pile. As there was no doubt in my mind that God was behind events, I couldn’t understand my misfortune. Unable to make sense of the situation, I wondered if perhaps I was due a lesson in humility or needed to tame my ego? Eventually, God enlightened me. He explained that I had wrongly assumed my potential lay solely in my profession. In fact, it lay far beyond my profession and He asked me to change my self-perception, if I wanted to fulfil my promise.
Mystified by the message and exhausted by efforts to regain a foothold in an industry, which had discarded me, I made a life-changing decision. I let God take the reins and settled back to see what would happen if I did nothing. Through a sequence of unsolicited events, I found myself back in the profession I loved, whilst simultaneously thrust into new arenas. My horizons gradually shifted and fresh opportunities arrived, with a tantalising foretaste of the future. Suddenly, my limited aspirations looked pitiful amongst the cacophony of possibilities on offer and I understood what God meant when He said, “Dream Big!”