The 5 Ws & the H

Who What Why When Where & How

Every Day is Your Big Audition

“Next!” I remember my worst audition.

I flew all the way to the Big Apple for it. I borrowed a way-better-than-my-best outfit for it. I gave my all for it. The critics gave me 15 seconds.

“Next!” A disenchanted shout from the dark. I was devastated.

That abrupt rejection caught me enough off guard to shift my perspective. I realized I was treating the audition as a rarefied moment, rather than a way of being. I was bringing my best, but only in small bursts. I decided if I cared enough to fly across the country and get rebuffed, I cared enough to go back home and get it right.

I changed my way, making my big audition every day. In the past, I’d rehearsed, learned the part, memorized the words and gestures, but it wasn’t authentic or personal. I was prepared and practiced, but not actively practicing.

By classical definition, audition is the act of standing solo, onstage, brightly lit and squinting into the dark, offering up a bit of our best for a panel of critics who decide if we’ve got what they want, based on an on the spot performance.

Audition is also the powerful act of hearing. Beyond sound washing into our consciousness, it is the assimilation of information; active interpretation, analytical thinking, and authentic understanding.

There are critics everywhere. They are discerning consumers who evaluate in an instant how they will invest their time, money, attention, and enthusiasm. People are wired for sound, sounding off via word of mouth about that which captures their imagination, lending credibility to their investment. People want proof positive that they’ve made a good choice in you. They want standing-room-only sold-out evidence. They want an extended run and a reason to give you an ovation. They want you to oblige them to come back, based on your practiced and personal performance.

For leaders, the audition is the way you stand out from the competition and the way you compel awareness. The way you share with your team and your target audience irresistible attributes. It is an understanding of the scope of work made distinctive by characteristic flair. It is the attitude, the experience, and the impression you leave. It is proof positive of your personal brand.

The Big Four for Your Big Audition

Contemplation – A compelling performance is more than poise and charisma; it’s choosing material that fascinates you. What about work sparks your enthusiasm and deserves the spotlight?

Collaboration – Revel in rave reviews and consult the critics. Who do you turn to for insight, opinion, and the feedback that keeps your performance fresh?

Momentum – A great conductor uses specificity of praise to urge the most authentic performance from each unique player. How do you orchestrate individual contributions and applaud the ensemble cast?

Propulsion – Where do we go from here? Once you take the stage, use every inch of it. And while you’re at it, expand the perimeter of the spotlight and invite everyone to join you. The best part of the performance is the audience participation part.

The audition is less about the show and more about how you show up. Bring the beauty of your individual contribution to bear, extending performance beyond the boundary of the workplace and into a resonant way of being.

I decided back then to bring my big audition every day, to the best of my ability. Reliable visibility married with authentic personality.

“Next!” Bring it. We’re on.


An excerpt from Propel by Deena Ebbert

Deena Ebbert is Propellergirl, international speaker, inspirational author, and ambassador for the FISH! Philosophy. A natural leader and former opera singer, Deena travels the globe rejuvenating workplace perspective. 

Fifteen years as a top performer in Corporate America leadership and twenty plus years on the performance stage have created in Deena a witty, wry, and realistic presenter who captures hearts, minds, and imaginations. Propel is her second book.
Twitter @propellergirl

One Comment

  • Justin Power on Oct 12, 2013

    For the second year in a row, the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists included Deena in their Annual Session program. I could not have been happier to see her again. She really does just knock it out of the park every time. This blog post has been submitted to go in the New and Younger Member online newsletter for the American Association of Orthodontists. I think this is relevant for the following reasons.
    1. We orthodontists do not just make pretty smiles. We also have to lead our teams, manage our business, promote our business, and contribute to our community.
    2. Our publications are usually filled with clinical and often bland articles.
    3. Deena has a way of creating interesting reads that have a deeper meaning which is enlightening, motivating, and easily applicable.
    Deena, thank you for your contribution to our Society!