Strength is found in adversity.
When they close down the feis you've trained for all year, train for next year.
When they close down the school you train in, train at home.
When the shows are forced to cancel tours, train for the next tour.
"Luck" is when preparation meets opportunity. Sometimes those opportunities don't pan out when you think they will -- success is never a straight line -- but your focus should always be on readiness. Hard work can create its own opportunities.
2020 has tested the #IrishDance industry -- indeed, the arts in general -- in ways not seen for over a hundred years. Consider it: this is literally a once-a-century trial. How sweet does the success taste at the far end of this ordeal?
Survive. Focus. Believe in yourself. You will *not* break. The harder the road gets -- the more the trials themselves seem ordained, what you are called upon to endure -- the greater the achievement at the end. The creator of commercial #IrishDancing, Michael Flatley, worked as a plumber and a construction worker -- literally digging ditches to survive -- for twenty-five *years* to become an "overnight" success.
This message is especially important for those of you training in Irish dance schools all over the world right now who are wavering. Maybe you compare yourself to the other kid who wins all the trophies. Maybe you think it'd just be easier if you did something else. Maybe, whispers that voice in your head...you're just not good enough.
Lace up your shoes and get to work.
Understand this: *everyone* has that voice in their head. That voice will *always* be with you, no matter what you choose to do in life. If you leave Irish dancing and pursue something else, that voice will still be inside you.
This moment in time -- 2020, and into 2021 -- is when you find yourself. Because the right of way doesn't go to the strongest, the biggest, or the prettiest: it goes to the ones who *work* the hardest.
What makes a champion is someone who hears that tiny voice in the back of their mind and doesn't even slow down.
Give yourself permission to *win.*
One day, the person onstage in this photograph will be you. It has to be *someone* -- so why not you?
*Make* it you.
Feet of Flames Taiwan: December 2020.
Planet Ireland arises: 2021.