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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Back to Biz - Break a leg

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Sometimes when things go wrong, they actually turn out better than if they hadn't. Case in point: The latest production of 'Forever Plaid' at the Penobscot Theatre took an unexpected twist when, just days before the performance, one of the Plaids became hospitalized. As they say in show biz, 'The show must go on,' and it did. But rather than replacing the ailing 'Plaid' or leaving the character out of the performance altogether, the cast and crew adapted the play to not only accommodate the wheelchair-bound 'Plaid' but to make the most of the situation. The result was an amazing performance and a captive audience as the Plaids performed their numbers three of them dancing, singing and moving on two feet with the fourth Plaid singin', rockin' and wheelin' from his seat! It was as if it was planned that way from the beginning.

It reminded me of my theatre days and a production of 'Bye Bye Birdie' when I played a comedic old lady. During the opening performance I was to lean against a trash can. I leaned in a little too far and fell in. Rather than break my concentration, I acted as if that was the plan, and the audience roared with laughter as I recited my lines while my knee-high-clad legs hung over the side of the can. We kept that bit in for the entire run of the show.

This taught me a great lesson and one I carry with me today. Whether we're talking about a stage performance, business or life, best laid plans don't always turn out the way we planned. Anyone who has operated a business or tried to innovate a new product or service knows this for a fact. We will fail. But failure can lead to great success. Take for instance the inventor of the sticky note. The scientist who came up with that adhesive was working for 3M at the time and was tasked with developing a very strong new adhesive. He failed. The adhesive he came up with was so weak that it would allow one to stick paper together and easily remove it. Voila! The sticky note was born.

So, as you go about your performance, your business and your life today, don't sweat or stress about what doesn't go your way. Chances are the result will lead you to a much better outcome than you ever could have imagined. Now go and 'break a leg'!

Last modified on Thursday, 05 January 2012 09:13


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