Are You Throwing Away Your Shot?

Hamilton Playbill

Many motivational speakers, myself included, are passionately interested in knowing how a person, with little or no resources, can achieve extraordinary outcomes in life. Said another way, how do people achieve results that seem to defy logic?

A perfect place to look for the answer to this question is in the theater.

In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit, Hamilton, one of his most memorable and powerful songs is, “My Shot.” (Lyrics and meaning here.) It refers to what the fearless nineteen year-old Hamilton views as his shot at glory when our country was on the brink of the American Revolution.

I remember watching the performance of this song in New York recently and being deeply moved by it. In the number, Hamilton is unequivocal. He has absolutely no doubt that this is his time and defiantly declares that he is NOT throwing away his shot. He is poor, has no education, no experience and no connections, and yet (and here’s the golden key) he is “…passionately smashin’ every expectation.”

“Passionately smashin’ every expectation.”

Have you ever shared your goal or dream with someone, only to hear a response like, “You can’t do that?” “That will never work.” “You don’t have the brains, talent, money, time, whatever, to make that happen.” OR – have you ever heard yourself say those very words to yourself? We all have. But regardless of who is doing the naysaying, when you notice it’s happening you must change your thinking. Right then. In that moment. Simply say to yourself: “Okay, stop. A poor skinny, hungry, orphaned immigrant kid from the Caribbean came to this country in 1772 and helped positively change American history forever. I’ve got way more going for me than he did. I’ve got this.”

And then, right out loud, to anyone listening, raise your voice and declare,

“I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation and I’m NOT throwing away my shot!

Oh yeah. You are just that good.  

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A Smiling Linda Larsen

About Author Linda Larsen, CSP, CPAE

I became a professional actress and – for actual money – I got to occasionally escape to magical worlds created by everyone from Shakespeare to Moliere; from Shaw to Simon. I became a member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild and, as such, joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of mostly unemployed starving actors. But I didn’t care! I was an actor!!! I had an actual Master of Fine Arts Degree that PROVED, by gosh, that I was supposed to know what I was doing.

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