the metropolitan opera

In 8th grade, my Italian teacher Mrs. Gibson asked us to read and then memorize parts of Rigoletto, Verdi’s Italian opera.

At 13-years-old, this took me over the edge because of its dense Italian (think Shakespearian English), mixed with my lack of understanding about the genius that is a) Italian opera, b) Verdi, and c) this particular story.

I grew to love hearing opera music, mostly thanks to my father-in-law who always played “La Donna è Mobile” the moment we’d sit for dinner.

So after a recent promise to myself that I would spend more time living in New York City to take advantage of all of those New York City things, I went to the Metropolitan Opera House last night to see… Rigoletto.


First, I sat in awe that Rigoletto performed at the Met in 1883. I suddenly felt super small but at the same time connected to history. 140 years later, there I was, surprised I actually remembered some lines.

Second, I sat in awe of the mastery of it all – the writing, the music, the characters, the orchestra, and those opera singers!!

At intermission, I couldn’t wait to read their bios.

I was curious if they were raised in NYC and went to LaGuardia, the “Fame” school? Or were they from Missouri and somehow made their way to one of the world’s greatest opera stages against all odds?

I’m constantly fascinated by the ambition of people who are at the top of their game – in the arts, in sports, in music, in science, in all things.

Yes, some of it is luck.

But so much of it is trust in yourself, your gifts, your abilities.

And unfettered ambition.

I know from working with some of my clients that ambition has a dark side too.

Call it a fear of success, or for some it’s ambition that’s shrouded in perfectionism.

But wanting success before you even start can ironically be the very thing that prevents you from moving ahead.


How many singers will actually make it to the Metropolitan Opera House stage?

How many authors will write best sellers?

How many business owners will sell their concept for millions?

Would you rather wonder and never start in fear that you might not make it to the top?

Or would you rather give it a go and — whether you are at the pinnacle of success (whatever that means to you) or not — at least you know you tried?

Which will your 80-year-old self prefer?

That’s who I ask whenever I’m at a crossroads, or have an idea that I want to bring to the world and it spins in the perfectionist ambition of my mind…

She usually tells me to go for it.

I hope you do too.

With fierce love, Alison