I performed on stages across Australia, Taiwan and Malaysia in various song contests and talent quests. A number of these performances were broadcast on TV, and I would often take first place, or at the very least second in the Grand Finals.
Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I was good at what I did. And I loved it. From the spotlight to the applause each night, I was in the zone.
The problem was, despite my success I got very little professional - meaning paid - work.
My agents were big on promises, but nothing ever panned out.
All too often, a project was about to be produced, and then would fall through at the last moment.
It seemed to me like I was stuck as a “talent contestant,” and that no one believed in me on a professional level.
In truth, my problem was more about a deeper non-belief in myself which I was not aware of at the time, but I would come to understand later.
The constant lack of professional work – and repeated disappointment when things feel through - led me to feeling despondent.
I was angry and hurt that my dreams were not happening, no matter how much I tried.
Eventually I switched to the victim mode. “Why me?” I would often say. “I’m a good guy. Why can’t I achieve my dreams? I’m not asking too much, am I?”
I began to feel the pinch financially and had to sign up for unemployment benefits. I was not making enough money to cover my bills. For the first time in my life, I began to feel worthless.