I recently wrote about world renowned ventriloquist/singer/comedian Terry Fator. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Terry live twice. Once in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta and once at his show in Vegas. Incredibly entertaining. A super talented individual that can sing like Garth Brooks, or Louis Satchmo Armstrong, or Etta James without moving his lips. Check the guy out if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing him.
Now people see the fame. Now 51, they see that he was the winner of season 2 of America’s Got Talent. They see that he signed a $100 000 000 5-year deal at the Mirage in Las Vegas where he still performs to this day, 8 years later.
Now what they don’t see if the struggle, the test, the trials, the thousands of times he felt like quitting along the way. They don’t realize that he started practicing impersonating other singers at the age of 10. They don’t realize he started practicing being a ventriloquist as a teenager when he checked out a book on the subject from his school library. They don’t realize he travelled across the U.S. performing at carnivals, in country fairs, and elementary schools and the like. At one time he was performing at a thousand person event center in Houston and 1 person showed up. (That is not a typo….literally 1 person.) He still put on a show even though a custodian came in during his performance and started putting away chairs. Now if that wouldn’t make somebody want to quit I don’t know what would. But he persisted.
America’s Got Talent had just announced season 2 auditions for their show and he figured what the hell. I’ll send in an application. It just so happened that he was performing at an elementary school in Los Angeles the day of the auditions. Not only did he make the show but he ended up winning the entire show and taking the million dollar prize. Keep in mind that with these shows the show reserves the right to pay it out over time or have the winner take a significantly reduced lump sum payment. Just a little factoid for you guys. A few months after his victory he was hired by the Hilton in Las Vegas to headline a show. The show sold out in 4 hours. Following that they signed him to a 1-year $1.5 million dollar deal to perform weekly for a year. At one of those shows talent scouts from the Mirage were in attendance and following his 1-year at the Hilton he was signed to the 5-year mega million dollar contract with the Mirage. Keep in mind, years prior (as his dream since the age of 15 was to headline a show in Vegas) he met and performed for a group of influential show producers of Las Vegas shows who proceeded to tell him that he would never have a Las Vegas show.
Had he given up at the one of I’m sure thousands of points of resistance along the way he would never have achieved that massive levels of success he’s achieved. Getting to do what he loves to do every night and never having to worry about money again. Now we don’t all aspire to be worth over a hundred million dollars or headline a Las Vegas show but we all have goals. Something we want to achieve for a myriad of different reasons and the message is simple. Keep going. Don’t quit. Keep on constantly honing your craft. Put in the work, don’t give up and you never know when you’re big break is going to happen.