"This kid is special."
This was my thought just a few lines into the first verse from 12-year-old Grace VanderWaal during her audition on America's Got Talent.
Within minutes, the audience and the judges were rabid fans, with judge Howie Mandel granting young Grace his one Golden Buzzer which sent her directly to the live shows.
In addition, judge Simon Cowell predicted she will be the next Taylor Swift, also commenting "What a sweet girl!"
After checking out her many YouTube videos, I see a 12-year-old singing about her own life through 12-year-old eyes. To hear her on-stage communicating with the judges in front of thousands of eyes (with millions more at home watching), she comes (heartwarmingly) off as a wide-eyed kid who accepts all compliments graciously.
Where does the vulnerability kick in?
For her audition, she sang a song she wrote.
Very few in 'reality show' history have done it effectively.
To expect the world to appreciate something YOU created, in a 2-minute time-frame, the first time they lay eyes on you, is tough.
Earlier this week, in her first appearance since that audition...she did it again.
This time she sang a song she wrote about her 15-year-old sister...whom she adores.
Vulnerability is defined as "susceptible to being wounded or hurt".
Knowing how delightful on-line trolls can be (if my tongue was any farther in my cheek, it would burst through), for Grace to do something this risky for criticism takes courage the size of Mount Everest.
How about YOU?
Are YOU letting the world hear your true song?
Are you out there using your skills and talents the best you can, even if it means risking criticism from others?
Are you afraid to be all that you can be, sharing your true feelings with the world because you are afraid of what other people will say about you?
It's not always easy to be ourselves.
The world often seems filled with critics and bullies who are ready to pounce on anything 'different', launching a bandwagon of commentary to tear down whatever they wish, because they seem to derive joy in throwing stones and stirring the cauldron of hate.
I'd rather be in the front row, cheering on people like Grace VandwerWaal for having the guts to take the stage and open her soul, accompanied by a ukulele, for all to hear.
This kid is special.
You're special too.
Will you let the rest of the world know that today?
Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health.