Success Principles We Can Learn From American Idol

by financialmom

in Money, Success Principles

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I admit it, I am a big fan of American Idol. And I know I’m not alone, as well over half of our church congregation raised their hands during the sermon last Sunday when asked if they watch the show.

My kids say I should be the new judge to replace Simon Cowell on American Idol. Maybe it has to do with the comments I feel compelled to share  after every performance whether anyone wants to hear them or not icon smile Success Principles We Can Learn From American Idol .

There are many success principles we can learn from American Idol, that can be applied to our personal life, our businesses, and even as a investor. 

Let’s start with what happens in American Idol:

The American Idol Experience

You most likely travel for hours, maybe across several states, to audition. You wait outside for hours on the sidewalk to get in, and probably get the privilege of sleeping overnight on the sidewalk.  You are herded into an arena, and you wait.  And wait, and wait.

When it’s finally your turn to audition, you will have to get by several producers with your audition first. Not everyone gets to the official judges.  (You’ve seen the thousands of unique people  that show up for auditions – most of them never get within a mile of the official judges.)

If you are very fortunate, you may be one of the few who get a ticket to Hollywood.  You are ecstatic, and wave that golden ticket like it gets you into heaven. What really happens in Hollywood, however, has been described as the worst thing contestants have ever gone through in their lives.  You get no sleep, you have to perform in groups with a bunch of  strangers you don’t like, and still somehow shine for the judges.

If you manage to make the final 12 and the big stage, the fun really begins. You get to sing songs from a genre you can’t stand (like country, and somehow act like you love the experience), dress in clothes you would never ever wear in a million years, get funky hair and makeup to make you look “current”, and take what seems like unending criticism from the judges.  You live in horror of being eliminated.  You watch as new friend after new friend goes home.

Doesn’t that sound like a fabulous experience???   You have learned some of the most important principles of success, which are . . .


Gina Glocksen says whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. A bit harsh, but it gets the point across.  Gina made it to the top 10 in Season 6, after trying out in Season 2, Season 5, and in two different cities in Season 6 before she made it to the big stage.  Gina says sometimes you have to go the extra mile, and we all need to hang in there and not give up.

Be Prepared

You have to remember Ruben Studdard, the winner from Season 2.  Ruben never wanted to be anything but a singer. Ruben was in several bands before he agreed to accompany a friend to the American Idol auditions, to support her.

They slept on the sidewalk, and a producer woke him the next morning, asking if he was there to audition.  Still half asleep, he mumbled yes.  Before he knew it, he was auditioning for the judges, and the rest is history, because Ruben had been preparing for this moment for years.

Ask For Your Dream

Melinda Dolittle was completely tone deaf, and was let into her grammar school choir only because she had charisma. They asked her to lip-sync. When Melinda was 12, she told her mother she was going to sing in the talent show at church one month later.  Her mother told her to start praying.

The day of the talent show, Melinda sang on perfect pitch, and church members called the pastor afterwards, saying it wasn’t fair to let Melinda lip-sync in the talent show. After that day, doors opened for Melinda,  she became a backup singer, and eventually entered American Idol.  She finished top 10 in Season 6.  Melinda says without God, she is tone deaf.

Visualize Your Success

Carmen Rasmussen’s mom told her for years -  if she wanted something to happen, she had to see it in her mind first. In 2002 Carmen made it to Hollywood, only to be cut.  Her mom couldn’t understand it, as she was sure Carmen would make the top 12.   She told Carmen to visualize how she would act if she made the top 12.

A few months later, after the show started, Carmen was called back to participate in the Wild Card show. Carmen was picked as the Wild Card for the top 12, and went on to finish the show in 6th place.  Practice experiencing your success in your mind to make it happen.

Give Back

Carrie Underwood is arguably the most famous of all the American Idol winners, and has won award after award for her singing. But Carrie says the most important thing to happen to her was the year she went to Africa for Idol Gives Back.  The purpose of the trip was to visit some of the poorest people in South Africa, and give back to them.

Carrie feels the experience has changed her forever – she now appreciates each day she is given much more, and says giving back results in receiving much more than you give.

For more fun success stories from American Idol, read the book Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul, or download my Intelligent Investing show on this topic from ITunes.

New Profile Pic 2599R Success Principles We Can Learn From American IdolPamela Otten is CEO of Pamela Otten LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. She loves to work with women business owners and entrepreneurs, and women in transition due to job change, death, or divorce. Pamela will help you set and reach your financial goals, educate you to understand your investments, and teach you how to do more charitable giving. Pamela is a Qualified Kingdom Advisor (, trained and committed to integrating biblical principles with her investment advice.

cc smallest Success Principles We Can Learn From American IdolPhoto Credit - kwalk628

Financial Planning, Investment Advice, and Investment Management provided through Pamela Otten LLC, Registered Investment Advisor.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

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