The Woman in the Arena

Adele via Vogue Magazine

If you are currently alive, conscious and lucid in the year 2012 then you will probably know who Adele is.

I  am a fan. For a number of reasons. Including this one – her definition of power:

I define power now by having the confidence to make your own decisions and not be swayed by other people. To be brave and fearless to know that even if you make the wrong decision, you made it for a good reason.

This is a statement from Adele’s interview and covershoot for Vogue Magazine. You can check out the rest below.

Earlier this month, I gave some serious thought to what authenticity feels like. What are those moments when our individual self-worth is reflected back to us when we face ourselves in the mirror? Those moments are different for everyone. But what they have in common is that those who experience them have courage. A willingness to unleash themselves from what they “should” do or “should” be. The challenge: vulnerability. The reward: an authentic self.

I think Adele personifies that. There is no doubt that Adele doesn’t fit the mould. She isn’t a carbon copy – in voice, spirit or body – of the musical starlets out there. And isn’t that great? She is herself.

I really dig it. But let’s not kid ourselves. Not everyone is a fan. Not everyone likes Adele as she is. They might wish she had a different face, accent, body type, vocal range, personality, set of values and so on. You might wish the same of me.

Yep, being oneself is tough stuff. Vulnerability is icky. Imperfection is uncomfortable. Criticism is stomach-turning. Rejection is heart-breaking.

But then I remember The Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and  shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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