Why I Love American Idol Part 1: The Breakthrough Point
… and why this matters for SparkPeople members
Last Wednesday I took my wife to see the American Idols Live concert. This prompted me to finally write a blog that I've wanted to write for awhile talking about why I love American Idol. As I wrote this, I decided this was so much fun that I'm going to make it a 4-part series with each blog focusing on one contestant.
I've been watching American Idol with my wife since Season 2 – Go Ruben! At first, I thought the show was just silly fun/entertainment. But, then I started realizing that American Idol is very applicable to SparkPeople.
"How?" You ask.
The part I like most is that American Idol for the most part (except for some of the silly auditions) is the real deal. The contestants get a real shot to change the course of their lives compressed into a short amount of time.
This is exactly what SparkPeople is about – minus the "made for TV" need to compress everything into a very short time period: the challenge of continuing to take positive steps in all areas of life that will lead to a breakthrough that then helps you reach more goals than you may have ever imagined. For example, I'll never forget how one SparkPeople member talked about reaching her goal of becoming a major published author after using SparkPeople. She said, "I never even imagined my life could be like this before SparkPeople."
In our book The Spark ( book.sparkpeople.com/order-now.asp ) we call these Breakthrough Points. We talk about the progression from an Aha Moment (when you first realize something and say "aha!") to a WooHoo Moment (when you take some positive action and want to celebrate) to a Breakthrough Point (when you string together enough positive small steps that lead to something that could truly change your life).
After this realization, one of my favorite parts of watching American Idol became seeing which contestants understood this opportunity and really worked hard each week to make improvements that could lead to breakthroughs. Sometimes early favorites would fade. Other times people who weren't early favorites would end up winning.
I also have to give the show itself great credit this year. After being the #1 show on TV for 9 years, the show still managed to make a brilliant strategic decision this year to have the contestants work with major music producers each week to help mold them into real performers. Brilliant. That type of decision motivates me to continue improving SparkPeople all the time because there are always ways you can improve even when you're already good at something.
This season was clearly the best overall group of any year so the bar was even higher for contestants this year. One of my favorite examples ever of a contestant reaching a Breakthrough Point is Haley Reinhart and she's who I'll focus on with Part 1 of this blog series. Apologies in advance for some of the questionable language in the videos from judge Steven Tyler!
Here is Haley's audition if you'd like to watch:
Early in the season, Haley was in the bottom 3 a few times. She even seemed to have a negative attitude during the results shows and almost seemed resigned that she'd leave the show soon. For some reason she was having trouble putting everything together.
Then, something magic happened and she had a breakthrough. After several performances that landed her in the bottom three, one week she suddenly had a performance that made everyone say, "Whoa – that was incredible."
It would be really interesting to know just what happened that led to this Breakthrough Point. Options could include:
1. A natural progression where enough practice and momentum finally naturally led to a Breakthrough Point
2. Haley could have really challenged herself to turn things around and reach her potential – realizing that this was such an opportunity for her
3. Someone else – family, friends, someone connected to the show including one of the guest stars – could have challenged her to reach her potential
4. Some combination of these variables.
Below is the video of the performance. Notice what Jimmy says challenging her in the practice – was that the spark? Haley if you ever read this give us a shout and let us know and we'll interview you!
Whatever it was, it was clear that the two minutes of this performance likely changed Haley's life forever. She went on to do several amazing performances including arguably one of the best performances ever on the show with her Led Zeppelin song where her real Dad played guitar – how cool is that?
Here is that performance. Another trait from Haley that we can all follow is determination. She got turned away last year when trying out for American Idol and notice the determination in this video when she falls down and then fights through that:
There is a chance that none of this would have happened if she hadn't had that breakthrough. This is something we should all keep in mind as we work hard to reach our goals. There might be a Breakthrough Point just around the corner. So we should keep pushing ourselves and be open to outside motivation to reach this breakthrough.
Here's another favorite from this season – the Haley and Casey duet (they did this live at the concert):
Haley's live performance at the concert this week was stunning. Even my wife who wasn't her fan at first said Haley had the best performances of the girls at the show. I honestly think she's one of the best singers I've ever seen in person.
I'm not being biased with this because I actually was rooting for James Durbin and Scotty McCreery just as much – Lauren too. Seems like all four have a chance to be real superstars and maybe even others.
The point of all of this is to challenge everyone reading this. YOU can reach Breakthrough Points in your life just like anyone on TV. TV is fine in moderation just like almost everything else. But the key is to really live your own life and reach your potential so you can have your own amazing experiences. Those experiences can include your career, being the best parent possible, or anything else. We all have the chance to be a star in our own lives.
I know it can be frustrating to put in the work every day to build that positive momentum, but it really can be worth it and lead to you reaching more goals than you might realize in all areas of your life.
Even better: we get to support and motivate each other along the way in the SP community.
Stay tuned! I'll focus on at least 3 other contestants from this year in this series to see what we can learn from them.
What are you doing to reach a Breakthrough Point in your life?
PS By popular demand, here is a video of her performances at the concert (this isn't our city, but close). She did Benny and the Jets and House of the Rising Sun.
I did 15 minutes of fitness yesterday (July 14).
Once again another light day, but made it through a long week and am looking forward to the weekend and both having fun and getting great fitness minutes. I'm happy to have blogged 6 days in a row.
We're working on some great things at SP now that I can't wait to launch.
Today's member post is a Video blog. This is a long one, but it's really touching to see how a SparkPeople adventure can touch so many parts of someone's life and to see that in pictures. I especially loved seeing this SparkPeople Mom walking with her dog while her daughter rode a bike next to her. That's what this is all about!
July 13: Day 27 of the 10+ Minute Fitness Challenge
I did 16 minutes of fitness yesterday (July 13).
Another light day yesterday with a long day at work, but again kept the streak alive!
The best highlight was going to the concert – but I still want to write a full blog about that – hopefully some time tomorrow!
Today's highlight is a SparkMail I received from a member. She said I could share it. This is a great example of what we're all doing together!
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything that you've done to change my life. I don't know you. I'll probably never meet you, but your website and your book have made such a drastic impact on the way I view the world that I never want to look through the old glasses again. Excuse the reference but I feel like I was living with beer goggles on. Nothing really looked the way it was. I only saw the size and the number on the scale. Even though I haven't lost a significant amount of weight yet, I know it will come off eventually because I've made those small changes.
I've been telling anyone and everyone about Spark People. As a hairdresser, I see lots of people a day that come in the salon. Anyone that mentions the weight I've lost, I tell them about your website and your book. I just finished it, so I plan on lending it to each of my coworkers. I have to admit, it took me a while to read it. I ended up in tears a lot--kind of like I am right now as I think of how I've struggled the same way so many other people have. It's hard to be overweight. I've always been 'the fat girl', but now, thanks to you, I'm finally going to change that.
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. I will be eternally grateful for what you have done for me.
When I asked her if I could share this publicly, she responded with this note:
I would be honored! (and honestly, there's so many Linda Davis's that that doesn't really bother me:) )
I'm glad I made your day since you've pretty much made my every day worth living again.
Keep up the amazing work. I'll keep doing my part to spread the spark you've started.
The key here is that I just started this – now we're all an amazing team doing this together with our members such an important part of this.
How was your day? Did you get at least 10 minutes of fitness? What's your highlight?
I did just 15 minutes of fitness yesterday (July 12).
There honestly weren't many highlights yesterday. I had a bad night sleep after having an allergic reaction to something that then makes me sleep bad sometimes. But since it was a tough day I'd say the highlight was keeping the streak alive with just something simple!
I'm posting this so late today because I took my wife to see American Idols Live – I'll try to blog about this tomorrow!
Here's one of my favorite member posts from yesterday -- I LOVE SparkVersaries :)
Title: One Year On
Message: It has been a year since I came back to Sparkpeople and I would
like to share my achievements with everyone.
On July 12 last year I rejoined Sparkpeople and one year on I would like to
share my achievements.
I have lost 42 lbs and a lot of inches.
I have walked 600 miles and keep track of the miles on My Fitness (I didn''t
I keep track of what I eat every day on My Nutrition and this keeps me very
I have lost the pain in my knees.
I look much better, feel much fitter, healthier and rejuvenated.
I have collected over 11,000 Sparkpoints and am on Level 11.
Thank you Sparkpeople for being there and for being FREE.