Boyle-ing likeSimon Cowell

If you have an internet connection, you have undoubtedly heard about and even seen the Susan Boyle episode of Britain’s Got Talent on YouTube.   But did you catch the real lesson behind Simon and the frumpy spinster from a small UK village, who walked on stage to snickers and doubt, and walked off a super star?


The audience and judges could not contain their awe merely 3 words into the song.  But as the audience sat down again and the cheers and beaming faces quieted down for judges commentary, conviction of something ugly in each of us set in.

“Biggest surprise” 

“Everyone was laughing at you”.

“We were very cynical.”

What these words really acknowledged was prejudice.  The audience and judges had pre-judged Susan Boyle based on her brief walk onto the stage and the few words she spoke before she started her song.

“Boyle-ing like Simon Cowell”.

I did it recently.  I reviewed a resume and wrote it off.  Not because of lack of relevant skills and experiences, but because of some common background with prior hires who did not turn out.  Urged by the phone screener to do a personal interview despite my reservations, I found I almost rejected a highly qualified and experienced candidate that was a great fit for our need. 

It might have happened again If had seen another gentleman across the room rather than joining him in a group discussion.  Going below the surface that some may have considered socially awkward, revealed  a deeply thoughtful, passionate and generous man that some will never get to know.

Transitioning from obscurity to instant worldwide fame on YouTube, Susan Boyle now conquers the world stage with her record smashing debut album titled after her song on Britain’s Got Talent, “I Dreamed A Dream”.

Susan Boyle edged out established chart topping mainstays such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Norah Jones to dominate the number 1 spot on Billboard 200.  While serial chart buster Barbra Streisand debuts her number 1 album with a sales volume of 180,000 recently, Susan Boyle makes a statement with 701,000 albums solid in her first week.  A sales volume never achieved by any other female solo artist. Ever.

While some of the sales are certainly the curious, Susan Boyle shows even greater talent on this album that we saw on YouTube.  She demonstrates she can hold her own and even trump superstars of the genre with her renditions of some terrific classics. 

She is no one-hit wonder.  Susan Boyle did not become a superstar.  She always was a superstar but finally got to step onto the stage and bless us with her gift.

It might have never happened.

How many Susan Boyle’s are not at our companies, on our teams, in our classrooms, galleries, and on our bookshelves, are not volunteering with us, preaching, teaching, caring because of the prejudice of the gatekeepers. 

We have to scratch below the surface and take off the filters.

What has Susan Boyle taught you?

Precious Time

Hands holding back arms of a clock

Precious time.

Time to go to bed.  What, already?

Time to get up.  What, already?

Snooze just a little longer.

“Quiet time” with God.

I need to exercise more.

Time to blog.

A bite on the fly.

Drop the kids.

Get to work.

The meeting ran long.


Running behind.


The report needs a little more time.

Research takes time. 

The project is due!

Time to tweet.

The tweets don’t stop.

Time for lunch?

No time for lunch!

Calls take time.

Email never stops.


Staff needs time.

What time is it?

Do you have time?

Do I have time?

How much time will it take?

It will take some time!

Time to go home.

Just a little more time.

Do I have enough time?

I’ll be there shortly.


Gotta go!

Get to the game.

Hi, honey.  I’m home.

Her love language is “Quality Time”.

“The kids will remember the time you spent with them.”

Friendships take time.

Relationships take time.


Practice makes perfect. Invest the time.

Volunteer time.


Time to get the kids to bed.


The bills are due!


I need to read.


Just a little more time.

Time to go to bed.  What, already?




“Be still….”

– Psalms 46:10 –

Related Posts

Too Busy for our Mission

What Happened to Relationships

Priority Management – by Steve Scanlon on Reality & Hope Blog

Too Busy for Our Mission

Busyness has turned into an epidemic.   At home, at work, at church even in down time.  The most common response I get when inquiring with friends and business associates is “I’ve been so busy!”   The constant change, doing more with less, a deluge of projects, running kids around to activities and even our leisure time activities cause us to be too darned busy.   And yet, whether as an individual or as an organizations, we all have a unique, specific and important mission to accomplish. 

Blurred Busy People

Have become too busy for our mission?

People and organizations exist to accomplish a specific mission.  Whether it is our personal life or at work, it is so easy to get entangled in the urgent stuff that keeps us busy and neglect the important stuff that really matters.

At Church I lead a couple of different teams in our “Connections Ministry”, whose mission it is to ensure our attendees and guest feel warmly welcomed and well served during their time at church on Sundays.   On Communion Sundays we have a bit more on our minds than other Sundays.  Before the first service starts a team prepare over 600 cups of wine and communion crackers, place them around the sanctuary at different stations before the people arrive.  At the same time a team of Ushers prepare the worship center and man 4 sets of doors to hand out bulletins while greeters welcome people arriving in 2 wings of the building.  It takes more than 30 volunteers to serve in just this aspect of the service.  Then we do it all over again before the second service starts half an hour after the first ends.  This time just a little bigger.  We reset the worship center, clean up spills, refill more trays with more than 800 cups, placed at more stations and more than 20 of the 30 plus volunteers are different than the first service. 

On one of these Sundays I was checking on our greeters in the lobby between services after confirming the preparation of the communion elements was on track.  While scanning the lobby for arriving volunteers, a good friend approached me to introduce their brother to me, who had come to visit our church as a guest that day. 

In life and work it’s all about the people and all about relationships.  That’s typically why we do that we do.  On this Sunday, I blew it.  I was too busy for my mission. 

I gave this friend and their guest only half my attention and a half minded greeting I regretted the minute it spilled out of my mouth.  My mind was busy with the busy things, as I glossed over the important thing that really mattered.  I failed to “connect” and make this guest feel warmly welcomed and important.  Rather than coming to a “sanctuary” he saw the same crazy world he sees all week.

This happens every day in the work place too.  How many of us crave to work on strategic, game changing stuff as we grind it out each day with mundane tactics?  While sometimes we can’t choose our assignments, we can choose to make what we do count by focusing on that which will make an impact and connects to the strategically significant.  But yet we get sucked into running ragged in the “thick of thin things” as Stephen Covey calls is.

We need our “Covey Quadrant” front and center every day.  With all we do, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I doing the urgent and unimportant, or am I focused on what matters?  Am I working on my ‘Big Rocks’ or am I chasing grains of sand?”  Hint.  More often than not, when people and relationships are involved, the important is not far off. 

Time has become our most precious commodity.  It flows.  Its constantly on the move.   Deliberately directed activities, even in small increments, cause us to march with determination to accomplish the important and significant.  Left to itself, time seeps away while we feverishly chase after activities that keep us busy but won’t lead to the accomplishment of our mission.

Do you know your mission (business & personal)?

Are taking deliberate small steps daily to accomplish your mission?

Book References

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Related Posts

What Happened To Relationships

Precious Time

Priority Management  by Steve Scanlon

The Not-To-Do List by Michael Hyatt