In 2003, Alan Ritchson auditioned for American Idol.
He made it through the first round and was sent to L.A. for Round 2...
... then he was cut.
At that point, Ritchson could have chosen to give up.
But he was "enamored of the passion people had there for their art" and decided to stay in the city.
Eventually, he landed a few TV commercials.
And then auditions.
And then his career started to take off.
Today, Ritchson is the star of Reacher on Amazon Prime Video.
Reacher has an 8.1/10 IMDB Rating and a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score.
The third season has already been confirmed.
Which is to say, the show is a massive hit.
It's obvious to say Ritchson wouldn't be "Reacher" today if he had given up.
But here's something less obvious to consider: he might not be "Reacher" today if he had won American Idol that year!
Because if he had won, he likely would have pursued a music career... and who knows if he'd have been as successful today if he had done that?
So what lessons can we learn from Alan Ritchson?
If you "got cut" this year, don't think of it as a failure...
Think of it as a redirection towards something even better.
And don't give up.
P.S. This post was inspired by "Getting Cut From ‘American Idol’ Was the Best Thing to Happen to Alan Ritchson’s Acting Career", published in The Wall Street Journal on December 26, 2023. If you'd like, you can read the article using my subscriber gift-link.