I was watching a documentary series about British musical theatre recently, and it gave me a whole heap of subject matter to write about concerning goal achievement. In this post I want to talk about the lessons which may have you yelling ‘Mamma Mia…!’
This article isn’t about Abba either – well, ok, there has to be some connection, because the whole show *is* based around their songs after all, but it’s the story of the show rather than the band that caught my eye.
Producer Judy Craymer was an Abba fan, and used to put selections together in different orders to make a narrative, just for her own fun. When she decided that this was an idea that could actually be turned into something, she took action.
Right there is the biggest lesson I repeat over and over in my writing, so I’ll repeat it again here – she took action.
That action involved getting in touch with Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, who agreed in principle to the idea of a TV special, telling a story based around Abba’s songs. Then, as part of her action taking, Craymer had found out that Tina Turner lived near her, so she went round and posted a script through her letterbox!
That bit made me laugh, because although she got an abrupt letter in response from Turner’s manager, she had made the effort, she hadn’t dismissed any possibilities.
With the TV show going nowhere, Craymer switched the idea to a stage show, and after persuading Benny and Bjorn (again!), she sold her flat and gave up her job to focus on the idea.
Now she needed a writer who could put together a story based on the songs, and she found Catherine Johnson, who was out of work at the time. Craymer had never produced a show before, and Johnson had never written one, so there must have been some seriously good selling somewhere to convince the Abba boys!
So, along with taking action, getting around setbacks, and doing things you’ve never done before, here’s another goal achievement lesson…
For nearly three decades, the West End had risen to the top of the world by taking a story and writing the music to fit it. With Mamma Mia, Craymer and Johnson were doing the opposite – taking a set of songs, hugely famous songs too, and writing a story to string them together.
You can imagine why so many people thought it would fail.
The duo pressed on though, and it was clear as soon as the morning after opening night in April 1999, that they had a massive hit on their hands. The show has gone around the world, and of course Hollywood snapped it up too, making Craymer and Johnson the odd penny or two.
It’s not the money that’s important to the point I make though, it’s the goal achievement lessons – taking an idea, and acting on it, even if you have no experience, and if your idea runs contrary to accepted ideas.
It didn’t stop Judy Craymer, why should it stop you? Maybe you should take action on your own moment of ‘Mamma Mia!’
By the way, if you want to read more of these ideas and techniques, then grab my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. I love feedback, so do let me know what you think!