We hang up the phone, and I get some time to ponder what a lucky girl I am to have such wonderful people in my life, and also to think about the lessons I have learned from this experience that can be applied to life in general.
So, in the hopes that I can help you with what I have learned, here are a few of them:
1. Putting yourself out there is not as scary as you think.
I think in life we are all scared of totally owning who we are and what we do. We are afraid that if we step out there and really declare our passions and our deepest dreams and our gifts, we’ll be ridiculed or shot down, with or without the blaze of glory.
I truly understand this, because I worried about coming out and saying, “Yes, I am a medical intuitive! Yes, I created a mind-body-spirit-life program that allows people to change anything about their lives!” I mean, what in the world will everyone think? It all seems a bit - well, different from the norm at the very least, I suppose.
However, the truth is that in declaring who I am without reservation, amazing things have happened. I received notes from people from childhood who told me that I made a difference in their lives even at a young age simply by being the kid that always tried to be nice to everyone. I had one note that said that this person knew I would end up doing something like this for work, because I always seemed to have a sixth sense about when someone needed help or support.
Upon getting these incredible messages, I realized that if the only thing that came out of this experience was that I got to know that I had made a difference in people’s lives, then that would be more than enough.
But the positive effects went beyond this. I have also had people who have since approached me for help with health and life issues - people that had no idea that this was my work before I decided to audition. Moreover, I have been asked to participate in and speak at several mind-body seminars and conventions. And - I have reconnected with several friends in the process.
And, even if I am not right for the reality show, I still believe that the video might just get me enough recognition to end up as a perfect expert guest for one of the shows on Oprah’s TV or Radio Networks. You just never know.
The lesson of all of this? Take a deep breath and decide that you are going to be exactly who you really are, consequences be damned. Do not be afraid to step out there. Believe that who and what you are is needed in this world, or you wouldn’t exist. I promise you, there is power in truly being the person you are intended to be - wonderful things will begin to happen.
2. Sometimes in life, you only have 45 seconds to get your point across.
Everyone from acting coaches to marketing managers to networking professionals will tell you the value of having an “elevator pitch” ready to go. What’s an elevator pitch? Essentially, if you were stuck in an elevator with the person who could be your biggest sale or make your biggest dream true and had only 45 seconds to get your point across, what would you say? What is the most essential information about you that would convince this person to become your client or to move you to the next level in your career? How would you make yourself irresistible and unique?
If you need help figuring out what your 45 second pitch would be, check out this great site I found: http://www.buzzuka.com./
By answering just a few questions, you can drill down to what is really essential about your and your business - and what your passion is - and have a beautifully crafted pitch that is sure to win you clients and friends.
Then, practice it. You just never know when your moment is going to come down to less than a minute of someone’s attention.
3. Being nice to people may cause you some frustration, but in the end, you will be happier that you were nice and helpful than not.
Sure, Del and Dwayne might have been a bit annoying, but honestly, if I was a mega-bitch that morning and either ignored them or was openly mean to them, I would have walked away from the experience not only feeling horrible about my behavior, but I would have hurt a couple of people who really didn’t deserve it.
In fact, I have since found “Del’s” website and YouTube station and actually agree with him on many points, namely that everyone should take the chance to go after their heart’s desires, that everyone has something about them that is really special, and that we desperately need to do something about global warming before it is too late.
So, my gut instinct about him was right on - he was annoying, sure, but he has a good heart. Much like the real Del from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, there is a lot to be learned from my casting call buddy: Be optimistic about life. You might have to go through 8 jobs in a year, but you don’t have to be depressed while you are doing it. You can inspire people with your life even if you aren’t Oprah or Dr. Phil, and maybe because you aren’t.
And finally, Del definitely epitomizes lesson #1: He is, in all ways, unapologetically, exactly who he is. Not everyone is going to like him, but that is going to happen whenever you are who you really are. At the end of the day, if you don’t have a few people who dislike you, you probably haven’t ever been your true self or stood up for something you truly believe in. So, don’t obsess when people don’t like you. When you think about it, you probably don’t really value their opinion or view of the world, either.
By being brave enough to truly stand up for your true self and for that which you feel is right, you can also move people to action and change the world, and that is a powerful thing.
And remember, as Dr. Kent Keith so beautifully says in his Paradoxical Commandments, “The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.”
4. You cannot say the wrong thing to the right person.
If you have ever poured over your bio, pitch, manuscript, or marketing letter with a fine-tooth comb, constantly worrying that you weren’t saying quite the right thing in quite the right way, or that it needed “just one more thing” to be perfect, then listen up:
It will never be perfect, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get it out there, so that the right person can see it and love it and get your dream in motion.
In my case, I first learned this lesson when I was asked to send a book proposal out to a Los Angeles agent. I worked around the clock on the proposal for 4 weeks, and finally, just put it in an envelope and sent it.
The next day, I got a call from the agent, who told me that my book “was a bestseller” and to get it written.
Looking back on that proposal, I would change thousands of things about it now - but it was the right proposal for the right person at the right time. He was supposed to get that proposal and he was supposed to be the one to get the book moving out to the world.
I could not say the wrong thing to him - even though, at that time, I had NO idea what in the world I was doing when I created the proposal, and honestly, I don’t think it was the best proposal in the world.
In the same way, I couldn’t have said anything different in my 45 seconds that would have gotten me the call back for the OWN casting. It was the wrong experience at the wrong time, and no amount of prep would make it right. However, the experience is leading me to the right people at the right time, so none of it is wrong. How’s that for a paradox?
Absolutely put the time into whatever you do to practice your pitch, to make sure your speech is as good as it can be, to proofread your proposal or manuscript or marketing letter, but stop yourself before you become obsessed with needing “one more thing.” Sometimes good enough is good enough. Set your idea free, and believe with your heart and soul that the right person will see it and be entranced with it.
And, should you get a “no” from someone, keep this great quote from Keith Olbermann in mind: “Don't take it personally when they say 'no' — they may not be smart enough to say ‘yes.’ ”
5. When it says that they are casting for a reality show, believe them.
This one may seem a bit obvious, but although the OWN website did say that we were competing to get on a reality show and that the first step was to “find the best participants for the television competition,” I still read, “Oprah” into that and figured it would end up being less trashy-reality show and more experts-compete-to-get-their message-out.
Well, that, and they did say they were looking for experts, but I digress.
Listen, if it says that they are casting for a reality show, they are. If you are not the sort of person that will go off on someone because they got orange juice in your Cheerios or “dissed” you at the day’s contest, it’s probably not the opportunity for you, and that is okay.
6. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If all you get out of it is a funny story, it is still worth it.
Remember when you were a kid and you would fearlessly climb a new tree or try a new sport without any fear of failure or injury? And even if you did injure yourself it was all part of the fun - it wouldn’t stop you from trying it again?
As adults, we lose this excitement for new experiences because we become so stuck in our ways, so afraid of trying anything that we haven’t tried, so sure we need to keep ourselves safe and maintain our status that we do not challenge ourselves to do new things, even if we are miserable in our current situation. “Better to deal with the devil we know,” we think to ourselves.
For instance, I work with many people who want to take the leap and start their own businesses or change careers to follow their dreams, but fear of failure and of financial disaster pins them to their spot.
And then I ask, “At 80 years old, will you be happier that you stayed in a job or situation that you were miserable in to ‘be safe,’ or will you be happier that you took a chance and really went after your dreams, even if that meant you have to lose some things along the way?”
I’d say 90% of the time the person answers, “I think I would be much happier having taken the risk.” For the other 10%, they are usually very risk-adverse people and honestly, it would be very hard for them to see risk as anything good, even if it meant being miserable for the rest of their lives.
However, whatever your answer to this question would be, the truth of the matter is that by the time you are an adult you will have learned that nothing in life is really safe, no matter how much you plan or how careful you are. You may have worked for the same employer with a “secure paycheck” for 10 dedicated years when you are laid off without so much as a thought. You might have built your life around your family and home when your husband shows up and says that he wants a divorce. You might have been a realtor that saved up 6 months of income only to have the real estate market tank and found yourself on the verge of bankruptcy through issues outside your control.
And that is the reality - that even taking the “safe road” isn’t really safe.
Since that is the case, why not try a few things that are scary but exciting? Why not throw caution to the wind and do something impulsive but that lets you know you are alive? Why not take even the smallest steps to challenge yourself, or to go after your real dreams even in the smallest ways.
Sure, the casting call wasn’t what I expected it to be, but in the end, I got a really funny story out of it and some truly excellent life lessons. I am proud that I went for it, and don’t regret a moment.