Thursday, September 16, 2010

When opportunity knocks, how do you answer?

Faithful readers know I’m a planner. I prefer to be prepared and finish projects ahead of schedule, and don’t like feeling rushed or pressured. Others choose to wait until the last minute to get their work done, frittering away what could have been productive hours, managing to meet deadlines only in the nick of time and often not getting as much other stuff done as they wanted to.

However, even for the organized and (usually) disciplined, there are those “when it rains, it pours” days when not only are anticipated projects due, others come in that are due at the same time. Of course I’m very happy to have additional opportunities, but for me cramming everything in at once is a challenge.

For example, I had a gig as an eccentric character in a corporate role playing game. Most of it was improv, so there wasn’t much to prepare. The info arrived after 7PM the night before, when I was singing at Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement gala (attended by appx. 600, including many legal luminaries). I also had an on camera TV commercial audition. That script also arrived after 5PM, and was long enough to require the use of an ear prompter. Laying down the copy is much easier than memorizing, but getting it right and getting comfortable with it takes some practice. The same day I was also filming a law firm video, which fortunately provided a teleprompter. I still had to review that script and prepare my character. Not to mention compile assorted wardrobe and show up on time to all events.

That morning I woke up to an email about a very interesting development with a co-authored non-fiction project. (Yea!) Which needed to be addressed ASAP…. Multi-tasking and being pulled in so many directions stresses me out, makes me think I won’t get everything done or if I do won’t get it done well. I decided I needed to stop for a minute, take several deep breaths and focus on appreciating all the fun and exciting developments.

Sometimes something very great happens to friends, yet they instantly think of possible negative outcomes instead of staying in the good news moment. For example, when they learn they’re a finalist in a major writing contest or on hold for a big acting project, instead of being happy they got that far, they’ll say they won’t win or get the job. I've done that, too. Maybe we’re just protecting ourselves from being hurt if we don’t get whatever that thing is.

I want to savor good news for as long as I can. Even if there are times when one exciting door opens, another possibility closes, or when opportunities don’t pan out.

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