Back in July, I submitted a contestant application video for Wheel of Fortune. On October 1st, I received an email inviting me to attend a local audition. The email also happened to mention that they were looking for contestants for Best Friends Week, so we were allowed to bring a best friend along to the audition. Last week, my best friend, Mel, and I fulfilled a dream we’ve had since becoming friends over 20 years ago and auditioned together for Wheel of Fortune. I don’t yet know if I/we will be invited to be contestants on the show, but, regardless, this experience has served as an important reminder for me to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Whether they’re big or small, serious or silly, scary or comfortable, we get one life to live in the best way we can. So, if we are given an opportunity to experience something positive that we may never again have the opportunity to experience, in this our one and only life, we’ve just got to go for it.
Mel and I auditioned for a television show once before (we were in our late 20s, I think). A soap opera. Mind you, I can’t act at all, nor do I have any interest in doing so. But, when a soap opera holds open auditions at a local Boscov’s, you just do it because how many people do you know who can say they’ve auditioned for a soap opera? It was an experience; one that didn’t cost us anything, and gave us some laughs and a story to tell for years to come. While I certainly have no acting ability, I am legitimately good at solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, at least from the safety of my couch (although I think we did well in the audition, too), so, I was much less nervous this time around. I remember standing in that line wrapping around multiple floors of Boscov’s shaking with fear inside as I repeated the couple of lines over and over in my head. Why I even bothered to be nervous is beyond me. In both cases, the bottom line is that there were literally no stakes. What’s there to be nervous about when there’s nothing to lose? This is an important life lesson, I think; one that I wish I’d really embodied much earlier. But, that’s kind of the thing about life lessons…you tend to learn them when it FEELS too late to really take advantage of them. I’m not saying it’s actually too late. It just feels like it is because you’ve already wasted time not knowing, not understanding, or not listening to them. Especially now, I’m a lot more comfortable with the prospect of making an ass out of myself than I used to be. I’m rather interesting, if I do say so myself, because, while I have terrible social anxiety, I really don’t have a problem getting up in front of a crowd. It’s the more intimate interactions that make me want to run away.
Anyway, my point is this…When fear is the only thing standing in the way of you taking advantage of an exciting, interesting, or fun opportunity, ask yourself, “What do I have to lose?” If the answer is “nothing,” go for it. At the very least, you’ll walk away with a story to tell and one less “what if” to wonder about. So go ahead, spin the metaphorical wheel of fortune. You just might land on the million.