It was the end of a long day at Universal Studios in L.A in October.
It had inexplicably started to rain. We were hot and tired but there was just about time to catch the final ‘Special Effects Show’ of the day.
As we made our way to the back of the line, a very happy and energetic bloke darted over to us. We began talking and he asked us all about ourselves with great enthusiasm. He was an actor in the show. All the actors over there must be on speed; no one can be that happy and full of life all the time, whether it’s your job to be or not!
After a few minutes he asked if we would like to be in the show as part of the final act. We would get VIP seats during the rest of the performance and would be looked after as cast members. Of course we agreed and were taken back stage…
Once I was dressed up in my space suit we were asked to sign various things, none of which I read. My performance could be making millions for them now and I wouldn’t be aware, although probably not!
As we were the final act, we took our seats on the front row to watch the show, which was incredible. Just as everything else was at Universal. This even more so as we were part of the performance. An experience not to be forgotten in a hurry.
So, what aspects of life and business did this experience make me evaluate? What may have helped us to be chosen out of the hundreds there? Why do I always find myself in this position? (Only a couple of weeks earlier, I was hitting trick shots with snooker legend Steve Davis when he asked me to help him from the audience).
I have no clue why, but here is what I try and do to open myself up to all sorts of possibilities. Maybe this can help others looking to do the same, maybe not, I’m not an expert…
- Show Up
It is easy to go through life doing just enough to get by. Just enough to do your job, just enough to stop your wife from leaving you, just enough to be mediocre. But what can happen when you propel yourself to do more, want more, be more?
Magic can happen, new experiences present themselves and you learn more about yourself in the process.
If you put yourself in a position to meet the right people, in the right places, and you are willing to learn and do more than is expected of you there is no limit to what can be achieved.
After all, how often do you get a knock at the door and it is someone who has come to give you the opportunity of your dreams? Not very often! You need to make things happen. I showed up, I got to look like an idiot for an hour, you can do it too!
- Push your boundaries
Comfort zones are where dreams go to die. Hopes are buried in the dirt and your unique potential in life can turn to dust forever.
Every day I challenge myself to do something to increase the size of my comfort zone. Perhaps just something small – like writing an article with a picture that my wife will hate being on the internet!
Maybe then a day will come and nothing will faze me. Every day can be seized as the opportunity that it is. And I will be the guy who got everything he ever wanted.
Do you want to be on stage in the capital city of the movie world? Or sat on your sofa watching other people fulfil their ambitions. The choice is yours!
Maybe being in the show sounds like your biggest nightmare. So what. This applies to all aspects of life. How can you grow and live life to the full if you don’t experience the things that could change your life? Even if they seem daunting at first.
- Live in the moment/be present
The art of conversation and generally being human seems to be very quickly being sucked out of this high-tech, automated and virtual world that we now find ourselves in. People live on their smartphones, on the internet, on one of the many facets of social media. They have an ‘always on’ approach to life and work.
Whilst this can be a great thing, it also takes away from us the opportunity to build up authentic relationships and to truly enjoy the wondrous nature of the world that we are living in. In that queue for the show do you think we were looking at our phones like most of the others waiting? Or were we living in the moment and being part of the experience?
The more time we spend with our heads in the virtual world, the more the real world, the real people and the real opportunities can pass us by. Look up, see the stars, smell the roses and taste the freedom!
We have a rule in our house that I deploy from time to time which really helps. At 8pm all phones, tablets and computers are switched off and we have a proper night together as a family. This can make a massive difference to the harmony at home. A lot can be said for being there with the people most important to you, without a pocket sized boss demanding your attention at all hours.
You also wake up feeling refreshed the following day, ready to welcome the experiences and opportunities the new day has to offer. Try it, have a night off tonight, you deserve it.
- Always dress to impress
What you wear and your appearance can say a lot about you. After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
It is often the case that people judge you, perhaps subconsciously, more on how you appear than on what you say. So putting in the effort in the morning is always worth it.
Granted, it can often get tiresome waiting over 2 hours for the wife to get ready. And then getting dragged over the coals for not having my shoes on when she’s eventually ready to go! But, giving off the right impression is a worthwhile investment and one that I’d definitely recommend.
- Open yourself up to opportunity
Dressing the part is only half the battle. What does your body language say about you? How do you come across to those who don’t know you…? Approachable, trustworthy, and interested in engagement or are you completely closed down and not in the room?
This can have a huge impact on how people interact with you. If indeed they interact with you at all.
I’m not talking about obvious artificial gestures. Such as, a cheesy smile, eye contact, and mirroring the other person. These are tactics that are often taught in relation to activities such as negotiating and networking for example. I’m referring to your state of mind.
Developing an open mind. Being inquisitive and genuinely interested in the other person; their product, or in my case here, their show, can have a profound effect on how you are perceived by that person. And the opportunities that may derive as a result.
There’s a big world out there. Go and see it!
You’ve probably also got more chance of being in a Hollywood show if you are in Hollywood and not watching TV at home with your cat.
OK ok, that’s what I’m doing tonight.
But I showed up, I wrote this post. I’ve earned my night off away from my phone. How have you challenged yourself today?
– Matthew Brown