A few weeks ago, I discussed my trip to Los Angeles to interview a big name – Betty White – for my TV show, Senior Salute. The topic of choice was how pets enhance the quality of seniors as they age. Betty White is a huge animal advocate. A date was set, then reset, then canceled.
Was I frustrated, upset and discouraged? YES! But, I decided to take the valuable lessons I learned and celebrate the courage it took to put myself out there and be vulnerable. How many times a day do you or your employees put yourselves out there? Each time you meet with a prospective client, meet with a new referral source, learn and implement a new practice area, like Veterans Benefits, have a difficult discussion about office policies with team members, and the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that we do it all day after day. But, we don’t recognize it or celebrate it. Often we only feel the pain of it.
Oh, I felt pain. I spent about $2,000 to fly to LA and stay in a hotel three time zones away. Leaving my children and out of the office not working for three days. Waiting for the call and the opportunity. Planning in advance, I purchased tickets to attend the live audience taping of Hot in Cleveland, the award winning show that Betty White stars in weekly. I didn’t want the entire week to be a loss. Because entrance is on a first come first seat basis, I wanted to ensure I got a seat so I showed up to the studio 3 hours early (in full stage make up, still with hopes of interviewing Betty). I was third in line, certain to get a seat. I was told to speak with the floor manager about getting VIP status so I could do a “meet and greet” with the cast after the filming. She turned me down, twice. Yes, twice. I was persistent. But, I was also polite. After all, I had a gift to give to Betty that I had carefully selected and purchased in Atlanta.
Once I realized I was not getting access, I felt sorry for myself for a moment and let the hurt and embarrassment set in. Then, I looked around and thought, “I can and will have a great night and enjoy the good of it all.”
What I learned, that we can all practice in our offices, is that:
1. When you want something, go for it. Make all preparations to succeed.
2. Put yourself out there and be persistent but polite. Know when to sit down and enjoy the show.
3. Be ready for anything, but also be ready to accept nothing in exchange of your efforts except the gratification that you took action. Not every at-bat is a home run. Sitting on the sidelines (once in a while) is enjoyable too.
4. Congratulate yourself for the courage it takes to make the decisions you make and take the actions you take. Many people only dream of things they want, but never take the first step toward achieving them.
5. Recognize that failure is sometimes the thrust you need to move forward. John C. Maxwell wrote the book, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones, that is worth a read.
If your marketing efforts or the implementation of Veterans Benefits into your estate planning or elder care law firm are not going as you expected, stop and praise yourself for the efforts you have made so far. Then, review and make some changes toward the result you want.
Victoria L. Collier is a Veteran and Certified Elder Law Attorney, Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Co-Founder of Lawyers With Purpose LLC, and author of “47 Secret Veterans’ Benefits for Seniors—Benefits You Have Earned … but Don’t Know About.”
P.S. I plan to write Betty White a personal letter, sending her the gift I got for her, and asking for an interview directly. Let’s see what happens!
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