What I learned from American Idol, once I stopped pitching it….

Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen

So for those of you are not one of the 36 million people who watch American Idol on a weekly basis, this post should still be relatable because it involves you, a hairbrush, a mirror and singing.  You can also substitute the hairbrush and mirror for a bottle of shampoo and the shower, your choice.

Tonight is the first episode of the American Idol finale and Lauren and Scotty will sing their little hearts out to become the next American Idol.  For years, I flew around the country meeting with Advertisers and Agencies talking to them about why they should partner with the show, the tour, the logo as a sponsor and leverage the brand equity of the show to sell more product.  Having started my Entertainment Career with 19 Entertainment and Simon Fuller (not Simon Cowell former Judge and now creator of X-Factor also co-owned by FremantleMedia), I learned from one of the best, how to sell TV and Intellectual Property.  I went on to work for another amazing Producer and creative mastermind, Mark Burnett and did the same sales packaging work for him.  Then it was off to FremantleMedia (the co-owner of American Idol) to further monetize the brand through advertiser packaging and live events.  All good fun and the common denominator in each of these pitches, as I learned from these amazing creative masterminds and salesmen, was to sell the dream.  So, like I learned from Simon and Mark, I would paint the picture.  For American Idol, it was about the dream of being a singer.  How when you were a child, we all sat or stood in front of a mirror at one point, held a hair brush up to our mouth and belted our little hearts out.  For me, it was Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For” and Crystal Gale’s “Nobody” (it seems I was an old soul from a young age), but no matter what the song, for a moment in time you believed that somehow standing there in front of your mirror or in your shower that you

1. Sound good and

2. One day you might be discovered.

Even having lived this fantasy as a child (and sometimes as an adult, usually in the car:)) perhaps I became immune to the dream or the power of the dream or how to chase the dream. Or maybe it was just too literal in that I had always wanted to be a singer ( I rock a mean Karaoke:)) or that I was more focused on the sale, but the words somehow didn’t really resonate with me until recently when I was watching these kids Lauren and Scotty, live their dream and for myself being in a time of flux and change, that dreams weren’t limited to contestants on American Idol.  And although, sadly (for me at least, probably not you as you may think I sound like a horn in need of tuning:)) I probably will never be a singer who is discovered on YouTube, I can still influence my dreams and reinvent myself to move toward my dream but I need to do a couple of things to make it happen.

The first step for me it seemed was being open to the possibilities. I have become much more open to everything since starting this blog.  Perhaps because I am coming out of hibernation and like a bear in spring and hypersensitive to all the beauty around me or perhaps it’s that I am constantly in the market for inspiration and that combined with a passion for helping people, parents and others going through challenging situations to inspire, empower them I am moving even closer toward my dreams.  Once I became open, the Universe seemed to be shooting meteors at me as a wake up that I am being given my gift, now go out and do something with it.

So, yesterday when an old friend had invited me to a convention for More Magazine I agreed to go.  To be honest I wasn’t completely inspired to go, and it was my sense of obligation that actually got me in the car to head there at 7 am but once I got there, I got that it was my next mile marker, sign post and meteor from outer space.  It was a convention about reinventing yourself and finding your authentic self.  I won’t sit here and preach to you, but for me at this point in my life it was a great checkpoint as it reinforced where I am headed and where I want to go and what I need to do to get there….so I am announcing it here, I have started a book. I am only 13 pages in, but every word makes a difference and in order to force myself to finish I need to know that it’s out there so that my fear of failure and need to succeed can take over and I will finish:)  Thanks A!

It’s a huge step in getting out of my own way and running into another old friend yesterday at the conference we talked a lot about our kids and how we hope to inspire them to not be afraid of their dreams and not to drive them away from their dreams for the sake of practicality.  We vowed in that moment to help them find a way to have their dreams live as part of who they want to be and what they want to do in their lives.  As reinforcement of this, Malaak Compton-Rock (Chris Rock’s wife but a force to be reckoned with) talked about her life with her children and the service they give back and how this has helped her kids inspire their dreams.  She talked about her daughter and how she wants to be a chef and due to their time helping the poor in Africa, she wants to open a restaurant in Capetown that will also provide food to the poor and hungry in a community where there are so so so many.  It was a remarkable statement and  while KSP and I have often talked about taking our kids on Service Trips (like our Habitat Build in South Africa in 2007), this for me was the reinforcement that not only does this type of work breed compassion and empathy, but also it can be the building block for creating our children’s future that involves giving back and living their dreams all at the same time.

So, this morning as I filled the Wondertwins in on my confirmations and told them of the fabulous destinations we would go to help others, while I got them ready and fed them, E looked at me directly in the eyes.  She didn’t break eye contact.  For 10 seconds she started directly at my face.  For a moment the world stopped spinning on its axis and I looked at E and she looked at me in broad daylight for the first time and she saw me.  I am crying as I type this for this has been my ultimate dream.  Waiting every day for a glance.  Waiting for some sort of breakthrough. I don’t know if this is it, but to have the moment was the greatest gift and the perfect time for her to do this was that moment. In the randomness of our morning she found the strength after attempt after attempt to glance to look at my face and hold the gaze and process my complex features (no I was not wearing makeup so she may get extra points for processing my morning face).  And not to be left out, little Q with his giant head continues to take more and more risks as he lets go of the couch or turns and steps towards me  with every possible hazardous toy in his way.  Soon he will be walking toward me and this dream will come true.  In each of these scenarios, there was no perfect time or ideal conditions and things are rarely if ever “just right” so for me, the kids, KSP, and you, strength comes with each step and with each step comes success and whether your goal is to look into someones face directly, walk from the couch to your mommy for the first time or pursue your passions, be open to the possibilities and take a step forward to making today ‘yournewfavoriteday’.

And of course we should wrap this up with a big Good Luck to Lauren and Scotty tonight.  Congratulations on pursuing your dream, it will take you far. I hope today is your ‘newfavoriteday’ too!

4 thoughts on “What I learned from American Idol, once I stopped pitching it….

  1. Oh, man! What a joyful event! And that you had time to see it. Too often we move too fast in life and miss these golden moments. It had to have eased your heart a bit for E to meet your eyes that way. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Thanks ladies! Yes, it was so very special and I am so glad it happened this morning as the sun shone into our room. It gave my heart that little special lift that helps me and us keep going. xo

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