When preparation meets opportunity: a lesson from the Oprah Show

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Oprah Winfrey’s After Oscar Party show taping in Hollywood. It was truly a magnificent experience to be able to sit in the presence of greatness and soak some of it in. Like many people there, I couldn’t help but hope that somehow the camera would glance by me or I could meet her on the way to stage! I was ready for anything! Unfortunately, there were two people who were not ready for such an opportunity.

During the preshow, the Oprah producers began calling people up to share their comedic skills. Imagine being called up to share your talent on the Oprah Show on the same stage where the Oscars took place the night before! The word “historic” is an understatement. The first person they called up took stage to wild applause. Let’s call him Mike. Mike grabbed that mic like a man on a mission. The mission then turned to mission impossible! Mike choked! He had nothing to say. At one point he even said: “Wow, this is my moment in the spotlight and I’m really at a loss for words.” He ended with a “joke”: “What do you call two nuns who jog? Roman Catholics.” He was done.

The second woman professed to be a standup comedian but once the mic was placed in her face, she quickly revealed that she only does comic routines in front of her mirror and her toddler children. She bombed completely, even asking the audience at one point: “Do you think I’m funny?” You can imagine the audience response. My sister Shaumba and I felt bad on one side for the two people who weren’t ready, but we were also kicking ourselves because we WERE ready! My sister is a dancer and had she been called, folks would’ve thought they were at an Alvin Ailey Show. Had I been blessed to have been called to share some of my motivational work, I would have done my best to bring the house down or better yet, lift it up! Ever since I met Dr. Maya Angelou and she asked me if I had any of my products to take with me and I said “No”, I vowed to be ever-ready from then on!

The moral of the story is that you have to be ready because you never know when your number will be called and be ready! They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” fame said “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” You have to work hard and be ready. In this age of multimedia everything, you never know when the camera will be turned on you. If you’re serious about what you do, you will make sure that you never miss your opportunity. If you are serious about mastering what you do, you will make your OWN opportunity! Step out of your head and step into your greatness!