I heard an interview with Sheryl Lee Ralph (from Abbot Elementary and Dreamgirls) the other day. And I want to say first off that she’s great and talented and has an exceptionally resilient attitude and deserves all the awards she can get.
One of the things she said which resonated with me – when describing her long journey in entertainment and an early interaction with Sidney Poitier – is that you need to Get Ready because you never know when opportunity will knock. And, though she and I are in different demographics and have different levels of built-in societal privilege and all that, I think it’s true for anyone with ambition and drive and hope – especially those of us who are prone to self-doubt.
If you’re always ready, you can do things like:
- Step into a tennis tournament and compete at the last minute when a friend’s doubles partner suddenly cancels
- Play second base on a softball team at a moment’s notice when there’s an infield injury
- Be someone’s last-minute blind date to a junior prom when their boyfriend has backed out
- Have a resume at hand when someone says they’re looking for someone with exactly your skills
- Be prepared when the CEO decides to join your regular business call unannounced
- Go up on stage when a local storytelling show says they need a fill-in, pronto
- Escort a friend to a concert when their date has ghosted them
- Have a script accessible when a production company says they’re looking for comedies and want to produce something SOON
- Take a cab downtown when your celebrity crush calls and says they want to talk about turning your script into a mid-level-budget film RIGHT THIS MINUTE
Pretty much all these things have happened. And I’ve benefited from, you know, pretty much always being ready.
Let’s see, a little follow-up…
- This happened last weekend
- This happened over the summer
- This happened when I was 15
- This happened about 18 months ago
- This has happened a couple of times in 10 years or so
- This happened about 3.5 years ago
- This has happened once or twice, probably 3 years ago most recently
- This has happened a few times, and I think it’s worked out in my favor twice
- I’ve dreamt about this situation 3 or 4 times, and likely will again