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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Make Your Own Luck

I know; that sounds like a line of bad TV dramedy dialogue...but I do have an excellent, non-cheesy point. One of the many, oh so many things this business has taught me is that half the battle is getting out of your own way. If you can actually identify your mistakes, learn from them and thus avoid constantly re-enacting them, you have a much better than average chance of succeeding. Sound simple? I say, "Ha!" in your general direction.

Just yesterday I received a furious, snarling email from an "acquaintance," basically wishing death and dishonor upon me, as well as promising to speak to my father (ominous music here), because...welp, because I had not returned his shopping bag full of clippings sooner. Oh my. I know, dear hearts. I know that really he was furious and frustrated that neither I, nor the world, had given him the love, affection and affirmation that he so greatly desires, and he was unable to articulate that to himself, since self-knowledge is painful, and it was so much easier to unleash that anger upon others. Like me. Alas. I have a hard time feeling anything but pity for this humanoid, since last time I checked, he couldn't even figure out how to get onto LinkedIn's website, so I doubt he's truly going to change the business world. Doubtful.

There was also, recently, the twenty-something "film-maker" whom a dear friend suggested I contact for a project I have coming up. Except the kid never returned my email, and when my friend gently nudged him, he told her that he had decided he wasn't interested and that he was "too busy." Really? Too busy working double-shifts at the restaurant where he waits tables? Too busy to even respond to an email and find out what exactly I was offering? For all he knew, I could have been scouting for a photog to shoot the birth of Kim & Kanye's spawn and I was going to pay him in solid gold doubloons and glitter. But apparently this kid made a choice: he's choosing to be a waiter who sometimes shoots film projects, rather than a film-maker who occasionally has to wait tables. See the difference?

Not to toot my own horn, but I networked myself a career in TV news from Moscow, Russia to Washington, D.C. to NYC simply by following up on every single contact I made, and turning each opportunity into a job. I left NBC News in Russia with a list of names, and in D.C., I called each one of those names and within weeks I was working at Fox, and then CNN and then I sold my soul and the rest is history. I was very hungry. I was also 24. I didn't wait tables. I didn't make excuses. I covered network news, bitches! What the hell else is there to do in the swamp known as D.C.? (If you say "date," um you haven't lived there. Good luck with that. #thehorror)

So, my point is, if you want to succeed, get out of your own way. Don't presume you know what any potential contact might have for you. Don't alienate people because of your own's a small world. You might regret that email sent in anger. Don't decide that you won't get a certain job, or that you don't know anyone who can help you...without at least spending 5 damn minutes doing some research. Ask around. Schmooze. So many people are so blind to all the opportunities they already have within their own list of Facebook friends, even as they complain about their careers or lack thereof. No me gusta. 

Want some help creating the opportunities you need? Damn right you do! Like my Facebook page, "Carlotaworldwide Creativity Yenta," for a free consultation, or email me @

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