Yup, I got sucked in again. Just when I thought my days of entering more contests were over, temptations of a big win lured me in.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll go back to the very beginning. This whole blog started because during desperate times of wanting change, I mustered up the courage to enter a silly little contest. My task was to make a short video showcasing my skills in order to win a travel show host gig. If you knew me then, you would see that I am the last person who would ever make a video of myself. I had very little belief in my creativity or ability to be seen, and I didn’t think I could do it. Believe it or not, I thought I was too shy. I preferred to stay in the background, almost invisible. But as they say… desperate times called for desperate measures, and with the help of some friends, I made a video. (Click here to see it!) I put myself out there, exposed myself to any potential criticism that might come my way, and I went for it! I didn’t win that contest, but what came out of it was a total win for me.
Out of my desperation to find a way out of my career, I used my failure to fuel my desire and found the courage needed to take yet another leap.
That was when I started blogging in hopes of finding change in my life. And just a few months later, I entered a contest to live on a Panamanian island for 6 weeks and blog about it. I made a cute little video, but again it wasn’t at all winning material. I did it for fun though, and from that experience I learned that my career search could be fun and didn’t need to be so serious.
It didn’t matter if I won or lost, but it mattered that I was doing something, anything, in order to get one step closer to reaching my goal.
And, yet again… another contest rolled around. This time it was for a 6-month trip around the world making travel videos. By this time, I had already been out of dentistry for a while, so I had accomplished my goal of escaping my unhappy career. I really just entered to stretch myself, because I knew I could… and I figured, why not! Who knew what this contest could bring into my life? And indeed, this contest opened more doors for me. I didn’t win but was offered the chance to franchise with their travel website. I actually considered it but realized it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
After this last “failure,” the practical part of me took control and reminded the dreamer in me that I was so unqualified for all 3 of these contests, there is no way I could have won any of them. I wasn’t being self-deprecating here, I was just being honest. Sure, my videos were better than people sitting in a dark room on their webcam begging to be chosen, but I was up against some true professionals, very talented people with real-life experience. I didn’t stand a chance. And as much as I wasn’t meant for any of these gigs, they weren’t meant for me either. They all would have required me to make sacrifices that were probably not in my best interest.
In the end the realities didn’t matter to me. I took pleasure in the creative process and in dreaming just a little bit.
Although it was really fun, I’ll admit, it did sting a bit every time I lost. But that’s okay. It’s normal. That’s just part of the rejection process. So I finally concluded after this last contest that my travel contest days were over. I was never going to win, and I had other areas where I was going to focus my energy. I was done entering contests where they tricked me into believing I had a chance; where they said anyone had the chance to win, when in reality only the professionals were the real contenders. Brilliant way to market their product, by the way!
And then I found out about another contest. Just like all the ones before, they were also looking for “real people.” So I thought, “this is a piece of cake. I’ve done this before. Just one more!” This time it was different though. I wasn’t going to invest nearly as much time into this contest. I’d done that before, and it didn’t work. But something happened. I approached it with a different set of eyes. I carefully studied (over about 10 minutes) what they were looking for in an entry, and I decided to keep it simple. After all of my previous video contest practice, I knew how I wanted to tell my story.
And so I did it, but this time I didn’t tell anyone.