In my former career, there was an adage, “You can tell how successful a DJ is by the size of the trailer behind his car.”
Since the logistics of moving oneself to a new city is considerably easier than moving a city to where one broadcasts, disc jockeys were nomadic. My personal story brought me to where I now live after bouncing around the west, “playing the hits” at radio stations ranging from Provo, Utah to Palmdale, California.
In order to secure new work, one would send out five-inch reel-to-reel tapes (um, remember, this was the seventies) to radio stations posting in trade magazines who were seeking “air talent,” which is what we were euphemistically called. Tapes consisted of an hour of one’s show with the music omitted so the prospective program director could hear skill level and style.
For most, the usual career progression was to start out as weekend fill-in jock on a small market station and little by little climb the rungs, hopefully ending up at a major market in a prime-time slot (referred to as a “drive time”).
After working as afternoon drive in Redding for a few years, my roaming inclination was engaged and I was sending tapes to stations across the country; willing to hitch up my trailer at a moment’s notice and go wherever anyone was willing to have me.
I was being considered for a weekend slot at a 50,000-watt AM clear channel rock station with an extended reach. The possibility was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Said my therapist, “How are you feeling about your prospects?”
“I’m nervous. I’m trying not to get my hopes up.”
“Why would you not want to get your hopes up?”
“Because if do — and then I don’t get the gig — I’ll be disappointed.”
He paused, nodded thoughtfully, and then asked, “So, how will you feel if you don’t get this job?”
“Disappointed,” I replied, “I think it would be really great to be on a big station like that.”
“But I thought you weren’t getting your hopes up,” said he.
“But you’re still going to be disappointed?”
That loud knocking you hear is paradox banging on the door.
“Well, yes, I guess I am. I’m afraid that it won’t go the way I want.”
“A couple things,” he began,
“First of all, fear and excitement are the same emotion. It just depends on how you label it. So, if you turn that pit-in-your-stomach feeling into a sense of anticipation and excitement. You’ll feel better. Also, if you don’t get the job you’re going to be disappointed either way, so you might as well get your hopes up anyway. When you do, that excitement and enthusiasm allows you to see possibilities you’d normally miss. You’re therefore communicating with passion. Your attitude becomes infectious; people want to be around you. In effect, you’re more likely to get what you want when you do get your hopes up.”
How often do we hold ourselves back from what we really desire, afraid that if we pursue it with the same vim and vigor with which we feel, we’ll only let ourselves down, crashing in a heap of disappointment and despondency in the wake of yet one more fallen dream? We let the fear of failure erase the joy of expectation; leaving us in a blank, bland, bleak environment, further lowering our expectations. It’s a grim cycle.
As I wrote not too long ago, one of the major regrets those on their deathbed faced was not having gone after what they really wanted, listening to the voices of doubt instead of the chorus of hope.
Go ahead, get your hopes up. Raise ‘em on the flagpole; shoot ‘em into space.
Enjoy the ride; in the end, it’s all there really is.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a THINspirational speaker and author. Since losing 70 pounds 23 years ago, he conducts speeches, workshops, and presentation. He also coaches individuals and consults with companies on how to implement and handle change. He can be reached at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com