Opportunity in the Pages of a Book

I received a book titled ‘The Irish American Tradition’ in the mail from its author.  The story behind this event is inspiring and sheds some light on why I chose to become a professional speaker.  I will be opening for the author at his book signing in Manhattan this Friday.  This post is about how booking this opportunity changed the course of my career.

The Revolving Door

About six months ago I was working a job that I did not enjoy.  I would spend every evening after work looking for other ways to make a living.  I had spent 1.5 years working for a company that had little value for the employee and much value for the bottom dollar.  While this is not rare, it is not my idea of a fulfilling way to spend the majority of my days.  Still, I managed my responsibilities and kept the companies client’s happy.

Then, out of nowhere, I was laid off.  My boss told me the company was downsizing and management was the first to go.  I went from a full-time employee earning a solid six-figure salary with full benefits to unemployed.  The situation could be perceived in one of two ways : look at it as the loss of a job, or look at it as gaining the freedom to do something I love.  I chose the latter, and joined a site where I could book speaking gigs.

A Positive Sign

Within 24 hours I booked my first gig.  I took it as a sign that being laid off was a gift of opportunity for me.  Since that moment I have wasted no time in honing my craft as a speaker and an MC.  For the past 10 years I have booked speaking gigs for television and various social events, but never thought to make it a full-time business.  It was only when I was faced with a situation where I had nothing to lose that I decided to give it a sincere shot and take it to the next level.  This is a prime example of how one door closing leads to another, more gracious and inviting, door opening.

I have booked other gigs since that time, but the first gig that I booked takes place this Friday.  It is indeed a very special occasion for many reasons.  Not only is it a prestigious event taking place in a historical city landmark, but it is a reminder to me to look for opportunity in every tough situation.  I share this as a reminder for you to do the same.