Every Moment Counts: Lessons in Opportunity from TV to YouTube Stardom

Get ahead in your career
Keynote speaker and speech coach Patricia Fripp reminds us that opportunity is everywhere.

Want Success? You Never Know Where Your Next Big Break Is Coming From!

A Blast from the Past

Frippicism® Opportunity does not knock once. It knocks all the time we do not always recognize the sound.

Earlier in my speaking career, I was mostly a keynote speaker. Recently, I was having fun reviewing a couple of the examples I told decades ago!

Early in the career of TV host, Joan Lunden received great advice from Barbara Walters.

“Take every crumb they throw you and handle them magnificently.”

You never know which magnificent crumb is going to be your big break.

Burt Reynolds had made ten films when director John Boorman cast him in the film Deliverance.

Burt asked Boorman, “Which of my films impressed you so you gave me this terrific part?”

“None of them,” said Boorman. “I saw you guest-host the Tonight Show. You were fearless in controlling the five guests. The guy in Deliverance has to control three people in a stressful situation.”

This leads us to the next point: At that time, Johnny Carson was the king of late-night television.

Burt developed a character for the show — a super-cocky, wisecracking, devil-may-care womanizer — and Johnny absolutely loved him. Burt’s TV persona was not the kind of guy you would want to live with, yet made great television.

Their routines would go something like this. Johnny would ask, “What are you going to do after the show?” and Burt would say, “Oh, walk up and down Broadway and try to get recognized.” Then he’d wink at the camera as if to say, “I’m having a good time, and being rich and famous is not bad either.”

All guests had strict instructions not to talk to Johnny during commercials, so Burt was chatting with Ed McMahon when Johnny suddenly leaned over and asked, “How would you like to guest-host while I’m on vacation?” No actor had ever been invited to guest-host before, only comedians.

When Burt first hosted the Tonight Show he had the staff book his ex-wife Judy Carne.

Opportunity Does not Know once

Everyone was astonished, even Judy. They hadn’t spoken in six years and still had unresolved marital issues and a lot of animosities.

However, Burt Reynolds knew what my pal, copy-writing genius David Garfinkel, taught me: “People love conflict. They love to see people fighting who, deep down, share affection, and attraction.”

So, Judy Carne came on the show, sat down, and said, “Hmm, you look good. “Burt said, “I hate to tell you, but so do you.” She asked, “What have you been doing?”

“Oh, hanging around street corners trying to sell Burt-and-Judy towels,” he quipped. “They are tough to get rid of.” She admitted that she and her current husband were having problems. Burt said, “Well, I’ve grown up since we were married.” The audience clearly was hoping they’d kiss and make up and get back together.

Superb theater

How often have you ever felt that a particular job was beneath you or too trivial to merit your best effort? You never know which of the many things you do is going to lead to your big break. That means you have to do everything well.

Modern Example of Seizing Opportunities

In recent years, the rise of social media influencers has provided numerous examples of seizing unexpected opportunities. One such story is that of Emma Chamberlain, a young YouTuber who rose to fame through her unique and relatable content. Starting as a regular teenager posting vlogs and lifestyle content, Emma’s authentic style and engaging personality caught the attention of larger audiences and brands. She didn’t wait for opportunities; she created them by consistently delivering content that resonated with her viewers. Her big break came when she was invited to attend high-profile fashion events like the Met Gala, bridging the gap between social media fame and mainstream recognition. This transition from a YouTube personality to a fashion icon and brand ambassador showcases how embracing every chance, no matter how small it seems, can lead to significant breakthroughs.

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