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Victor Benoun

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“Victor, please remove all your clothing….yes, everything. We are ready to begin.”

playgirl-cover

That was the conversation running through my head when I saw the message that Playgirl magazine had called. What would I tell my friends and family?

Okay Victor, settle down. You haven’t applied for anything or submitted any photos so don’t let your imagination get the best of you. I decided to return the call.

The reporter explained that Playgirl wanted to do a story on today’s independent woman who makes decisions on her own, even one as important as a purchasing a home without the need for a husband or partner. She wanted to know about my experience as a mortgage broker and the clients I work with.

She wanted to interview me.

“You don’t want my body?”

“No.”

“Can I do the interview with my clothes on?”

“Yes.”

I’m not sure if I was relieved or insulted, but I was leaning towards relieved. We did the interview and it was great fun. It also gave me exposure (so to speak) in a national magazine. As a result I learned several valuable lessons:

First, don’t let your imagination go crazy on you. Find out what is going on and then make an intelligent decision.

Second, you are never so insignificant that you can’t accomplish greatness on a grand scale. The reporter could have called anyone at any number of national banks, but she called me. What was important was the information.

Since then I have been interviewed by Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC.com, CBS Marketwatch, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, radio stations across the country and in Canada as well as on local television. There have been many more over the years.

If you are not a public figure but wish to contribute to your chosen discipline, there are many ways you can do it. You can blog, posts videos, Twitter, Facebook, join social media groups, write newsletters, just to start with. You will build yourself into the expert you want to be. When the media does contact you, be ready, courteous and on time. Reporters have deadlines and will rely on you in the future when they need you. You never know who will be calling or for what purpose. Believe it or not, that is half the fun.

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Recently, I attended a lecture given by Carol Burnet, one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen. She talked about her new book, her life, her daughter and of course her television and movie career. At the end, she took questions from the audience.

CarolBurnettThe question was asked, “how do you deal with rejection in such a competitive industry?”

Ms. Burnet answered, what is most important is that you go for what makes you passionate, what you have “fire in your belly for”. She told a story about a movie she had auditioned for, something she really wanted and was convinced she would be offered the part. It was between her and one other actress. Eventually the part was offered to the other actress.

She went on to explain when she learned of the results, she wasn’t sad or upset, in fact she was happy for the other actress, “it was her turn. It will be my turn soon enough.” As it turned out the phone rang the next day and she was offered a starring role in a major motion picture. She was excited, jubilant, and thrilled. It was her turn.

She summed it up by saying, be happy for others, do what you are passionate about, and be ready. Soon enough it will be your turn.

Life gives us plenty of aha moments. Opportunities and challenges that are set before our feet, inviting us to dive in head first. The question is, ‘Are we paying attention?’ Leanne Womack has a great song about it called, I hope you Dance.

Three years ago I had an AHA MOMENT. I capitalize, bold and italicize the words because for me they were life changing. I attended a performance of The Cirque de Soleil show of Iris one Sunday night at the grand Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. The show was about old Hollywood. Just after the intermission the actors began talking about the Academy Awards and who should win this year.

iris

A man dressed in a Vaudeville suit went to the podium and said the nominees are: the first 3 names were in the cast, a camera quickly showed who they were. Then the name of an audience member was announced a few rows from me and the camera panned to him. Lastly the camera affixed itself to me and I heard the words, “our final nominee is Victor.” He opened the envelope and read, “the winner is Victor!”

The actors motioned to me to come join them on stage. This was my AHA MOMENT. Because in a split second I had to make a decision if I was going to be shy and say, “Oh I couldn’t possibly do something like that,” or I could run up on stage and play. I leaped to the stage and had the time of my life. I had a fight scene, a death scene, and an Academy Award Acceptance speech before 5,000 people I did not know. Even though I had no idea what was going to happen next, I played, and had the audience in hysterics. After the show people came up to me and asked me if I was actually part of the show.

The experience was life changing. “If I can do this, what else can I do?” My life has been on an accelerated path since then. In fact I looked back on all the things I have accomplished and had forgotten about: I have written books, been interviewed on television and in newspapers and national magazines, including Playgirl (I had my clothes on). I have started businesses, created products, fallen flat on my face, gotten back up, learned to kick-box, to do magic, to coach, to take risks, to be a friend, to pay it forward, and to do the things in life that make a difference really living the life I love.

Be aware of the Ah-Ha moments that present themselves to you. And when the next one appears, I hope you dance.