Last week I received an invitation I would have killed for five years ago.
And I turned it down.
I casually mentioned the invitation on Facebook, and my decision not to
accept it, and the response floored me. I’d expected some people to go, “Nice to
have had the offer!” and that would be it. But many of my friends were incensed
that I’d walked away. “ARE YOU CRAZY?” one email demanded to know.
Well, the answer depends on where you are in your life.
Here’s the story: Last spring I got a call from the Discovery Channel, asking
me if I’d like to be in the data base as a professional organizer for their new
series on hoarders. I said sure, as long as the episode would be shot fairly
close to where I live. The invitation last week was from the show’s producers,
saying they’d found a client in Phoenix and although they knew Phoenix was a
four-hour round trip from my house, I was at the top of their list.
It was certainly an honor to have been asked. I was flattered and
appreciative. But much had transpired since the first contact last May; much in
my head, anyway.
When I had the first conversation, I hadn’t really watched either of the
hoarder shows. Having spent much of my career working in those difficult
environments with very troubled clients, I never thought of the programs as
“entertaining.” But I decided to watch, so I could evaluate what I’d be getting
myself into if I were selected. And it was mighty grim watching.
Hoarders have an illness, and as interesting as it might be to watch their
homes get cleared out, you don’t get to see the whole story. The program is
carefully edited and presented to hold your attention but the actual process is
longer and much more demanding. Serious therapeutic assistance is required for
the client to deal with hoarding obsessions.
So, I’ve been there and done that, and know that I could do it again. But the
question for me was, “Do I WANT to do this again?”
When I was actively building my business and career, the notion of being on
national TV was the carrot that made many sticks tolerable.Everyone dreamed (and
still dreams) about being on Oprah. I made it as far as the Regis show after my
first book on organizing came out, when they were still letting “non-celebrities” on the program. Appearing live with
Regis was a hoot, but the work behind the scenes was murder. I did a
before-and-after reorganization of the producers’ office and because I’m me, I
tried to make the organizational systems match eachindividual. The producers didn’t really care though if the make-over was
genuine. They just wanted “good TV” with nice shots that would make the viewers
I gave them exactly what they wanted, and because one of the guests didn’t
show on the day of taping, they gave me two segments instead of one – one
segment was of the already taped office make-over and one was live with Regis
and his wife, Joy. Regis told me later that it went very well and that I was
“big” (whatever that means).
It took me a week to recover, but the publicity was great and I’m sure it
helped book sales. So fast-forward to last week. Given my past TV success, why
wouldn’t I go for a repeat performance? Because between last spring and last
week, I decided to teach a class on my passion, “Creating Your Personal Legacy”
that combines several of my interests. My class research is cutting-edge, fun
and very consuming. I’m also editing a friend’s epic fantasy novel, and doing
mentoring/coaching and on-line writing.
Bottom-line, my cup is full and happy.
Granted, I could have agreed to do the show for several other reasons – to
help someone who really needs it, to show viewers across the country how I
assist people, and to create publicity for my existing books and any new
projects that I undertake in the future. But honestly, is it worth the huge
exchange of time and energy? (By the way, this isn’t a paid gig.)
For me, now, the answer is a definitive “no”. It’s tempting for sure, but not
at the top of my priority list. And that’s what’s most important. Sometimes we
get to make big choices that demonstrate to us if we’re really ready to walk our
talk — to give up something good for something even better.
Thanks to all my friends who wanted me to keep going for the gold, but I’ve
already found it, right here in my own backyard.