It’s November 14th. I’m about an hour into a two-hour coaching call with a client, and my phone starts to blow up! 

Usually, my mobile is in DND mode, but I’d forgotten to put that on. And each time I sent the incoming call to voice-mail, the person would call back. 

I knew who was calling and I was pretty certain it wasn’t an emergency. Most likely, it was media related and time-sensitive. 

So, I sent a text saying, “Hey, Stacey, I am on a call. I will call you back when done.”

Once we chatted, that conversation would turn out to be one of the BEST unexpected calls of 2023. 

It set into motion a series of additional calls with the production company and advertising agency, submitting materials and clips of my media appearances for the end-client to review, hopping on a plane for a three-day adventure, and an experience I will never forget! 

And talk about a whirlwind: All of this materialized within four (4) weeks, in the midst of two other speaking engagements and during a time where I also caught a nasty cold and stomach bug. 

Regarding the cold/bug, I was determined to do everything I could to be healthy and ready for a moment like this – one that I’ve secretly wished for for a long time. 🙂

I was excited for multiple reasons, beginning with the: 

  • Who – I’m not at liberty to reveal the company just yet, but it is a big deal!; 
  • Format – It’s a long-form commercial; and 
  • Purpose – To talk about generational Black wealth, but not from a deficit-thinking perspective, which is common in our industry and it drives me bonkers!  

In other words, before I even got on “location,” I was hooked and all-in! Because everything about the event was right up my alley.

“Quiet on The Set” 

I’ve been on television sets for news programs like CNN. “Good Morning America” filmed in my home. However, this was my first time being on “set,” which, in this case, was a restaurant that had been closed to the public for several days for the purpose of this shoot. 

The night before our shoot, the magnitude of what I was about to experience really hit me. That’s when I saw the film trucks and ALL the equipment, and met the film crew of probably 30-35 people (all of whom were delightful and attentive). 

Day of, the hairstylist was in my hotel room around 7:45am, the makeup artist about 75-minutes later, and the wardrobe stylist came in between.  

I’ll never watch a commercial or a scene in a television series or a movie in the same way, again. Because, I now have a better understanding of all the moving pieces and ALL the people it takes to bring what you and I see on screen to “life.” Long before the words, “Quiet on the set;” “Action;” “Pause;” or “That’s a wrap” are spoken. 

(My invitation and involvement may have unfolded in four short weeks, but this shoot was the culmination of a project that was started over 2 ½ years ago. Talk about planning!!) 

Embracing the Magic

We were filming a dinner scene, and aside from the “host” who moderated our conversation (that would be Stacey), I was meeting the other guests for the very first time the morning of the shoot. Yet, you would never know this. The three hours we spent together at the table felt more like we were “old” friends catching up. It was incredible! 

And, the magic wasn’t just present at the table. 

It was a part of every aspect of this experience from the initial call on November 14 to my flight back home on December 13. The perfect reminder of the power of the: 

  • Mystery of life; 
  • Delight of serendipity; and 
  • Adventures that unfold when you enthusiastically say, “Yes!”

While I’ve secretly wished for an experience like the one I had, this opportunity certainly was not on my radar prior to that call from Stacey. It was truly an unforeseen and unexpected blessing. 

That said, I was able to fully embody the moment because I was ready for it! 

My successes and failures, from working in this industry for more than three decades – time spent honing my skills and sharing my non-traditional perspective about the intersection of money, life, and business prepared me well for this moment.  

It was also a reminder of something I often say: 

Your success is never a result of your efforts alone

Someone said your name in a room (a) where you weren’t present, and (b) that opened doors to new experiences, opportunities, and adventures you otherwise might not have even known about. 

I will forever be grateful to Stacey Tisdale and Farhoud Meybodi for putting my name forward for a magical experience I’ll never forget. 

An Explosion of Joy

The day after the shoot, I was journaling and searching for words to describe my intense feelings. “An explosion of joy” is what came to mind. And this is how I’ve been describing it to anyone who will listen to me gush about the shoot itself and everything leading up to it, as well as afterward. 

All this gushing, though, made me wonder about you: I’d love to know when you experienced an explosion of joy this year? 

What happened that reminded you of the mystery and serendipity of life? What was the event itself and what unfolded leading up to it?

Who mentioned your name in a room where you were not present, and how did that lead to a new connection and/or opportunity?

What conversation opened doors for you that invited you to step out of your comfort zone, to try something new, and possibly to embrace personal and professional growth on a new level?

What did you say “Yes!” to that led to an unforeseen encounter or adventure that you’d describe as an unexpected blessing?

And, as you gear up to welcome 2024, how open are you to using “Yes!” as a portal for the myriad of possibilities that await? 

For the coming year (and years) ahead, I hope for you (even) more delightful moments that catch you off guard. I hope you’ll have experiences that touch your heart so deeply that it leaves an imprint that will linger long after the moment has passed. 

What I hope for you, I hope for myself. May we all have experiences that result in a surge of inexplicable joy.

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