Happy Herbivore Blog

July 19, 2011

When opportunity knocks

Sometimes you need to close the door.

I know, this sounds so opposite of everything I've been preaching, but bare with me.

It's true, I have been making an effort to see the glass half full, to find opportunities in not-so-great situations, and say "yes" more. I think being optimistic is great but as I discovered last week, sometimes the best thing you can do is say "no thanks" and that sometimes saying "no" is actually the greatest opportunity of all.

In case you missed all the chatter on Facebook, Lifetime asked me to be a guest on one of their shows last week. I was excited -- practically jumping out of my skin -- until the end of the conversation when the producer told me I'd have to pay a fee of around $6,000.

That's right. 

Borrowing the words from my friend Barbara "They claim you will make a ton of money from doing it so they consider it an advertising fee. Ridiculous concept."

Since my first cookbook came out, I've had a lot of PR firms barking up my tree, all of them offering to get me on Good Morning America, or some other show, if I was willing to pay several thousands dollars. 

It's not that I don't want to be on those shows, but let me let you in on a little secret:

There is absolutely no money in writing cookbooks. None.

I make pennies on the dollar, but that's okay, I don't do what I do because I think it will make me rich and famous. If I wanted to be rich, I'd still be a lawyer and if I wanted to be famous I'd have been on reality TV (joke)!

Point is, while I don't mind living with less so I can do what I love, that isn't going to pay my way on to a Television show.

Still, I had a hard time coming to terms with having to turn the opportunity down until I flipped through a book I'd just read, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. 

Tony had developed a business (LinkExchange) and early on he'd been offered $1 million cash to sell it. He and his partners struggled ("We really believed that LinkExchange had the potential to be so much bigger, but it was also hard to turn down so much money" Tony wrote) but ultimately they declined the offer. Not too long later, they sold the company for $265 million.

The lesson I took away was that sometimes you have to know when to say no. 

In this past year, I've been asked by two reality TV shows to audition for upcoming shows on their network and now, I've gotten this offer from Lifetime. Even if nothing pans out, that's okay because it's still an honor and most importantly, an indication that whatever I'm doing is working. Chin up!

Have you ever turned down an opportunity? 

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