Everyday Adventures

When Opportunity Knocked and I Slammed the Door

Have you ever noticed that when something AMAZING happens, you royally screw it up?

No? Just me? Bueller?

I know; I have a flare for the drama. But I’m sure you’ve felt this way before.

You spend all your time aligning yourself with the Universe, working tirelessly toward a goal. And just when you start to wonder why you’re spending all this time working on your passion, there is suddenly a small reward for your efforts. A nod, from the Universe if you will…

Hil & Lightning

Someone dangles a carrot in front of you and you get ALL EXCITED because the opportunity you’ve been WAITING FOR has FINALLY arrived! Bon Voyage, silly mundane world! You’ve got your Golden Ticket and you’re off to explore the world and follow those big dreams that have fueled your life for so long…

Hilary fiji sunset

Or you know, you could do what I did and somehow manage to bore the carrot, make a fool of yourself, and then find yourself going back to the drawing board with nothing more than a sense of failure and missed opportunity.

Have I lost you? One too many analogies, huh? Okay, let me break it down…

Upon returning from Fiji, I was invited to a party by a very special and important family friend. While it was nice enough just to be thought of, he’d heard about my blog and my time living with The Firewalkers. He had someone he wanted me to meet. She herself was also Very Important, and someone who could help me achieve my goal of getting the Fijian school children their much needed school supplies.

fijian-schoolchildren

This woman knew people who could invest, bring the media attention and necessary equipment to Dakuibeqa. And my family friend wanted me to meet her and tell her my story.

So you know, no pressure.

I wore the only new dress I’d bought for myself in the past year, brought my last two business cards, and practiced what I wanted to say to this Very Important Person in the hours leading up to the party. As I had only been invited the previous day, I didn’t have time to do a full run-through like I wanted, so I just had to settle for being more ‘off the cuff’.

You’d think that I’d be cool with being ‘off the cuff’. Not so much.

I arrived, thanking my very special family friend for inviting me. He draped his arm around my shoulder and steered me into the other room. He introduced me to his Very Important friend as she sipped on her glass of wine.

She was absolutely stunning. I don’t know why this threw me.

“This young lady has an incredible story and she is an amazing writer. I think you would love her tale.” This Very Important woman and her friend sat on the edge of their bar stools and leaned in, intrigued. Our friend left to attend business elsewhere. And suddenly I was alone with them.

So I took a breath and began talking.

In the few hours I’d had to imagine how this would go down, I’d managed to tell a tale SO riveting and SO sensational, I’d end up with my goal completed in six months.

I’d pictured myself meeting this lady’s Very Important Friends, receiving a giant check (which I then presented to the Fijians), and the computers and cell tower being delivered to the island by the end of the year.

Of course, this amazing feat would get me invited on Ellen where I’d tell her all about my story. This would lead to my inevitable book deal and my being named a New York Time’s Best Selling author. Of course, it was only logical that Universal Studios would then start calling. begging for me to sell the rights. The Fijians would have their needed supplies, my story would reach the masses, and everyone would be happy. (Obviously, I’m super realistic).

In my head I gave a flawless and emotionally laden version of my life, bringing this Very Important woman and her friend to tears. She’d be so moved, she’d hug me and we’d forever be bound over my great story-telling abilities.

So naturally, this was NOT what happened.

I bombed. And I bombed hard.

I screwed this up so bad, I didn’t even want to listen to me talk by the end. It was so embarrassing. And awkward. And I felt awful for this poor woman.

Of course I only had myself to blame. I mean, I was the one who chose to tell the LONG version of the story. Who tells the long version of ANY story while at a party?

This girl, apparently.

She clearly had friends she wanted to connect with and I trapped her in my web of stumbling words. I confused her because I’d I started at the beginning beginning of my nomadic life and not the Fijian story beginning. And though I knew it was wrong, I continued rambling on like a drunken idiot (even though I’d had barely a sip of wine out of fear of doing THE EXACT THING I WAS DOING).

I made dramatic pauses (or so I thought) with no reaction. I tried to explain my love of Elizabeth Gilbert, the school children, and the villagers but I got them all wrong. I put the wrong emphasis on the wrong parts and made my life totally unappealing.

Did I mention we were at a party?

I had this poor woman cornered for over half an hour. I just wanted to walk away but I HAD to get to the end, and by the time I got to the end I just wanted to die die die.

You would never know I had a closet full of public speaking trophies from this night. You would never know I was a college graduate from this night. Hell, you probably wouldn’t know if I was sane.

This Very Important woman was polite and sweet. She listened even after her friends bailed. But I just wanted her to hit me over the head with her wine glass.

Before I had time to turn the tables, get to know her, and continue on with all the bonding I’d dreamt about all day, she was leaving. I hadn’t had time to mend my demolished opportunity. I barely even had time to say goodbye. And bless her heart, she even asked for my blog information.

I handed out my last two business cards, absolutely mortified. All I could do was hope my cheeks didn’t match the shade of my dress.

At least I looked good in my dress. Not that that’s much of a consolation as you watch your giant imaginary check and ‘Best Screenplay’ Oscar nomination dreams go up in flames…

But yeah. I guess sometimes that’s how life goes. So I’ll keep moving forward.

(Let me insert a dramatic photo of me walking through the desert to illustrate my point of how I’ll keep moving forward).

Walking through desert copy

But in all seriousness… Didn’t Julie Powell have a moment like this before her big break when The Times called about her blog? She thought she’d lost a golden opportunity only to find that hers was waiting just months down the road?

Is it too much to hope that something like that could happen twice in a lifetime?

Well, is it? Bueller?

28 Comments

  • Reply

    Aunty C

    August 3, 2013

    Oh Darlin,
    The cream always rises to the top and you my love are the CREAM!
    Magic happens, you are on the right track.

    Much love, BIG HUG!
    Aunty C

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Thank you so much, Aunt Carolyn! Fingers crossed for the magic. =)

  • Reply

    Annie Mae

    August 3, 2013

    BRAVO!
    To fail is miserable, however, owning up to your actions means all is not lost. Humility is necessary for God to turn our mistakes into amazing performances. Now, when someone does give you that money for Fiji you can be assured that it is because of their shared passion and heart for the Fijian people. I admire your slunk and passion. Don’t lose heart. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Thank you so much, Annie Mae! I totally agree with you. Of course, in the moment, it feels like a HUGE failure. But the right fit is on its way. =) Thanks for reading and following along the journey!

  • Reply

    Lythya

    August 3, 2013

    Hey Hilary
    Good to read a new post from you. I recall you being quite active at posting lately, but due to traveling I haven’t been able to read (and comment).
    (Btw, I still sometimes get updates on comments on other posts, it’s very weird. Nobody else experiencing this?)
    Anyway, it’s too bad to hear about your missed opportunity, but as you said you’ve aligned yourself with the universe. The universe will aspire to once again put you in a good position. I’m sure you’ll achieve your goals.
    Really, you’re always doing something! When not trying to become a park ranger you save fijian children. I’ve been away for too long.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 4, 2013

      So good to hear from you, friend! How was your adventure? I can’t wait to hear all about your travels! I’m sure you’ve had some amazing experiences yourself!

      And agggh! SO not happy to hear that. I’m so sorry. Can you do me a favor and forward me some of the e-mails you are getting to I can send analyze them with my tech support team to determine where they are coming from?

      And thank you so much for your kind words and support. My life is ridiculous and kind of bipolar. Yes, we have MUCH to catch up on. =)

      • Reply

        Lythya

        August 8, 2013

        Oh, it was a great trip! It ended three days earlier than it should because my companion got sick, but oh well. We only missed cheap hair cuts, pants and a trip to the zoo :)
        It was wonderful to travel in eastern europe, which is SO cheap! We met lots of great people. After such a long journey I realize that all the churches look a lot alike, and the things you truly remember are the nights you spent chit chatting with some random stranger. If I go traveling again I will keep my focus on the people and follow the flow of social interaction instead of cultural and historical obligations.

        Anyway, I’m not exactly getting emails. What happens is that if I post a comment on one of your posts my wordpress reader, where the blogs I follow get updated, is filled with every comment from the post I commented on, which means that stuff I follow gets blocked out but ALSO that I didn’t realize you’d responded back to me because that ALSO got swallowed by all the comments. (That’s why I’m replying 4 days after you wrote. Sorry <.<)

        I love your life, though! You do take things as they come, it seems, and I like how your blog is kind of taking a twist. It used to be pretty much happy go lucky, except for the time that your surfer friend died, which was a terrible time, and I think it's good to see this approach where you take life head on as it is.

        • Reply

          Hilary

          August 13, 2013

          Sounds like an amazing experience! And I totally agree with you. Trips are made because of the people you meet. And I think that’s a great way to go about exploring your next destination!

          Thank you for the information. I will contact my wordpress tech team and see what we can do to resolve this!

          • Lythya

            August 15, 2013

            Oh, by the way, HIlary, just wanted to let you know I changed avatar and name x)

          • Hilary

            November 29, 2013

            Saw that! Thank you for the update :).

  • Reply

    Brittany

    August 4, 2013

    Hey girl don’t be to hard on yourself and that lady may have been impressed with you! You never know! I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be more opportunities for you keep up the faith! You’re doing great!

    Brittany

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Yeah you’re right. It’s hard to view yourself from someone else’s eyes. And we are our own worst critics. Thank you for your encouragement! Lots of love. =)

  • Reply

    Britt Skrabanek

    August 4, 2013

    Hey, girl! The universe is just the universe…no biggie.

    I totally feel you on the speaking thing. It seems when something is crucial, I nose dive. But, it sounds like this opportunity wasn’t meant to be. Knowing you through your blog, I am sure something awesome is on the horizon.

    P.S. I love that you inserted that dramatic photo at the end. Bravo. : )

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Thank you so much for commenting, Britt! I normally perform well under pressure, but in this case it was horrific. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one that this has happened to. =)

      And thank you so much for the sweet words! I’m really glad that we’ve been able to connect through blogging. The internet is a wonderful thing!

  • Reply

    Lynn Schriner

    August 4, 2013

    That’s the girl I know and love!
    Your journey of learning will never end. Winning and losing, shining and hidden is our God given brilliance and everything happens for a reason…right?
    Love you

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      It’s true. It’s all a journey. We’re lifetime learners. Thanks for the reminder. =)

  • Reply

    Andrea

    August 4, 2013

    Ugh, that sucks! I feel for you. Next time just say “I’m bombing hard right now aren’t I? I only knew about coming here to meet you yesterday and I’m so nervous I can’t stop talking…” Sometimes (with smart, empathetic people) a little bit of self deprecating charm makes them suddenly realize you’re just nervous. And likely, maybe she DID realize that..? I do the same thing EVERY time I have an important meeting, just did it last week in fact, and always end up looking like a red faced, round eyed, fanatical loon bent on work domination (or Jon Stewart, hopefully). Can’t control every situation, sadly. Don’t worry, if she reads your blog, she’ll get it I’m sure!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Hahahahahaha. This comment made me SO happy. I love it.

      And yes, what a good idea! I will totally have to try that! Thanks for the tip. =) Any news on how your important meeting went? I’m sure they loved you!

  • Reply

    Libby Adams

    August 5, 2013

    Hilary, sometimes when we try too hard to get things perfect, things will not happen the way we want. And there are times when we’re not fully prepared and running around like crazy and that’s when things do happen. Just let things happen naturally. Prepare some, but don’t over do it OK?

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Thank you for the reminder, Libby. I’m only KIND OF a control freak (have you noticed?) Thanks so much for commenting and sharing!

  • Reply

    Erica

    August 6, 2013

    It happens to the best of us.
    I can’t help but think that my time in NYC has been nothing but missed opportunity, but looking back on it, I also see that it’s just what I needed. :)

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Ooh, interesting… I never would have looked at it like that. Why do you think it was a missed opportunity?

  • Reply

    clisanti

    August 6, 2013

    You should have done shots with her and started the whole ordeal on a high note. I find when telling a story that the more your audience drinks the more they enjoy the message. It was a party after all.

    On another note maybe those kids are better off with out cell phones and computers. Simplicity can be a blissful sort off life.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 7, 2013

      Haha. Next time I’ll just bring my own bottle of Everclear. ;)

      And maybe. The elders had given me approval to start searching for a sponsor to make it happen. But sometimes you have to wonder if they’re the ones who have it right, don’t you?

  • Reply

    travellingmo

    August 11, 2013

    I absolutely don’t think you blew your one and only chance! True, it was an amazing opportunity, but girl, it happens to all of us. More opportunities come down the road. You should treat every one like it is the Big One, but realistically, the big opportunities come when they want to and you are ready to receive them, not when you want them to.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      August 13, 2013

      I know that everything you say is true. But there’s still that part of me that desperately wants to control EVERYTHING and have it happen EXACTLY like the movies. Is that TOO MUCH to ask?

      Yeah, don’t even worry about answering it… I know I have incredibly unrealistic goals, haha!;)

  • Reply

    Terrisa

    September 7, 2013

    You are so not alone.

    The last time I bombed an opportunity hard, seriously hard, I was presenting on a big stage with a big screen… when the worst case of dry mouth ever struck me. I didn’t feel nervous–I’ve been speaking publicly for years–but I was soon guzzling water like Marco Rubio x 100. Then I did get nervous, thanks to the water guzzling, and I got short of breath. It proved to me that despite all our best preparations, things can (and do) go wrong.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      September 8, 2013

      While I’m sorry to hear that happened, I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one! Wow. That sounds like quite the experience! I’m sure you handled it like a champ, though!! What did the client have to say?

Leave a Reply

About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

As Seen On

As Seen On

Subscribe to Blog via Email

We're all busy being awesome. This way you won't miss a post! Enter your email below and I'll send you post updates.

Join 3,457 other subscribers

Not what you’re looking for?

If you were looking for my hosting website, or just wanted to troll my resume, photos and hosting reel, click here.

Follow Me