As you can imagine, there was a ton of flurry in the weeks immediately after receiving the news about our QVC and The Home Shopping Network Business Spotlight opportunity. The Friday before our air date, I had two successful Skype tests to ensure my live streamed segment would go off without a hitch.
I was nervous; I was antsy and they said that my test was the smoothest that they had experienced this year! Wooo hoooo! I was grateful that our Spotlight segment was during the final week of the schedule; a good 10 weeks away from the moment we found out, and I was generally excited overall,... but nothing could have prepared me for the morning of our on-air day!
Just the evening before, I was frantic; shouting at contractors, freaking out about the renovation project for my new community arts space, The Art SPOT. Would they be sure they would be finished and cleaned up so I could use the space for the big day?? A few frenzied hours later, there I was,... alone in a white room of freshly painted walls frantically wiping off the dust, breathing in that good feeling when you get to see a vision manifest. Setting up the Culture Portrait Product Collection on my handy-dandy IKEA bookcase was the cherry on top!
I took a few deep breaths, placed my tripod in its proper place and headed to bed. The day concluded with my having checked every one of the “to-do” boxes on my list; in true artist fashion, I actually draw boxes to check off (my mother thinks that is so funny), so all in all, the day felt “good.” I took a hot shower, snuggled into my blankies and closed my eyes on my cool pillow.
I wish I could say that I woke up to the bright morning sun brushing my cheek.
I didn’t. Even having completed the majority of The Art SPOT renovations, we were still in the middle of a full first floor renovation (say that three times fast!). The contents of my entire kitchen and stacks of living room books were piled between my bed and my bathroom. I had a one-foot wide path leading from my bed to my Master bathroom and from my bathroom to the hallway allowing me a narrow escape to the rest of the house. I hadn’t been able to reach my curtains for weeks since the renovations started… so the sun didn’t wake me, … but I did wake up early;
Early and oddly calm.
I tend to face high-stakes experiences with a steely outward calm mixed with a healthy dose of internal angst and panic. It is kind of a superpower of mine. When you have experienced as many rugs being pulled out from under you as I have, you master a certain set of skills to navigate life that is lost on the fortunate; the fortunate whose worlds are more steady, predictable, vanilla.
I had anticipated outward calm; that was a given. I had prepared and planned for this performance so calm should be seen as a natural by product: “Proper planning prevents poor performance,” right? It was the internal calm that was new, unique, almost strange.
Calm during a Pandemic?
Yep. It startled me, too. I noticed it. Usually calm just feels good. You don’t notice it; you enjoy it, ride it out, but that morning the calm was palpable. It was really the way that I would assume “preparation meeting opportunity” would feel if it were a thing with material properties. There was just no need to fret. It was a welcomed experience and I sauntered down to The Art SPOT an hour or so early to check everything and get ready.
I was stoked!! I was nervous! … but mostly stoked. I have to share that it was still all very surreal. I mean, I guess it makes sense that out of the millions of call-for-applicants that I respond to that I would land a few of them but… QVC!!?? I used to hang out with my grandmother as a little girl and watch QVC!
Then they played my promo video before introducing me.
I am a sap.
You may not know it but I am a real bonafide SAP! My promo video included an homage to both my deceased grandmother, Maxine Whatley and my father, Ron “Wandering Feather” Randolph. Now, I knew they were going to include them (duh!) as I had recorded a video for them to use during the weeks prior but seeing the story that they told using my art and photographs of the two of them melted me.
It took everything in me to remain upright, present and aware that in 30 seconds the host would be interviewing me LIVE on air! I stood there watching the promo video for the first time with a live nationwide audience and all I could feel was pride; a longing to know that I had made them proud.
Moments that stick.
So it was time…
LIVE! I was scheduled for four five-minute segments throughout the day; two with QVC and two with HSN. Each segment was the longest and shortest five minutes I had ever experienced. The hosts were gracious, amazing and asked great questions:
And then, POOF, the first one was done!
It was about 12:07pm when the first order hit my inbox. What I haven’t shared yet was my privately held fear that the Spotlight would reap me little rewards. It is the age-old playground angst of “what if they don’t like me?” syndrome.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that Custom Arts Studio creates awesome work and stellar products and, yet, my five year old self repeated that “what if…” incessantly. As the first few orders came in, I finally exhaled.
Montana, Oregon, California, Massachusetts.
Folks from all across the country were ordering, emailing me sentiments of congratulations and I even received a few CALLS! I heard from Carol, in Florida, whose adult musician son in Texas loves art. She thinks he will love the canvas prints she ordered. I spoke with Roy from Boston who wants a painting of him and his wife. It was amazing!
I was on a ROLL!
By the second segment, I felt loose. This was FUN! I have always genuinely liked people: interacting with them, sharing my heart and I was having a BLAST! I kept thinking about my two teenagers, my mother, my grandmother and my father. I was often teary under the surface when I thought about how hard I have worked over the years and how I hoped they were proud of me.
Then Carol called.
A different Carol. I was on-air with an AMAZING host! I have learned that no matter how awesome you are… having a great host makes ALL the difference! We were “vibing,” and had a natural flow between us when… Carol called. Somehow my DO NOT DISTURB setting was off and Carol called.
I don’t even know who this Carol was! Did someone see me on TV and decide that it was a good time to call me?!
It knocked me offline with the show and, in true superpower fashion, I skipped to my phone, dismissed the call, took a quick deep breath and hopped back in place like nothing happened. They immediately reconnected and, it was like there was just a little technology glitch,… the host, clearly a super hero as well, rebounded like we were never disconnected.
I had some internal choice words for Carol but they would have to wait. After my final segment of the day, I checked my phone to see if she responded to my quick, “how can I help you?” text in case she was a potential customer… her response? “Sorry, wrong number” !!!!!!! hahahaha Thanks, 2020! At least Carol gave me a good story. Thanks, Carol!
Saved by my super power.
It is no secret that the ability to keep your wits about you in a crisis is helpful. I am sure you can think of times where a clear head in the middle of a tragedy saved your life if not your sanity. What if you could cultivate that trait that supports you in a pinch and make it available to you whenever you call on it?
Your super power; that thing that you do instinctually, that has been with you since your memories began, the strength that helps you get through, can be harnessed to push you towards your destiny if you let it. It is a gift.
Maybe yours, like mine, was borne from a need to survive; maybe it is an innate talent of yours that you never focused on because it “came naturally.”... Whatever way it came to you… give it some love and attention. You may be surprised how it spurs you towards your wildest dreams.
BEHIND THE BRUSH