Once upon a time, 20 year old Sara was approached by a casting agent for the reality show "The One: Making a Music Star." If you've never heard of this show - don't worry - I'll fill you in.
My 20 year old self was in college in Seattle. I was "discovered" through my myspace music page. At the time I was trying to decide if I was going to stay where I was or transfer to another college. My whole life felt like it was up in the air, and I was just waiting to see where I landed.
When I received a message from a casting agent about auditioning for this show I was pretty excited. Well, excited and scared. And, honestly, a bit apprehensive. I have always disliked reality shows making money off of making fun of those who can't sing and being downright harsh to those who could. It always felt a little "dirty" to me.
The show itself was a mashup of American Idol and Big Brother. The contestants would live in a house together, compete once a week, and have a "results" show once a week. What I liked about the show was I would be able to sing original songs instead of covers. I responded to the agent who sent me the necessary information. I was emailed a contract, a request for photos, and a questionnaire.
Who are you willing to hurt to have your dream?
It was the questionnaire that really got me wondering if this was the right move. It asked questions such as: "How far would you go to win this contest?" or "Would you stab your friend in the back to stay in the competition?" These kinds of questions seemed absurd, and not worth answering. I wasn't willing to hurt anyone. I would work hard, and practice, but I wouldn't step on other people.
A few days before the big audition I got sick. Really sick. I could barely talk, and singing was painful. I remember calling my brother and asking him what I should do. He responded that maybe this wasn't the best idea. I was very sick and it didn't bode well for the audition. And he knew I was having reservations about auditioning in the first place.
In the end I cancelled my audition and so we'll never know how that might have changed my story. The show aired that fall and only lasted 2 weeks before being cancelled. A few of the contestants went on to compete on other reality singing shows and one of them went on tour with Taylor Swift.
The saddest words: What might have been!
A little part of me will always wonder what might have been. Would I now be touring with Taylor Swift? Would I have gone on to tackle another reality show? Or would I have faded into the background and gotten behind in my college career?
I also wonder if I would have ever met the 3 girlfriends I found in college? Would I have met the love of my life at an alumni event at our Arts High School? Would I have started this company by turning my passion for stationery into a business? Would I have had the adventure of a lifetime finding out what is truly important to me?
The life lessons I took away from that experience were:
1. Always trust your gut. It will never lead you astray.
2. Never compromise your values for "too good to miss" opportunities. They may not be as good as they seem.
3. There is no limit to the amount of opportunities in the world. Seek them out, or make your own. If you build it - they will come! (Thanks Field of Dreams!)
Let me end with this:
Are we the choices we make? Or is it all a bit more complicated?
What big leaps did you take, or not take, that lead you to where you are? Do you regret any of them? Or do you feel they helped form you?
Comment below and tell me a bit of your story!