Once I was hired by a national fast food chain to appear in a commercial advertising the roll out of a brand new biiiiiiiig, thiiiiiiick, juuuuuuicy burger. I was pretty excited by this opportunity. Free food, make some cash, be on tv. What could go wrong?
One thing I hadn’t thought of in answering the newspaper ad for the role was that I am a burger purist. I like my burgers with some cheese, bacon, mushrooms and maybe a little barbecue sauce. I do not like burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo or anything that you see in the picture above.
When they brought out the burger to begin the shoot I realized I was REALLY going to have to act as the commercial required me to bite into the burger and say some line like, “I love this biiiig, thiiiiick, juuuuuicy burger,” or something along those lines. We did the first take and I made it through with an what I thought to be an Oscar like performance and the director says, “Let’s try it again. Something isn’t right.” They took the burger out of my hand and threw it away and brought me a new one. We did it again and this time it may not have been Oscar worthy but certainly at least a Golden Globe nominee.
After the director said, “Cut,” he turned to one of his cohorts and they had a conversation. I asked the guy handling the burgers what was going on and he said he had no idea.
After a couple of minutes the director turned back to me and said, “Sorry, Dave. We have to fire you. Your hands are too big and they make the burger look too small!”
Just like that my acting career was over because of a physical characteristic that I have no control over! And yet, in hindsight, I did learn some things from losing my thespian career before it even got off the ground.
- Perception is Reality
Reality: The actual size of the burger is not different in my hands compared to someone with “normal” sized hands. Perception: If I’m the fast food vendor and I am launching a new biiiiiiig burger I don’t want it to look like something ordered off the value meal or kids menu in the commercial. My wife often tells me I dress down too much for my chosen profession. I have to admit that she’s right on this. Reality: I’m the same person whether I’m wearing a suit or a pair of paint stained sweatpants and torn sweatshirt. Perception: Someone seeing me dressed down may not see me as someone they want to work with to help them in their desire to grow personally or professionally.
- People Want Different Things and We’re Not Always a Good Fit
I actually was pretty disappointed when I lost the commercial. Selfishly, I couldn’t believe I would get fired over the size of my hands! What’s up with that?! Over time I was able to put myself in their shoes and realize I wasn’t a good fit for what they were trying to sell. Trying to look at things from another’s perspective has been a real growing tool for me.
- Everything That Happens is Part of Your Story
Whenever I tell this story in a public setting I get a great reaction. It’s a short chapter in my story. I am learning more each day to be the author of my story rather than a character in a story that goes on around me.
What are the messages that you send out to people that create a perception, right or wrong, about you?
What have you lost in your life that you hang onto that, in reality, wasn’t really a good fit for you? A job, a relationship, a promotion?
Are you the author of your story or are you simply a character in your own life? Do you have the COURAGE to engage in life or do you lay in bed at night going through your list of regrets? COURAGE is about stepping into something without knowing the results or what might happen. Was I disappointed the burger commercial didn’t work out? Yes! Am I glad I did it anyway? Yes!
I welcome your comments and feedback. Please feel free to share if you know of someone who might benefit from this post.
Have a STRONG and COURAGEOUS day!