Lately, as I have been taking up new opportunities, a lot of folks have been asking me how I can muster up the spirit to make moves at this point in my life. How, oh how, can I take such risks?
It’s got me thinking about an incident in my college years and the lesson I learned about opportunity. That lesson has stuck with me my entire life.
It was 1993, and I was on spring break in Miami, Fla. My girlfriend had gotten badly sunburned, and so while she suffered in the hotel room, I went to the bar to catch a Bulls game.
The Bulls were in Miami that very night, and this was the peak of Michael Jordan mania. The hotel bar was crammed with folks there to watch the game, most of whom wanted to see their lowly Heat try to defeat the incredible Bulls.
As the game went on, and I gabbed with people around me, it became apparent I was the dude from Illinois and everyone picked on me for it. Friendly jabs and teasing made it all more fun.
Beer was flowing and quite a bit of it was purchased for me, the young college guy, by the older Miamians whom were rooting on the Heat.
By the end of the game, I had made friends with about a dozen people and when the Bulls went on to actually lose, it amazingly made me a sympathetic character for everyone there.
One gentleman, there with his wife for a night out, told me he actually worked for the Heat, and he had noticed my voice. He asked me if I had ever done any professional voice work. We talked for a bit, and he offered me a job as an advertising voice for the Miami Heat.
The sums of money he spoke of where astronomical, or so they seemed to a guy still in college.
I really didn’t quite believe him until he produced his business card with the logo on it, and told me he was quite serious. He’d like me to come by in the morning to hammer out the details.
I, however, was young, and stupid, and I said to him that I was on vacation, and I’d prefer to call him after vacation. He was understanding, but disappointed. Still, he said he’d be eager to speak to me after my vacation.
So I went back to my room, and finished my vacation two days later.
As I arrived back in Champagne-Urbana, I looked for the card. I looked everywhere. It was gone. I had lost it.
This was 1993. There was no way to Google him, or find him on Facebook. Heck, without the card, I had only his first name.
The weight of that has sat with me my entire life.
Take your opportunities right now. Don’t put off what you can do today. When you get a knock at your door, answer it.
Life isn’t life without taking some risks. Life isn’t about just doing the same things all the time. Live it to the fullest every day.
So, The Times knocked. I answered. I hope you’ll be enjoying my stories and insights over the next six months.
I hope you take the opportunity to become my good friend. Let’s take some risks together.
CHAD HANNON is a lifelong Illinois Valley resident, raised in Princeton, and raising his family in Spring Valley. Many will know him as the former “Dog” from the WALS 102 Morning Doghouse, or as “Qdog” from Q Hit Music. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.