During my career, I have luckily experienced many more outstanding positive moments than negative ones; due to a combination of hard work, preparation, and a little luck, things have gone my way more often than not as I continue to expand and build my magic and card throwing performance brand. Still, it would have been impossible to completely avoid all setbacks throughout my career, and I have had my share of roadblocks over the past two decades. Here are two of the more significant difficult situations in which I have found myself – hopefully these stories will be helpful to you by showing you what to avoid doing in tough scenarios.
Attempting and Failing to Break a World Record on TV: An Unexpected Letdown
Without a doubt, one of the more embarrassing moments of my many years working in card throwing and magic shows came when I tried to break the Guinness World Record for throwing playing cards through the highest number of cucumbers. Considering my background in professional card throwing and the hyper-specificity of this record, I arrived at the studio thinking that I would easily destroy the current recordholder. When I saw that the cucumbers they had prepared were large American cucumbers and not the skinny Japanese ones that I had anticipated, I realized that it would be virtually impossible to slice them in half. This was worsened by the fact that they had been left out for almost 12 hours during filming prep and had become bendy and harder to break. I gave it my best shot and ended up slicing five of them, but I unfortunately fell short of breaking the record. In a strange way, I suppose I was fortunate that there weren’t likely many people watching this clip; still, I distinctly remember being more disappointed in that moment and throughout the next few days than I have been almost any time in my career. Nevertheless, I did not let this setback get me down, as I knew that card throwing was what set me apart from the other performers in my industry and that coming up short one time didn’t mean that I had lost my touch. I returned home to continue practicing my craft, and have undoubtedly improved my card throwing tricks and general skills in the years since I failed to break that record.
My Shark Tank Pitch: Closing One Door but Opening Many Others
I am often asked whether I am disappointed that I didn’t end up getting a deal on Shark Tank when I pitched my Vegas-style magic show, but I always respond that I actually am not. Sure, the process of applying to and then getting onto Shark Tank was exciting and I was hoping that I would be able to land a big deal that might push my career forward, but I now realize that even after walking away without a partner I have benefitted from being on such a widely broadcasted program. This came not in the form of an investor or endorsement, but actually the free advertising and publicity that inevitably came with being on Shark Tank – every time the show airs I end up booking another great job of considerable size. Although I didn’t recognize that this would happen when I walked away from the show somewhat disappointed, it showed me that even the moments in life that seem to be all negative often hold a silver lining. I am still doing what I love to do most, and being on TV is arguably the most effective way to get my face and my message out there!
The life of a professional magician (and for that matter, and type of performer) is certainly an unpredictable one, but it has taught me a number of useful lessons about dealing with unexpected twists and turns that may appear to be setbacks at the time. If not for the moments where I doubted my abilities, I might not have pushed myself so hard to be the best at what I do. If not for the hard work that got me onto Shark Tank in the first place, I may have missed out on a number of great show opportunities that have come my way as a result of my pitch on the show. Any business-owner, performer, or ambitious professional of any other sort can benefit from perseverance, as your will to succeed alone can push you past the biggest bumps in the road that leads to success.