Let Missed Opportunities Motivate You To Your Next One

Have you ever questioned yourself about whether you made the right decision? Or whether you did something at the right time?

Whether you are an actor, screenwriter, producer, in some other aspect of film-making, or just living your life, for most of us, there are those moments when we doubt ourselves… and face disappointment. But…. sometimes we KNOW we’re making the right decision.

In 2010 the day I had to make the choice of when to put my miniature schnauzer, Rivers, to sleep, I prayed for clarity. “Please…  give me a sign.” And literally within one hour I got THREE SIGNS and I knew it was time — I was crystal clear. I called the vet to come to my house, and I held my dog as he gave her the two fatal shots. It was sad, but I was at peace with it

Since that time, I’ve believed in my heart-of-hearts that we CAN get to 100% clarity and be at peace about any decision we need to make. Whether it’s in our personal lives or in our careers.

That is, until yesterday I believed it.

Two days ago, a good friend of mine invited me to join her and a couple other friends on a tropical vacation. But I just wasn’t sure the time was right for me to go. I was recently away from my home for three months with a broken ankle… I’m still recovering… and a couple other things were on my mind.

As much as she wanted me to go, the special deal for the trip only lasted till the next day so I had to decide by early the next morning. The next morning she called, and my answer was: “No…. for now.”

However…. later in the day, one of my concerns had a solution — so I decided, “Why not!” So I called her back and said “YAY! I can go!”

But it was too late. She had already found another travel buddy.

I was left feeling guilty and sorry for myself, “Ya snooze, ya lose, ya jerk.” I asked myself “Why does it take me so long to make a decision?” — (Even though I only had 12 hours to make this decision)… and I wondered what other opportunities I might have missed out on in life that I don’t even know about!


You have to make a decision FAST!

Circumstances show up and your choices are: 1) NOW. 2) NEVER.

At least it seems that way… like it’s your only chance to do this thing you would LOVE to do!

As a result of that, I had to add a corollary to my previous belief that it’s possible to get to 100% peace about any decision, so I added:  “If we  have some time to feel our way through it.”  Sometimes we do only get one chance at a particular thing, AND … we have limited time to decide and don’t have the time to “feel our way through it!”

But that’s not even my point for this message.


One of the mantras I hear over and over from actors is: “I know I only get ONE CHANCE with that agent. Or that casting director…..ONE CHANCE! If I blow it…. it’s over.”

And with Screenwriters, I hear this mantra: “I just need an agent. I know my script can sell if I get AN AGENT TO READ MY SCRIPT.”

Whatever your negative mantra is, the question is: “Is it really true?”

Think about it.

In some cases, YES. It is true.

And in some cases, it’s not.

What if an agent reads your script and doesn’t like it? What if they like it but send it to a producer who really dislikes it?

It’s not very empowering to focus on getting one… and only one chance.  When you do that, you put pressure on yourself for there being only ONE WAY to have something happen that you want!

But for the sake of discussion, let’s say we are looking at a SINGULARLY UNIQUE opportunity.

If it is your only chance for that specific thing — like one audition for a specific film or your most desirable director reading your script — it’s not very empowering to focus on the fact that it’s your only chance.

When you do that, you not only put more pressure on yourself for that ONE THING to work out, and if you blow the audition or the director says no, now you’re more likely to worry it’s go poorly next time, too!

…. So what’s a better way to look at it?

A better way to look at it — a more powerful context — is to let go of this idea of SCARCITY and FOMO (fear of missing out) … And instead, create SOMETHING NEW!

If you blow an audition, then instead of sulking, sign up for another audition class. Or send out 10 more submissions on Actors Access. Put another video on your YouTube channel. Or reach out to three casting directors on Social Media in some fun way!

If you try to get an an agent to read your script and they just keep saying no, then find two dozen more agents to target.  Find 100 more production companies to submit to.

DON’T RETREAT like a turtle going back into its shell. Use that missed opportunity to propel you forward.

Do something to not only replace it, but replace it TENFOLD!

After missing my opportunity to go on that trip, I started pondering… “What really fulfills me deep down? What feeds my soul? And makes me feel happy and truly fulfilled?” 

I came up with about five different things that make me happy that I want to incorporate into my life on an ongoing basis… starting NOW!

Since I won’t be hanging out with friends by the hotel pool in Jamaica in July, how about I have friends come over to enjoy my pool three or four times this summer?

Last night it was cool enough to light up my fireplace… so I did.  I also turned on those fancy little lights on my mantle that my cousin gave me for Christmas. The ambience was beautiful. It made me happy and relaxed NOW.

The bottom-line is that sometimes we DO miss opportunities… and so be it. Move on. Look to what’s next.

And then… Take other actions to create something else, something different, TEN TIMES OVER! It’s not the same film, the same trip, no… but who knows what the future holds…. or what missing out on one thing makes possible in its place — IF you take other actions.

Maybe the perception that it was a “missed opportunity” is exactly what you need to crack open a whole new WORLD of Opportunities.

So I leave you with this question….

When you miss out on one thing… or blow one meeting…. Or just don’t get cast…. What new WORLD of opportunities can you open up… and create… to have your dreams come true and live a fulfilled life?

Whether you’re an actor or screenwriter or even focusing on another goal, just know that Missing out on one opportunity is an Opening to create something totally brand new in its place.

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  1. Melody, thanks for this very uplifting, thoughtful article about the merits of perseverance, positive thinking and–first–making sure we identify and actually carry out all the indispensable, formative tasks of becoming credible and accomplished before we send anything to an agent or producer for consideration. Your HBS and SG do a wonderful job of helping writers understand those preparatory tasks and the knowledge and skills we must develop and hone before we can hope to leap to the next step. I used to have a poster on my office wall that declared, “Screenwriting is harder than wrestling alligators!” But that negative observation is a smoke screen and a poor excuse for failure to recognize the real truths that you point out in your blogs, one of which is that we gotta work smart, not just long and hard. And one way to do that, among many, is to find professionals like you to help us get smart about this most demanding profession. One of the goals I’ve learned to aim for over the years is, Don’t worry about fame and fortune, but focus on fulfillment as a screenwriter. So, thank you bunches for what you do!