Opportunity is just a knock away

“Do not wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.” ~ Unknown

On January 23, I had the extreme honor of opening for Jeff Foxworthy on the first night of the two day Hudson Family Foundation benefit at Auburn Arena. Since then, I’ve been asked repeatedly how I became a part of the show.

Jeff Foxworthy, me, Tim Hudson

Jeff Foxworthy, me, Tim Hudson

When opportunity knocks, one must answer; however, we shouldn’t always wait on opportunity to knock. Sometimes we have to be the ones doing the knocking. We must be assertive, face our fears, and never give up.

The opportunity arose back in August when I was one of several opening acts for Uncle Si and Alan Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, at Youth First’s Characters of Character event.

The Duck Dynasty beard conflicts with the uniform.

The Duck Dynasty beard conflicts with the uniform.

My comedy was well received by those in attendance, but it almost didn’t happen.

Last year, I wrote about the turbulent morning I experienced on the day of the Duck Dynasty event. I’d been at Ft Sill, Oklahoma, for the week and had missed my flight for Dallas that morning. Lawton-Ft. Sill has a very small airport, and every flight for the day was filled. I’d dropped my rental car keys in the drop box at the rental car company. I wanted to drive to Dallas to catch a flight to Atlanta, but it was a Saturday morning and none of the car rental companies opened until 9:30.

Many folks would’ve given up at that point but not me. I put on my thinking cap and said to myself, “What would MacGuyver do?” I then removed the wiring from my notebook so I could make a hook. I then used the hook to remove the car keys from the drop box. Three minutes later, I was in my car headed to Dallas.

Thank you, Richard Dean Anderson, for giving me the inspiration to retrieve my keys.

Thank you, Richard Dean Anderson, for giving me the inspiration to retrieve my keys.

My motto in life is adapt and overcome.

Here is that article

Had I not executed that motto and used my skills that morning to retrieve my keys, I never would’ve opened for Jeff Foxworthy because Kim and Tim Hudson never would’ve seen my performance that night back in August.

In September, I saw a post on Facebook from Kim stating she’d just finished the promotional flier for their annual fundraising event in January. She’d mentioned that Jeff Foxworthy, one of the most successful comedians of all time, was performing at the benefit.

I was hesitant about sending her a message, because I was afraid of the answer. I decided not to message her, but I prayed that God would show me a sign one way or another.

Lunchtime had arrived, so I was going to meet my buddy at Kitchen 3810, our favorite lunch spot, for a quick bite to eat. When I sat down in my car, God showed me the sign I’d asked for as Tim Hudson was staring right back at me. His face was on a water bottle that I’d gotten at Lynch Toyota while having my car serviced the previous day.

When I saw Tim staring back at me, I knew it was a sign.

When I saw Tim staring back at me, I knew it was a sign.

When I got back from lunch, I sent Kim a message but didn’t immediately hear back from her. Several hours later, while traveling to a gig in Florida, Kim and Tim’s right hand man, Brent, called me to inform me of the good news.

The opportunity was there, but I did the knocking.

In July, I’ll be the keynote speaker at the National Stuttering Association’s (NSA) annual conference in Washington DC. I’m every bit as excited about this as I was opening for Foxworthy. Keynote speakers in the past have included professional athletes; Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons; David Seidler, Oscar winning writer of The King’s Speech; and Vice President Joe Biden.

I’ve been an active member of the NSA for years but was still hesitant to ask considering the heavyweights who have come before me, but I prayed for guidance and God showed me the way.

NSA 2014 keynote speaker info

NSA-LOGO.bmp_

Once again, the opportunity was there, but I did the knocking.

Always keep your eyes and ears open, for opportunity is just a knock away.

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

Promo pic small

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Make it happen

“Do not wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.” ~ Unknown

My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., but I was already awake. I had a plane to catch.

The flight was at 6:45, but I was only five minutes from Lawton / Ft. Sill Regional Airport. The size of the airport is comparable to the produce section at the Piggly Wiggly, so I had plenty of time.

I’d fly from Lawton to Dallas and then onto Atlanta from there. I was scheduled to arrive in Atlanta at 11:40 a.m., fast time, and would be home in plenty of time to perform at Auburn Arena for the Youth for Christ Characters of Character event featuring Si and Alan Robertson from Duck Dynasty.

YFC Event

At 6:00, I walked through the automatic doors at the far end of the building and dropped my rental car keys in the designated slot at the Enterprise counter. It was Saturday, so there’d be nobody there until 9:30.

I then walked toward the ticket counter to print off my boarding pass and to check my bag, but there was no one there.

Apparently that person also scans boarding passes at the gate, and likely cleans restrooms and maintains the airplanes, as well.

Figuring I could check my bag at the gate, I printed off a boarding pass from the kiosk and proceeded to security, but before I could even remove a flip flop, I was informed that I wasn’t allowed to check my bag at the gate.

I travel a lot and this was a first for me, as it was the other two would be travelers who were in the same predicament.

I wasn’t overly concerned because there were six other flights leaving Lawton that day, all for Dallas, and I was certain I’d be on the next flight out.

When that person, who turned out to be a she, returned to the counter, she informed us that the next available flight was at 6:55 p.m. Usually, there are plenty of vacant seats, but since there was a basic training graduation at Ft. Sill the previous day, all flights up to that final flight were booked.

I just had to get to Dallas. I knew there’d be a flight from there. Getting there would be the problem, but I wasn’t about to give up. I had a show to get to!

Since I couldn’t rent a car until 9:30, I decided to reacquire the key’s I’d turned in an hour earlier, which would be no easy task.

After inventorying my belongings, I removed the wire from my spiral notebook and made a hook out of it. Using the flashlight from my iPhone, I was able to “MacGuyver” my keys from the black hole and was Dallas bound within minutes with one passenger in tow.

Thank you, Richard Dean Anderson, for giving me the inspiration to retrieve my keys.

Thank you, Richard Dean Anderson, for giving me the inspiration to retrieve my keys.

Sometimes, you’ve just go to make it happen.

Half way there, I called Enterprise to let them know my plans had changed. The guy, Pete, told me because of the changes, my rates would change. In addition to $300 more dollars, I’d also be charged $0.35 a mile.

That didn’t sound right, so at 9:30 I called the Enterprise agent in Lawton. She was very nice and said there’d only be a $50 drop-off fee. I was relieved.

When I turned in my rental at Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) International Airport, they waived the $50 drop-off fee altogether. I was ecstatic.

A previous version of me would’ve accepted the first option, but life has taught me to always explore other options, because there’s usually a better way.

My airplane departed DFW at 12:50, slow time, and I was in Atlanta by 4:00, fast time. By 4:30, I was headed south on Interstate 85, and by 5:00, slow time, I was home.

After a quick shower and shave, I put on my Army Service Uniform, my “dress blues,” and was rubbing elbows with Si and Alan Robertson by 5:30.

Si Robertson

Alan Robertson

Although I was just a small fish in a large duck pond, by 7:30 I’d performed in front of my largest crowd to date and left the stage on an on an all-time high.

Had I not been proactive, I would’ve been approaching Dallas about the time I was leaving the stage and would’ve missed out on an incredible opportunity.

There was a time in my life when I would’ve just sat at that airport on stand-by waiting patiently on the next available flight.

The expression “good things come to those who wait” is about patience, which is a wonderful virtue, but sometimes waiting is not in our best interest.

So don’t just sit there; get up, do something, and make it happen!

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, and soldier. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.