Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tip#49: Remember You Are A V.I.P. - Dor

Doesn't everyone enjoy being treated like a VIP once in awhile? Getting special treatment is about being pampered and making you feel special. And if you are feeling low energy it's nice to get that extra attention especially when you don't expect it. This happened recently to me thanks to recognizing the synchronicities that preceded my VIP treatment.

The Synchronicities for A Special Event:

The synchronicities revolved around Toronto's ReelWorld Film Festival which celebrates cultural diversity in movies from around the world. I had been seeing promotional ads that were celebrating their 7th year this year and the number immediately reminded me of my blog tip on the importance of 2007 called 'Unleash Your Inner 007' (see tip#19) as well as the 7 year mid-life transition I'd just completed. Seeing the number 7 several times automatically made my brain alert that something was up.

The next synchronicities occurred just before the film festival started when a friend called and asked if I received email invitations to the free film festival seminars and the opening and closing night gala screenings. Amazingly I had just received the email invitations when she called that looked like a special invite directly from Tonya Lee Williams, actress and founder of ReelWorld Film Festival.

Getting the invite automatically made me feel like a VIP. I got an intuitive buzz that this was a gift from the universe via synchronicity and all I had to do was act on it. So I immediately RSVP'd for a free seminar and the gala events.

The VIP Evening:

Now VIP stands for Very Important Person and according to Wikipedia was coined in the 1940's. I'm sure you've heard the term many times and seen signage attributed to it. You'll see VIP sections in airport lounges, social clubs, nightclubs, tradeshow conferences and special entrances for special events where you bypass the lineups of 'regular guests'. If you’ve ever experienced the VIP treatment you know how great it feels. And if you haven't then one day I'm sure will.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the opening night film and party but was able to attend the closing night film event. Here's how that special night unfolded. Early Sunday night of the closing gala I got dressed up in my best duds and headed over to the theatre. I knew from past film festival events I really didn't need to dress up but that night I wanted to celebrate my VIP invitation.

When I arrived at the Scotiabank Theatre (formerly the Paramount) I first stood in line with my guest because I thought it was the line for VIPs. I finally asked an attendant if I needed to wait in line since I had a special invitation. When she saw I was on the guest list she motioned us out of line and gave me my two tickets waiting for me. On top of that I saw my name and Motivatorman title printed on the tickets. Or course that made me feel great!

Crashing The Reception:

In the next lobby upstairs we waited to enter the main theatre. I found my friend who'd originally called me and wanted to know if we wanted to crash the private reception party that was currently on in a nearby room. We said yes and we walked right into the festivities bypassing the people checking for reception invites. You see the trick is to walk in like you own the place, like you belong there. In other words know YOU ARE A VIP and nothing is going to stop you from entering. It's a party crashing tip from my old film festival adventures.

The private reception had electricity crackling in the air as it was packed full of press, filmmakers, actors and actresses from the ethnically diverse film industry being represented. There were many traditionally dressed South Asians there as it was a Bollywood movie showing that night. There was also a buffet and complimentary drinks for everyone in the loud, camera flashing venue. It was a colourful and glittery sight!

The scene reminded me again of the old days in the early 90's when I use to attend the Toronto International Film Festival movies and parties. Great movies, decorated venues, movie stars, great new people to meet, delicious foods and unlimited libations were all something to look forward to. I didn't always have an invitation to the special events but I always got in somehow. Crashing was just a fun thing to do.

A Sea of VIP Seats:

As we left the reception we each received gift bags and then entered the main theatre for the screening. It was exciting yet again because we walked right by the stage set up for an awards presentation to precede the film. An usher greeting us said to please sit in the VIP section that was surprisingly 3/4 of the upper part of the theatre. It was an amazing sight to see all those rows of seats with a sheet of paper on each one with the letters VIP printed in bold.

It moved me seeing the sea of VIP sheets because it became an instant metaphor for people to recognize how very important they truly are even if they weren't royalty, heads of state or a celebrity. In addition, normally at special events in theatres you'd see only a row or two reserved for VIPs. In this case they filled the majority of the movie theatre. It really was a special sight to drink in.

I believe that before anyone can see how great you are you must first see that greatness in yourself. It applies to all your goals whether it be personal or for your career. You have to recognize the VIP inside you.

Connect As People First:

As we waited in the theatre I had a nice talk with two other VIPs seated next to me. Usually people don’t talk to strangers at movie theatres but at a film festival everyone is very open to chatting. In this case I met two people originally from Sri Lanka and we enjoyed getting to know one another.

It reminded me of how amazing Toronto is for the diversity of cultures living together and how simply nice it is to meet someone from a totally different background than yourself. At the end of our conversation one of my new Sri Lanka connections gave me his card and I gave them each my business card. To me that's what I call authentic networking which is what I love teaching in my workshops. We made a connection first as people and genuinely enjoyed each other's company. The business cards came out only at the end.

And who knows where these connections will go. As long as you nurture an open line of communication the seed of opportunity is planted and has a chance to grow. Email is a truly amazing tool. Since meeting my new Sri Lanka contacts I had emailed a hello to them and received a response that same day.

Isn't that the kind of person you'd like to do business with or even be friends with? It doesn't matter where you come from, I believe common courtesy is universal and fast email etiquette a real bonus in any relationship.

A Mini Vacation: Dor (2006)

Back to the theatre, after the ReelWorld film awards were presented the movie was about to start. I didn't know much about the film except that it was a South Asian film called Dor.The movie turned out to be a real gem immersing me into the lush sceneries of northern India that I'd never seen before. The heavenly green mountains of Himachal in the opening scenes immediately took me on a mini vacation for the next 2 1/2 hours.

The Indian drama, Doris a story of two women – one who undertakes a long journey to save her love and another who dares to break the shackles of tradition. It's about how fate brings them together to help one another. The music was beautiful and the performances of all the actors were heartfelt. And though I didn't understand some of the comedic parts I still laughed because the performances radiated such playfulness.

I got to experience another country and all it's rich cultural textures and received interesting insights into their family traditions. The film's director Nagesh Kukunoor is credited for the birth of New Indian Cinema and defies tradition. His films also focus on relationships. Even the locations are treated as characters in the movie.

The whole evening felt like a gift and it left me filled with new life and a sense of optimism. And it meant more to me because I could share it with friends and the new connections I had met. Ultimately to me, being a VIP means nothing if you can't share the experience.

VIP Reminders For You:

Before leaving the theatre I made it a point of taking my seat's VIP sheet with me and have pinned it up at home where I could always see it. It's there to remind me that I am always a very important person even when I'm having a bad day. It's there to remind me that I deserve to be pampered once in awhile like a VIP. And the privilege goes for you too.

So believe you are a VIP right now. Allow yourself to be pampered when opportunities come to you. Print up your own VIP sign on a sheet of paper and put it up where you can see it everyday. Reminders like this are what builds self-esteem, to know you have value and to help you feel comfortable in your self-worth. Always remember you are already a VIP.

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007

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