Mondays can be rough, that’s why I like to post motivational quotes to get me through it. Here’s the quote from Benjamin Disraeli:
The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.
Since I was a child I always wanted to be an actress. Strong women in film inspired me so much. Most people think of Arnold Schwarzenegger when they remember the Terminator, but I think of Sarah Connor doing chin ups in Terminator 2. That woman was one serious badass and I though to myself, ‘some day I’d love to be tough like her and be in movies.’
My acting days in my early 20s were a mixed bag. On the plus side I got to play great roles in classical theatre Off-Broadway in NYC, got cast in Scout in “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Anne Frank in an adaption of “The Diary of Anne Frank” and even got five lines on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
But the down side was that acting was unbelievable hard. I had no idea how broke I’d be or how much effort it would take to make myself look presentable on camera at a moment’s notice. Mentally, I was completely unprepared for the anguish I’d feel from constant rejection and the mind games that Hollywood people play.
So I quit.
I told myself that movies and television would always be around and if it was meant to be it would work out. I didn’t really believe that, but it made me feel better for giving up on my dream.
Who knew that twenty years later I’d have an opportunity to be on TV?
It was the furthest thing from my mind. I left Los Angeles and was married with two kids in Pflugerville, Texas. I was busy raising a family, helping run our real estate business and had just taken care of my mother before she died from cancer. During life’s ups and downs I kept exercising, eating clean and competing in the bikini division of bodybuilding competitions.
And then a casting director contacted me about a new reality-TV show she thought I’d be perfect for. There would be four teams doing real-life military training exercises for the chance to compete for $1,000,000.
While I’ve never been through boot camp, I had completed Spartan Runs and marathons. My body was strong and I had just won first place in a bikini competition at the tender age of 41. I realized that it would be a struggle to be away for a month of filming but my husband and kids were 100% supportive. Reality TV would be stressful but if I could stay true to my own morals I’d come out stronger than before.
To be part of the original cast of John Cena’s “American Grit” on FOX was a dream come true. It was an opportunity I never expected but life had been preparing me for it even though I never realized it.
With my rockstar teammates Clare Painter (Alaskan fisherwoman), David Neville (Olympic Gold Medalist) and Mark Bouquin (Lumberjack), and led by our cadre, real-life hero and Purple Heart recipient Noah Galloway, I did things that would have made Sarah Connor proud.
I ran through the Pacific northwest carrying a 120 lb. log, scaled walls, swam through icy waters with a tent, solved puzzles, and did whiskey shots with John Cena.
Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor. Prepare for it, because any day it may show up on your doorstep.
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Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!
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