Tonight I watched a documentary on Jerry Sienfeld by Jerry Sienfeld. It was an inside look at the inner turmoil of a comedian. It documented the struggles of the comedians to write new material, keep it fresh, try it on audiences and then to perform in a one hour + show. It was cool to see Jerry forget his line or his joke and freeze on stage. It was insightful to see the other comedians give him advice or commiserate with him over his feeling that he didn’t quite have it any more. He wasn’t in the flow of the material much of the time and it was such a relief to hear them admit that to one another. He was admitting how long it took to get the gig right, and to make it look easy.

In the TV news field, people rarely have a bad day. They’re always perfect and say everything correctly. They have perfect make up and have memorized their lines and after they’re through, go on to their perfect lives. Okay, I’m just joking! I know it’s not true, but it’s rare to hear a talent admit to anyone that they were off or not exactly “on” that particular day so my own doubts about my performance don’t find a voice.

This week I appeared on one of the local TV stations commenting on the recent story of whether working women make lousy wives. I was excited about the topic because of course I have lots to say about it. I could extemporaneously speak about this topic for an hour and still be excited to express my wealth of wisdom on this topic I know so well. (YES.. sometimes we DO make lousy wives… but not all the time, and most of the time, we’re working hard to please everyone!)

During the newscast, I was squashed in between a plane crash, some local crime buzz, and some other hard news stories. I’m used to getting about 3-4 minutes on a news segment and forgot to ask before I went on the air. So without me knowing what hit me, my segment was over in about a minute thirty, and I was DONE. OFF the air. Finished. Caput. Gone. Adios. You get the picture. The anchor ran back to the news desk, with my jaw hanging down to the ground.

Okay, I’m being a bit over dramatic. I was fine…. for a minute. But after I regained my bearings, I realized that I had just bombed the segment! I was ticked at myself and angry that I didn’t say more brilliant tips on how to survive a current marriage. I was horrified that I didn’t give the advice about making the time people have with their kids’ quality instead of quantity. I was upset I didn’t dazzle the anchor, and have her tell me that she’d love to get together with me to chat sometime, like they often do. Not today. As soon as we closed the segment she was gone in a flash, and I left thinking that I bombed.

A bit paranoid you say? Perhaps I am, but at this point, I’ve done enough TV segments to know when I hit a home run and know when I’m average and know when I stink. I didn’t stink today, but I just floated above average today. My hair and makeup checked out fine (according to my mother who loves me no matter what I do and who called 19 of her friends and told them to watch), and the segment did manage to look like we were having a friendly chat, but I didn’t pull off the goal of the segment, which was to offer solid tips for the viewers. The anchor who was the consummate professional, was lively on the air and acted like I offered some great wisdom.

Needless to say, this inner turmoil that I now feel will feed me to better prepare and practice for my next time on the air. I’ll get the call inviting me to be on the air. Then I’ll write an article on the topic that they request, probably a few hours before show time. Rush to get dressed, but this time, show up with my 3 main points drilled into my head, ready to spew out of my mouth regardless of what she asks me. I probably won’t have much time to prepare, just like today, so I’ll know if I get the 3 points out, I was successful.

Jerry Sienfeld gave me confidence today. He gave me the confidence to admit when it’s not in the flow and when it doesn’t quite work. He gave me the strength to keep working hard until the segments are all hit out of the park. He also gave me the motivation that even if a performer regrets the segment they just did, there is always another show tomorrow and the day after. The key is to never give up, always keep trying, and go easy on yourself when you feel you bombed. Even the best performers have off days.

So I learned? No more regrets! Thanks Jerry!