It was an ordinary Monday afternoon in the office. I saw my clients, and things were moving slowly, but it was moving as usual. All of a sudden, between two clients and paperwork, I check my phone and have an Instagram message, LinkedIn messages, voicemail, and email all from a producer from The Kelly Clarkson show (I'll call her M for privacy purposes) asking me to call them ASAP because they want me on their show. At this point, I was a therapist putting my head down and doing the rough work to move up in the world of mental health.
My initial thoughts flowing through my mind were panic and disbelief. I thought it was a prank. This couldn't be true. No one would want to have me on their show!
So I called because, how could I not! What came next changed my day, week, and life. It was all true and real; my dream to be on TV was happening. Here is the story of how I ended up on The Kelly Clarkson Show.
I get on the phone with M, and she says, "Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for calling back; we have been waiting for you to call. Ok, we have a new dad segment, and since you are a new dad and therapist, we want you to come on to surprise the guest Chronicles of a Daddy. If you don't come, this whole segment won't happen".
I couldn't believe it, it was real, and they wanted me! Let me give you some perspective, he has over 40k followers, and I have a little over 500. I shouldn't be getting this call, but I did, and it made me feel amazing. After dreaming and having my head in the clouds for a few minutes, I tell her that I'll be in LA in a few weeks. She responds with… "This is happening Thursday, and we need to fly you out this week." Now my anxiety kicks in. I start to panic, ruminate, and overthink every scenario possible as to how I will move my clients, cancel doctor's appointments, and my wife and a 4-month-old baby to be ok. I ask her to give me an hour or so.
I talked it out with my amazing wife, and she had to convince me to take this opportunity, "because you never know when something like this will ever come along." My wife's a genius, a sense of calm during this storm of thoughts inside my head. I plug my Airpods in (I couldn't have done it without them). I begin to make multiple phone calls to move all my clients around to try and make this all work. After the last piece of the puzzle was moved and fit nicely. I call back M and say, "I'm In." I'm going to be famous! Within 2 hours, I had an itinerary, travel plans, and car service. It was done…
My anxiety was through the roof! I was on the verge of exploding with excitement and nerves. At that time, I was struggling with my anxiety and was put on medication, THANK GOD. I would not have handled the fast-paced style and last-minute changes that I usually struggle with. All my life, last-minute change has never been a strength of mine to handle well... on top of that, I have Crohn's.
There were back and forth emails of what clothes, what I'll be talking about, and how we would say it. I began to daydream of my future and now the IT therapist in the world. I got ahead of myself a little too much, and in the end (I'll talk about that later), it backfired. I still was in disbelief of this being a reality happening to me.
Travel day finally comes; I am all packed and ready to go. Usually, I am nervous before a flight, but that day I wasn't. I popped my anxiety medication and, of course, Imodium (welcome to the truth about Crohn's). I had to move my clients around to fit everyone due to this great change of event. I got to the flight, everything went smoothly, and I landed in LAX.
As I got to the baggage claim, a nice man was standing with MY NAME on a sign. He took me to this fancy SUV with tinted windows, and I felt like a celebrity, "I could get used to this lifestyle" was my first thought. We spent the whole ride chatting about celebrities (my lips are sealed).
It was the day of the shoot/production, and I barely slept the night before, spending countless hours filled with nervousness and imagination of the "what if" monster. I was shocked that my anxiety and Crohn's were in check until then. If you don't know me, I always come prepared with every medication possible, and I expect the worst when it comes to travel and my stomach, but nothing happened on this trip. It all went smoothly, and that even made me nervous.
After a night of tossing and turning, I get picked up by the car service to go across the street. When I mentioned to the driver that I could have walked, he said: "We don't let celebrities walk, sir." I almost broke out laughing, me, a celebrity?!
I got to the studio, and every person was so lovely, saying things like, "Mr. Weinstein, we have been expecting you" "Thanks so much for making time to come be with us." I had my own dressing room production team. I had hair and makeup done. While getting my hair done (which was nothing), the makeup stylist asked me what I did to make it look so nice. I said, "showered and brushed it." He looked at me, snapped his fingers, and yelled GORGEOUS!!
I tried my best to keep my cool and calm and was expecting my anxiety to attack and have a panic attack. Nothing ever came. The production team went over the bit I was doing.
It was go time, and I was never calmer. As a kid, I was in a choir, and I performed in concerts often where I was in the limelight, screaming fans and having solos/duets.
Secret: I was so nervous at my first concert that I missed the first concert due to vomiting on the side of the stage. That's all I could think about before going on stage.
So when it was "Light, Camera, Action," I was ready, prepared, and felt in my element and prepared for anything. Kelly was super sweet; she hugged me and whispered to me, "You're the therapist? thanks so much for moving your clients for me!". The bit went so smoothly; it was fun and done in a flash. All that work, hustle, and bustle for 2-5 minutes of work. I then jumped back in the car, stopped off at family, and went to the airport to head back to NY and my job.
On the plane home, I had a lot of time to think, reflect, and process what the hell just happened. Here are some of my takeaways:
Never pass up on good opportunities that come your way. I had to move mountains to go with this, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and who knows where it can lead.
Don't give up! All the hard work, putting in time, blood, sweat, and tears to post and create content, and you never know what it can lead to.
Being nice. Be nice to whomever you get in contact with. That was the best part, everyone was super friendly and made me feel so comfortable, and that's the vibe I try to have in my life. It doesn't hurt you at all, and it can only impact and enhance someone's day.
I could handle my chronic illness and anxiety. That was my biggest concern. I am not someone who is flexible with schedule, and I was able to make last-minute decisions and go with the flow and be successful.
It's been a few years removed now, and now I have had time to reflect and think over what occurred. The one thing I do know is Kelly Clarkson, and that experience gave me the bug to be in the media. It gave me the passion for creating a platform, but it more importantly proved to be something I can truly put into words, but here goes nothing.
It proved to be an inner value of confidence, which I have lacked for years. It brought me into the light of being seen as a father and therapist who cares about being human. I hide it well, but deep down, I don't value myself as much as I should or feel I am qualified to be talking about mental health topics.
So yes, do I want to be the next Dr. Phil or have a continued segment on a TV show... of course, but more importantly, it helped me feel heard, seen, and valued. There is nothing more important than that!