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  • Writer's pictureWendy Jameson

Wheel of Fortune

As I was scanning all my "Mind Matters" columns from 2002-2007, when I was actively publishing monthly, I came across this early one that I just had to post. I really did travel to NYC with my best friend to tape Wheel of Fortune on 9/13/03 at Radio City Music Hall, and I arrived to an eerie city on 9/11/03 still mourning the fall of the World Trade Center twin towers. The scars of the terrorist attacks were visible everywhere. I visited the giant hole in the ground, walking amongst the floral arrangements and other travelers also deep in thought. The contestants even included two NYC firefighters. It was an exciting time, and a deeply moving experience too. ~wj


Back in September [2003], my best friend and I traveled across the U.S. to New York to tape an episode of Wheel of Fortune [aired 11/11/03]. Just a few weeks ago, it aired for the first time, and we had our first opportunity to evaluate, remember (and criticize) everything about the show.

What a whirlwind it was!

People often ask me, what was it like? What do you remember most? What are Pat and Vanna like? In my first weeks back, I could remember all the puzzles, but today, even after watching it again, I couldn’t even tell you which puzzles I solved!

In answer to those questions now, however, I say this: it was an incredible journey into the inner workings of a t.v. show, and I took away a deepened relationship with my friend and greater knowledge of myself under pressure. This time, unlike when I’m at home and under pressure, I focused particularly on keeping myself centered and alert.

I knew that to be my best, I needed to be able to block out the 4000 people in the audience, the excruciating performance pressure, and the incessant “motivational” shouting from our “contestant managers.” There were so many distractions that any number of them could have pulled me away from the job at hand.

Instead (and contrary to what the “contestant managers” wanted), I chose to practice focusing my awareness on the confident, intelligent person inside. This gave me a cool head and allowed me to figure out all of the puzzles, even when it wasn’t my turn.

You don’t have to be on a game show to practice your centering. It’s a valuable self-awareness, stress-reducing and calming technique for anytime. In a nutshell, here’s one way to do it.

  1. Take several slow, deep breaths, from the abdomen and not the chest.

  2. With your eyes closed, picture your lungs pressing against your ribs as you inhale.

  3. Choose an affirming phrase such as, “I am calm and confident,” and repeat it to yourself.

  4. Take note of your heart rate and focus on decreasing it. When you feel it slowing and you feel ready, open your eyes and get back to business.

There’s no magic trick here. All you do is practice focusing your spotlight of awareness. When it’s shining on the stresses, noises or negativity, it affects you negatively. But, if you focus it on your strength—for me it’s my heart/center—it serves to calm and prepare you.

In all, we won some money—enough to pay for our trip and buy a few things while there. And I must admit, it’s been fun being a celebrity for a few minutes, even if it’s only in my own little circle!

Originally published in December 2003, "Mind Matters", Building Edge Magazine.

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