Almost everybody in this business wants to be a star, whether or not they’ll openly admit it.
I worked for several years as a talent agent and even more as a talent buyer, and what aspiring thought leaders and artists would ask me about most often was lead generation and representation.
But most of them weren’t even ready for that yet.
They were still too “new” and needed to get clear on a game plan and their big idea, hone their performance skills, and get their own career momentum going before someone like me would want to represent them.
They were putting the cart before the horse.
You’ve got to be an opening act before you can headline your own show. Right? Right!
But that kind of enthusiasm can make someone easy prey for charlatans.
I’ve seen lots of online courses lately, claiming that they will help make someone a superstar practically overnight.
That’s a bold promise and a “quick-fix” solution. Snake oil, basically.
But here’s the Truth of this industry:
There is no such thing as an overnight success.
Sadly, that Truth is not a hot selling point.
So the internet marketers put up a bunch of shiny stuff and make their site look all hotshot and slick.
But Truth has battle-scars.
Truth has dug its hands deep into the soil and come up with grit beneath its fingernails.
Truth is not afraid of hard work.
Truth knows it takes time to build something of quality, to become a quality performer.
And that’s how you’ve got to be, if you want to make it in this industry.
Patient. Hard-working. Persistent. Devoted to your own growth and craft.
Not easily hypnotized by glitter.
Ethel Barrymore once said, “For an actress to be a success, she must have the face of Venus, the brains of Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay, the figure of Juno, and the hide of a rhinoceros.”
For those who don’t geek out on mythology quite as much as I do:
- Venus is the Roman goddess of love & beauty
- Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom
- Terpsichore is the Greek muse of dance
- Lord Macaulay had a photographic memory — it’s said he could re-write entire books from memory, after not having seen them for years.
- Juno is the Roman mother goddess, all curvy and voluptuous
- And the hide of a rhinoceros… Mongol warriors would to use rhinoceros skin instead of metal for their armor, and it was both lighter and stronger that the steel armor worn by European knights.
So now that we’re all clear on that…
That quote could also apply to anyone who steps out onto a stage to share her message, not just to actors.
Especially that skin of a rhinoceros part.
You’ve got to be one tough cookie to stand the test of time.
I’d rather tell you the Truth (that this is the “long game” and it’s going to have lots of bumps in the road) than “sell” you on what you might want to hear (that it’s quick & easy).
Because I like to keep it real.
Because you’re tired of all the shiny crap people keep tossing around, claiming that it’s Truth.
It’s not Truth. It’s just shiny junk.
And you, my friend, are not a crow, easily distracted by shiny objects.
You’re way smarter than that.
Truth, as opposed to something that is “true,” is a higher-level, spiritual reality that transcends individual personal experience.
Those shiny courses are teaching you to be a supernova — which sounds all flashy and exciting.
However, a supernova is “a stellar explosion that briefly outshines an entire galaxy, radiating as much energy as the Sun or any ordinary star is expected to emit over its entire life span, before fading from view over several weeks or months.”
Burning out after weeks or months?
That’s not exactly career longevity.
That’s 15 minutes of fame.
The longest-lasting stars are actually dwarf stars, and while that name may not sound so impressive at first glance, but the Truth is this:
There’s something to be said for starting small, and staying “small” as you continue to shine.
Dwarf stars can last trillions of years. Trillions. Most other stars are lucky if they can last millions or billions of years.
Dwarf stars are playing the long game.
Slow and steady always wins out, in the end, even if fast & flashy made a big splash first.
Fast & flashy tends to fizzle out quickly.
And true quality will always trump flashy.
Someone in the audience once asked Simon Sinek after he gave a showcase presentation how he had managed to “stay small” as he got bigger.
That, my friends, is one of the smartest questions anyone could have asked him.
Staying small is one of the key elements of success in this industry. Not growing a huge ego as your message grows wings.
It’s all about quality of service, not just flash.
And “staying small” does not mean that your message can’t have a big impact.
It means that you keep your head on straight as your influence grows.
The other thing that those shiny courses promise is to put you shoulder-to-shoulder with experts in the field in a private network or forum.
But the Truth is this:
All the people who just paid to be in that course are just as much of a rookie as you.
Group-think can be helpful, but only to a certain point. Beyond that, it’s just the blind leading the blind.
So please — don’t fall for some quick-fix solution that promises fast results but is run by someone who’s not qualified to do anything more than be your cheerleader because she hasn’t even cracked the industry code herself yet.
Always research your mentors. What has she actually accomplished? Who trusts him? Is he as experienced as he claims to be? Or… Is she actually just a notch above where you are in terms of industry experience?
Save your resources instead for seriously investing in yourself, when the right mentor comes along, and commit yourself to playing the long game.
Don’t be a supernova. Be a dwarf star. Stay small as you shine brighter — and your shine will last longer.