Today I was talking to a client who was very frustrated. A man she knew who she described as not knowing anything about life, had written a book and there was a huge article about it in the morning paper.
Now this woman is not an unkind person and for her to describe the man this way, I can imagine he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. But he is smart enough to have written a book and then gotten coverage in a major city newspaper.
So instead of feeling frustrated about this man’s success, I suggested she reframe it as a good thing. What he had done should encourage her. Because if someone that she didn’t respect had managed to write a book and get press, then she could do it too.
Most of us have a story we want to share. There are many reasons holding us back from trying. Comparing yourself to others and resenting other people’s success should not stop you. Instead, hearing what other people are accomplishing should inspire you. If they can do it, you can do it. Just start.
Start writing your book. Start making your movie. Start the project you have been dreaming about. And when you hit a roadblock, think about this guy. Remind yourself, if he could do it, I can do it.
You Can Do It In Corporate Life
In my corporate career, I noticed time and time again people failing upward. The people that knew the least and had no ideas kept getting promoted. There was one studio head who one of his colleagues described as “dangerously dumb”. I worked for another woman who was proud she didn’t know how to use email and somehow managed to keep making movies. People getting promotions and accolades they didn’t deserve used to really frustrate me. But it doesn’t anymore.
Number one, if you’re a corporate citizen watching idiots get promoted again and again, there’s nothing you can do. Adopt the attitude if they can do it, I can do it and keep producing great work. (With the caveat that if it is a truly toxic workplace, things will not get better. For your own sanity and the sake of your career find a way to move on.)
No matter what your creative goals, always let idiots inspire you instead of infuriate you. And make a habit of celebrating people’s success, whoever they are.
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