Colonel Sanders feels worthy enough to meet Alice Cooper (via)
This is particularly relevant to the entertainment industry, but can be applied to all fields.
It's amazing to me that even with all the proven ways to amplify their chances of success, most aspiring artists have no idea that there's a game being played around them that they can't see. Everything they do and say keeps them out of the big leagues.
The big one I screen for is when someone I just met feels the need to namedrop.
The way you find out someone has celebrity friends is they don't tell you. They trust you enough to invite you somewhere and you may meet the celeb friends in passing. But if you're the kind of person who can't resist taking a picture of the actor on Hawaii Five-O who happens to be walking down the street, you'll never get an invite to those hallowed grounds. You'll never even know they exist.
There's no way to fake this kind of non-neediness. It can be smelled a mile away. People will go on with their lives never knowing that they were being screened and that they were this close to getting to the next level.
I sum it up like this: If I need to tell you something, then I'm not who I say I am.
Maybe it's just the way I was raised. Maybe I come from a tradition that believes everybody should be treated equally well and that you can pay your respects in other proactive, win-win ways. Maybe all the people I'd act like a hysterical teenage girl around are dead.
I wouldn't say I've become jaded. That also rubs off the wrong way and detracts from the joy for life. I just view fame as a direct measure or side-effect of the success that person's ideas have had in the marketplace. I'm not going to get a piece of their halo by shaking their hand and doing small talk. They worry about the same things you and I do, even on issues that would seem to be non-starters.
And while I have the appropriate respect and I gauge the occasion accordingly, I'm never shy. On the contrary, better to be the person who is direct with the kudos than the one who is squirming uncomfortably in the background. Everybody in the room knows that person is there. Either be the one with the balls to speak to them or completely ignore the vestigial tribal pull to affiliate with the social-proofed.
I remember having the opportunity to meet someone I admired but the friend I was with felt personally undeserving of it. That's the far end of the other side, one to do with self-esteem. Many of the famous peeps will actually be relieved if you're cool and normal and deflate the tension in the room. But if you're going to take yourself out of the game, at least drop to your knees and proclaim "I'm not worthy" and then walk straight out :)
I have other rules around this. If I'm in a room with someone I'd like to work with or for, I think carefully whether I want to meet them. It probably won't make a difference in the long run if I meet them this time or not. If I have something particularly juicy & timely to offer, I know that I can use the appropriate channels on my own end to do so, and not at the time everybody wants a piece of them. If I tell them about my great proposal, this may immediately disqualify me...if they even remember.
The other reason not to meet them is that if they're going to be seeing my work soon enough, I don't want them to have a preconceived image of "the craftsman." As they say, the work speaks for itself. Even if they have a favorable impression of me, that won't be a deciding factor.
The only way for me to justify a meet is if I know the name of their assistant or secretary, can guess their email address, and I'm prepared to send something over to them tonight. In other words, because I can get them something. This only works with people with decision-making power and means putting in all the work beforehand.
If it's someone I don't want to work for or someone in an unrelated field, I might shake their hand and just thank them for their work and let them get back to meeting others who will have more insightful things to contribute. I absolutely never bother anybody who is with their family or if they're trying to blend in, say at a restaurant or at a Starbucks.
The only time I haven't followed this rule is when I see someone who is not a good person. I don't troll them, I just nicely ask for a picture, which I quietly file into a folder in my computer of people I should never become. Sometimes having a close brush with the evil and mediocre can embody everything I'm fighting against and remind me that the dark side is never far.
Now I don't like that a post like this should be necessary in this day and age. I am acutely aware that writing this post, seemingly shrouded with mystery and without naming names, may still perversely signal high status. Which is exactly the kind of signaling misfire I'm railing against. The truth is that we're all bound to meet the luminaries of our field if we continue to put in the work, and I decided that it's better to write this than not.
Because right now so many are shooting themselves in the foot by not embracing a personality shift and understanding how things get done. I think that a lot of the main players depend on this common sense knowledge not "leaking out" to a certain subset because it's served as a preselection tool for so long. But I also know that the vast majority of people approaching them are fans and will not have done the work, so they don't have much to worry about at the end of the day.
If I find myself in the presence of one of my all-time greats, it'll be hard for me to feel anything but the childlike wonder and admiration that got me hooked in the first place. Think of Steve Jobs and how he froze up when he met Bob Dylan. None of these gentlemen could offer anything to the other. No pitch, no words, just a feeling from Steve, which I speculate conveyed something like this:
WOW. IT'S YOU. THANK YOU.
I thought it would be helpful for me to dissect the thought processes around my first "official" incursion into blogging so I can have a guidepost to look upon in a few months.
This is not my first attempt at blogging. One of my favorite quotes goes somewhat like this, I'm paraphrasing: "How you do one thing is how you do everything," but I've somehow been able to rationalize blogging as the ONE thing I didn't have to do like all the others.
I should have heeded the call long ago, when I met a prolific blogger and entrepreneur. The first thing he asked me was: "Do you blog?" I knew then that as much as I could contribute by commenting on his posts, there was a whole game being played that I was missing out on.
Last week's Get Some Victory newsletter laid out a simple gameplan to get to know more people. Got some good questions about it -
I appreciate the possibility of the web for making valuable relationships. Before some time a guy interested in marketing come by my blog. In the blog there is a category about marketing. He contacted me offering to swap cases or problems to solve. First he tested me with a case to see if he will be interested in the cooperation. He liked my solution to his case. We talked over skype for things of mutual interest and a relationship started. Although we dropped the thing with solving cases we help each other with information or advice.
This is a good case of creating a valuable connection by Internet. I wish to connect with more people like that and create a mutual beneficial relationship.
The problem I encounter with creating valuable relationships over Internet is how to frame, approach the situation so the result to be productive relationship. I guess there will be failures, people are different . I need an approach that will lead the contact in a mutal beneficial relationship or by other word to help each other with our problems concerning mutual interests.