“When it comes to freestyle from the heart and soul, creating something no one has seen before and really trying to move people, that’s what I’m about”, said So You Think You Can Dance judge and dance pioneer Lil C after watching Hampton Williams perform his unique style of dance. “So when I see you coming into an arena like this and you don’t have a problem putting yourself on this platform to be judged? Man…hats off to you.”
I couldn’t quite explain how or why –but I felt the exact same thing while watching that video. And as I watched Williams twist and turn across the stage and bring a tearful crowd to their feet, I couldn’t help but think about the calling that is entrepreneurship and how true greatness (in sports, arts, business, etc) can be boiled down to three elements: mastery, creativity, and emotion.
Being Word-Class is a Choice
When asked one day for his advice to aspiring actors, Steve Martin said this: “What they want to hear is ‘Here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script,’… but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ While he was talking about acting chops, his message is one that every entrepreneur on the face of the planet needs to hear.
Be so damn good at what you wake up every morning and do that it is literally impossible for anyone not to notice your brilliance.
Think about that for a second. I mean really let it sink it. What does it mean to you?
To me it means digging deep into your passion pit and allowing that inspiration to propel an endless thirst for knowledge and a never-ending quest for more and better. It means caring about something so deeply that you want to become world-class at it –not because you want to be invited to speak at conferences and write books and be on TV, but because you have no choice but to give yourself over mind, body and soul to that thing that lives in the deepest, darkest parts of your soul.
What If You Could Be the First?
That thing that drives us is going to be different for every single person. And it should be. I wasn’t put on this earth to build Facebook – Zuckerberg was, and you weren’t born to create Clarity – I was. It’s such a cliche saying, but Oscar Wilde was pretty much bang on when he said “be yourself; everyone else is taken”. Sometimes it takes time and patience to realise what your passion is. And if you have a hustler spirit, that patience can be a damn hard thing to have.
Because it is every entrepreneur’s dream to create a unique, disruptive company that changes the fabric of society and makes a lasting impact on the world. But the reality is that you aren’t going to create the legacy you’re yearning for by following someone else’s path, and duplicating someone else’s vision. You need to push your personal limits to create something that’s never been seen.
“Legacy is not what’s left tomorrow when you’re gone. It’s what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you’re here that then happens to live on.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru
Once you have had the good fortune of realising your true calling, it will be your turn to help guide those who are still looking for their path. Because sometimes, having someone give you a chance is all you need to shoot for the stars (kinda like Michael Buble did for this kid – seriously you have to watch this).
With Every Ounce of Your Soul
If you watch to the end of the Williams’ audition video, you’ll see that many of the people in the audience had tears in their eyes by the end of his performance. One of the judges even had to choke back tears to voice her praise and encouragement. I think that there’s something to be said for being able to move a crowd to tears because your passion is so evident and overwhelming.
All too often, we separate business from ’emotion’ because we value rationality and logic over the heart. But the fact is that the relentless drive that fuels some of the greatest leaders of our time comes from a deeply personal and emotional space. As entrepreneurs we can’t be afraid to go there. We need to embrace the deep-seated passions, fears, hopes and dreams that we have and use those to fuel our ventures.
So whether you’ve uncovered your why, or you’re still figuring out what you’re all about, don’t settle for a life of mediocrity. In the immortal words of Macklemore “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they paint a lot”.
So ‘paint’ hard and ‘paint’ often – and one day you will live a life that brings people to their feet and moves people to tears.
What will you be known for?
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