Are you a star or an actor?
As solo psf’s, when we get caught up in the race to market ourselves and get ahead, we can sometimes lose sight of: “what business am I in?”.
I thought of this when reading the obituary of actress Suzanne Pleshette, who was a favorite, and even a role model of mine. She always stood out to me as down to earth, authentic, intelligent, sophisticated, witty, beautiful, ageless and a bit of a rebel. She knew who she was and the business she was in.
Time magazine film critic Richard Corliss wrote Sunday that she never achieved quite the stardom she deserved because she came along after Hollywood stopped making movies for the types of sophisticated female characters that she was born to play.
“I prefer to think of her as one of those stars who got away _ away from stardom, when the old dream factory forgot how to manufacture domestic glamour,” he wrote. “She had the goods, but at the wrong time.”
But to Pleshette, being a working actress with a long career was more important than being a star.
“I’m an actress, and that’s why I’m still here,” she said in a 1999 interview. “Anybody who has the illusion that you can have a career as long as I have and be a star is kidding themselves.”
A lot of the advice we seek out and accept as gospel, comes from high-visibility experts: popular bloggers, authors, academics etc. They’re the stars, and sometimes when we think of what success looks like, well, it looks like what the stars have: huge traffic to their sites, keynote speaking opportunities, darlings of the publishers and the press, sought out by the Fortune 50 clients. Its not a bad thing; who wouldn’t want that for themselves and their business?
The point is to not lose sight of what you do have right in front of you: unlimited opportunities to develop your practice by helping people and by affecting positive change; and doing so through your outstanding professional services that you provide to one client at a time. If you don’t have a client, do it anyway; use yourself as a case study. Its about being the great actor with the long career; if stardom follows, it will be icing on the cake.