Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t sexy. Becoming a successful TV writer isn’t sexy. Becoming an in-demand speaker isn’t sexy.
It’s hard fucking work.
I had a conversation recently with a young hopeful in the entertainment business. She wanted to know how I’d done it — how I’d become a television writer, how I’d created a studio career for myself, how I’d gotten agents and jobs.
I asked her WHY she wanted to be in the business.
It’s the same question I ask my With Emily activation clients now.
WHY do you want to pursue your dreams?
Her answer made me want to bash my head against a wall.
“I love watching TV and I want to be part of that.”
It’s the equivalent to a hopeful solopreneur’s response of “I want freedom and to be my own boss.”
A valid desire.
A sexy desire.
And not enough.
The young entertainment hopeful was despairing of her success because she’d spent a couple of months interviewing for jobs without landing one. She mentioned how she’d walked away from a job offer because a colleague at the company had been there for 18 months without a promotion.
I asked her if she was working on any scripts. “Kind of.”
I asked her what her favorite shows were. “Um…”
I asked her what about her favorite show made it so. “The star actor is my hero.”
Can you see the problem here?
There’s no specificity.
There’s no hint of awareness of the gritty realities about what it takes to be successful.
Don’t be seduced by the rewards of your pursuit.
My young, hopeful friend couldn’t tell me any specifics about the business, the BUSINESS of the business. All she was seeing was post-coital glow that comes after all the hustle.
It’s no different from an entrepreneur’s glassy-eyed chase of the “easy-peasy” six-figure income or alluring Balinese cabana-as-office-space.
Success is about being willing to do the day-to-day work, with the potential for no reward.
It’s about writing a brilliant script that no one reads. And then writing another one. And another one. And another one.
It’s about creating a life-changing program that no one purchases. And then creating another one. And another one. And another one.
It’s about working with a balance sheet that’s in the red. And still in the red. And still in the red. And still in the red.
It’s about showing up for the mundane tasks.
It’s about never being too experienced to do the grunt work.
It’s about having super frustrating days, and huge set-backs, and bitter disappointments.
It’s about being in a vacuum, shouting into the wind, being misunderstood.
And still getting out of bed in the morning without hitting snooze.
And doing it all again tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow.
And waiting. And creating. And knowing.
Knowing that you’re doing the work because you MUST DO IT. Because there’s nothing else that feeds your soul in quite this way. Because you’re okay with not being sexy as long as you can love.
There will always be the outliers who claim to make a million within their first year of business or find their fame while sipping a milkshake at the corner soda fountain.
Let them be sexy all they want.
You, my lovely, are BEAUTIFUL.
What beautiful existence are you building today?