Have you ever struggled with trying to figure out how to “make it” and achieve massive success?
If so, you might be interested to read what Steve Martin says about it:
“When people ask me, ‘how do you make it in show business,’ or whatever, what I always tell them — and nobody ever takes note of it ‘cuz it’s not the answer they wanted to hear…but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’”
That’s it. Seven simple words that make up the entirety of Steve Martin’s “advice on how to be successful.”
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
It’s an idea I have been applying to my own life lately, and, while I still have a ways to go, I can honestly say it has already made a huge difference.
As with many ideas, Martin’s words are simple but not necessarily easy. Here are five tips to help you make this idea work for you:
1) Define Who “They” Are
For Steve Martin, “they” were club owners and booking agents. For you, it may be the clients you serve, the readers you are trying to attract to your blog, the audience for your performances, or the potential investors for your new venture. It may also be someone completely different; each person and each dream has a different “they.”
“They” are the people whose attention you need to make your dream a reality. To find out who “they” are, ask yourself, “Who exactly am I trying to impress? Who will hire me, buy my product, or like what I do so much they’ll help me on my path?”
In short, whose attention are you trying to get?
The more clearly you can define who “they,” are, the easier your path to success will be.
2) Define What “Good” Is
For Steve Martin, “being good” meant being so funny that audiences laughed hysterically and came out in droves to see him. For me, as a motivational humorist, I need to be very funny while still passing along great, implementable content to my audiences. What is “good” for you?
Keep in mind that what you consider good may be meaningless. What’s important here is what “they” consider good. This is a point that frustrates the heck out of some people; they get really good at something that no one cares about and then wonder why they struggle.
Figure out what ‘good,” really means, and be open to the possibility that you have been focusing on the wrong thing.
3) Honestly Assess How Good Your Are
You may find this to be the hardest step of all. If you are pursuing a dream, then chances are you already think you’re pretty good at it. You may think that your biggest problem is that you just haven’t met the right people yet.
But are you really good enough? If they’re still ignoring you, maybe you could be a lot better. In fact, everyone can be better. And while it may hurt your ego to admit you can improve, getting better can only help your chances of success.
4) Get Help
You don’t have to do it all on your own. In fact, you may be making your life much, harder than it needs to be by trying to fly solo.
We’re often too close to ourselves to make an objective assessment of our strengths, weaknesses, and ability level. An outside observer can often see things that have eluded us for years (both good and bad).
Outside help could come in the form of a paid professional, a mentor, or just a friend who really knows what they are talking about (this part is critical – bad help could be worse than no help at all). You don’t need to go broke getting better, but an investment of time and/or money to get better will pay big dividends.
5) Create Your Plan to Get Good (and Follow It!)
Once you’ve gone through the first four steps, you have the foundation to get good. Now all you need to do is create a plan to get good and follow it.
What will you do? Take a class? Work on your craft every day? Go out and get great feedback?
Whatever steps you take, make sure you create a plan that
- Will make you so good they can’t ignore you
- Is realistic enough that you will follow it long enough to see those results
There’s no point in creating an unrealistic plan that you give up on three weeks in. Slow and steady is better than fast and overwhelming.
Does being good mean that you can avoid all forms of sales and marketing and just sit back and let success come to you? No, of course not. You still have to get your name out there. But sales and marketing are easy things to measure and assess. It’s a lot harder to take an honest assessment of yourself and then implement a plan to get amazingly good.
It’s also well worth it. In the months after adopting Steve Martin’s mentality, I saw my referrals and follow-up-business significantly increase.
It’s not an easy or short journey. It takes hard work and time. When you start to looking for shortcuts or thinking about giving up, remember another great Steve Martin quote:
“Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.”
Stay persistent, keep working at getting better, and eventually, you too will be “so good they can’t ignore you.”
Avish Parashar is the Motivational Smart Ass. As a speaker and on his blog, Avish makes people laugh while sharing with them simple ideas to make their lives easier and more successful. Visit his site now to download the free E-Book, “Smart Ass Success! Learn the 7 Steps to Getting What You Really Want – Even If You Have No Idea What That Is! “
Photo Credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage