I was watching American Idol last night (don’t mock me) and as I was watching some of these singers squirm on stage, and for the most part, completely suck, I noticed that I was starting to see each singer as a representation of someone that came before him.
While some dudes were singing, I was all “this dude is last year’s ‘so and so,’ he’s toast. While with other dudes, I was thinking “OK, so this is a young Daughtry just waiting to come alive.”
Stepping into the Role
And that’s when it hit me…not that American Idol sucks, but that the process of “going to Hollywood” through becoming the American Idol is one that forces singers to mature and develop on the fly. Those that make it to the final show have become like a blade forged in the fires of hell. Through the process of using their skill, they’ve stepped up to the role of rockstar demi-god and have embraced the experience, rather than cower in fear.
They own their role on the stage, and watching the progression, it’s pretty amazing.
On the other hand, the rest of the participants are those people that never really develop. They’re either scared, or they just never find their role. It doesn’t fit…and it’s easy to tell.
Needless to say…they don’t make it.
Are You Scared?
So where does this leave you?
When I compare the process of American Idol auditions to the digital world, there are a lot of parallels.
For starters, there is a low barrier to entry, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are standing in line trying to be the next digital emperor.
The problem though, is that 95% of them don’t have what it takes to make it work, either through a lack of skill, desire, or dedication.
They fall by the wayside pretty quickly…dropping off one by one.
Within the 5% that are left, we’ve got basically two types of people:
1. Platformers (my new term for bloggers) that finally understand their role…embrace it, and harness it.
2. Platformers that live in fear and never embrace their inner hero. They stay in the role of the novice because it’s more comfortable.
People Feed on Fear
How many leaders do you know that are always timid and shy?
Probably none, right? Most leaders are confident and fearless. They might be sweating bullets, but they never show it.
Audiences can smell fear, which is why leaders hide it.
When they’re writing, they don’t use terms like “I’m just a noob,” or “you might not agree with me.”
They use power phrases, like “You need to do this,” or “this is what I know.”
Allow Yourself to Grow
Aside from the way you interact with others, it’s also important to treat yourself in a way that is confident, which means avoiding the trap of labeling yourself as a novice or rookie.
We all start somewhere, but that doesn’t mean we are clueless. And as we grow, so does our status. That is, unless we keep it from doing so.
Using status is an excuse mechanism designed to make us feel safe when we don’t make it. The problem with excuse mechanisms is that they also cage our nature and keep us from growing.
Developing Your Stage Persona
This is the part that separates the winners from the losers…those that make it and those that don’t.
If you really want to become successful in building a digital empire, then you’ll have to embrace your role as emperor. You have to lead a crusade.
Yes, I know it’s uncomfortable at first to speak with authority and to put yourself out in front of people.
It’s awkward to speak the language of a hero…of a rockstar.
But you know why that is? It’s because you haven’t done it often enough.
Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk are normal people, just like you and I, but they’ve embraced their inner hero and have created personas that people want to cling to.
They’re the lifeboats on the Titanic. They’re the William Wallaces and the Jack Bauers.
The only difference between us and them is that they’ve stepped up to the plate and embraced their inner hero.
What’s Your Persona?
I know a lot of leaders, and each one of them has a different persona. Some lead with powerful speeches, while others lead with heroic action.
There’s no right way to do it…it’s all about your genre and your personality. What does your inner hero look like? What would you look like as a rockstar?
Lastly, to bring it back to the original topic, which was American Idol…take a look at someone like Kelly Clarkson or Daughtry and compare them to the rest of the field.
The reason they won, is not necessarily because they were a better singer, but because they were a better rockstar.
The next time you want to discount your skill or your potential, think about that.
Don’t be afraid to become a rockstar.
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