Blogpost, self-reliance

Tom Skerritt Famous

For many years now, I have stated my preferred level of fame. I want to be “Tom Skerritt famous.” This level of fame is perfect for me. Although Tom Skerritt is famous, he is not someone that you would stop on the street for a photograph or autograph. Most people would comment to their friend about how they “saw that guy that was in Top Gun or Steel Magnolias or (insert another TS movie here).” His level of discomfort is probably pretty low. Weighing the positives and negatives, my guess would be that it’s more positive than negative.

Tom Skerritt with some other actor in Top Gun.

Each of us has our own levels for what we would tolerate to get our objectives. I know without a doubt that Michael Jordan level of commitment to basketball is not inside of me. Although many would like to believe that they want to play on the world stage, they just aren’t willing to put in that level of work. If you’re not willing to get up at 6am to go for a run, you’re also not cut out for the NBA or Hollywood or (insert high level endeavor here). The key is having your aspirations match your dedication. There is nothing wrong with aiming for Tom Skerritt famous, if that’s where you want to be.

So rather than looking at people who are performing under bright lights and feeling a pang of jealousy, look at what you’re willing to do when no one is looking. That’s how those people got there in the first place. They worked for years before anyone knew who they were, hoping that they’d get noticed. In some ways they were probably like the rest of us but then they did something about it. You don’t need to want to walk down the red carpet. There are thousands of other locations that you could prefer to strut your stuff. A local karaoke place or the stage as you get your high school diploma are completely worthy places to make your personal mark. Just decide for yourself! Don’t feel pressured to be something that is inconsistent with your objectives. The work will need to come before the reward, so set your expectations on that rather than the promise of fame and fortune. Do you work and see what rewards come from it!

No autographs please!


Blogpost, self-reliance

No Credit Given

In a Hollywood film or a TV show, there are often crowds of people in the background of a scene. They are called extras. My uncle Bob has made a pretty interesting second career out of being an extra. His name doesn’t show up in the credits because his role is not important enough to the production. If he were playing a bigger part, he’d get credit. Under the circumstances, no credit is given.

Uncle Bob at the center table talking to another extra. He’s not that Robert Urich, he’s the other Robert Huryk.

We’ve come to a time in history where people have a much broader reach than they ever did before. It can make everyone feel like they are “important.” Somehow the ability to reach millions through the device in someone’s pocket means that they deserve that level of credit. Unfortunately, on that scale, most of us are extras. We’re hanging out in the background and no one will ever really notice us. However, the one place that we are not an extra is in our own lives. In fact we should be playing the starring role. Everyday we help to create our dialogue and actions but somehow we pass up the great opportunity that we have to embrace the role. Most of us are so enamored with the people that we see on the screens getting “credit” that we forget that we’re a star too. Sure we’re playing on a local channel or in a theater that’s way off Broadway. Does that really matter? Probably not.

That’s probably the exact amount of fame that you’re looking for. Most of us don’t want the scrutiny that comes with the big screen life. We’re far better off playing to a small crowd of people who love us without the spotlight and the makeup. Our names don’t get put on the marquee but they do get put on invitations, thank you cards or a text chain with people we love. Playing to a bigger audience may get money, fame and “credit.” However it may not get us the love and respect that we actually crave. Our “no credit” lives in the background are probably the best place for us to thrive.

So tomorrow when you get the opportunity to play you to the local audience, remember that you’re the one that they want in that role. Don’t hold out for the credit because it is not coming but give those people that matter a performance. Be the best version of you that they’ve ever seen. You’re worth it and they’re worth it. The credits won’t be rolling anytime soon anyway.

Lights, camera, ACTION!



Success Is The Distance…

For years I’ve been saying it to my teams, “Winning is not always success and losing is not always failure!” Now this sticks right in the craw of many people who want to put trophies on mantles and points on the board. The problem is that this one metric doesn’t tell the entire story. It’s just the most obvious thing that people measure. It’s also the reason that I REALLY REALLY dislike Manchester City in the English Premier League. We need to dig a little deeper to uncover the metrics by which true success can be measured.

My statement about success and failure is usually followed up by a thought exercise. I’ll ask my high school players, “If we played Arsenal and lost 1-0, were we successful?” The answer is always a resounding “YES!” Then I ask, “If we were to play against a U8 team and won 1-0, were we successful?” The answer is always a resounding “NO!” “Could we even characterize that as a ‘failure’?” Again the answer is always unanimous, “YES!” So if a loss can be success and a victory can be failure, how do we truly measure these contradictory outcomes that are so integral to how we feel about ourselves? It is simple but not easy.

Success is the distance between someone’s resources and their results. Many of the components may be subjective but we have the exemplars written in the fabric of our culture. It is no wonder that Rocky continues to be a classic after all of these years. That movie personifies this idea about success. Rocky has almost none of the resources but uses what he has to get unexpected results. Conversely Apollo has all of the resources and barely gets the minimum expected. These may be fictitious characters but these stories play out in the real world everyday. Possibly even in your own life.

Now that you have a definition for success. Take it, use it, run with it. Measure yourself against it. Are you really succeeding or are you beating up on the U8 team because it’s easy? With the resources that you have at your disposal, are you living above or below that line? Recognition is the first step to moving in a new direction. Then put on the gloves and start swinging.

Fight the good fight people!