Why "Stargazing" Might Be Holding Your Career Back
Do you catch yourself "stargazing?"
For as long as I can remember, my nana has liked to say,
"Anne was born with a gold star on her head."
I know this is her way of saying how proud she is of me. However, when she says it, I tend to have mixed feelings. The thing is that saying I have "a gold star" on my head is implying to others that they can't be successful or talented, because I was born with my abilities.
I call this reaction "stargazing" - looking at others' success, talents, social media, and more and thinking, "Well, they have things I could never have, and they are things I could never be. They were born with a star on their head, so I might as well not try."
And that's the danger. Too much stargazing means you don't try. You don't take action. You tell yourself a narrative that these stars are exceptional, extraordinary, unreachable. You tell yourself it's okay to be normal and not to shoot for them, because there is something special they have that's totally unobtainable.
So let's talk about this, because I want you to succeed at whatever you want to do with your life, and I don't want anyone's success (or even perception of success) to hold you back from shining yourself.
We all have stars in our eyes, but we don't see how they got in the sky in the first place.
There are probably countless examples I could use, but let's use me - for Nana's sake, and since I'm somewhat of an expert on this subject.
In celebrating the 3rd anniversary this month (!!), I feel very lucky to have started and grown a business I love. I'm grateful that this business has changed many lives beyond my own. In the past 3 years, I've also become a professional speaker and have been growing that side of my career, creating signature events and speaking at conferences this October.
It would be easy to look at this and miss the whole story - to simply say it's because of the star on my head.
But take a closer look.
- For every speaking opportunity you see me do, there are at least 15+ emails I've sent into the universe - pitching myself as a speaker - that never ever get replied to
- For every new collaboration, there were probably 10+ coffee one-on-ones that went nowhere
- For every newsletter you enjoy reading, there are those with embarrassing typos and even the evenings when I was so behind on client work, I didn't write one at all
- For every peak, there are valleys - late nights, confusion, missteps, and more
Even if you consider my previous career with Disney - that incredible experience only came after hustling to get unpaid internships, working a 2nd assistant job, getting laid off, difficult job interviews, crying during my daily commute, and more.
So that's the real-real. And I'll tell you what makes all the difference:unrelenting action.
- Sending emails to pitch yourself
- Having one-on-one's with others
- Trying new things
- Putting your name in the hat
- Showing up, even when you don't feel like it
There's a quote that I love that goes something like, "It took me ten years to become an overnight success."
Action will trump quiet, inactive brilliance and talent every. single. time. We can't let others' highlight reels paralyze us, and talk us into thinking we lack possibility and potential.
Channeling Your Own Light
You don't have to stride for success or develop your talent for me, or for anyone else for that matter. You should always get out there and try for you.
- Yes, talent matters.
- Yes, savvy matters.
- Yes, luck plays a role.
- But ACTION - action will always set you apart every time from everybody that's out there stargazing.
You already have everything you need to succeed, you don't need to have been "born with a star on your head" to shine.
All you need to do is channel your own light and make sure that of others' isn't blinding you to making big things happen, step by little step.
For further reading, check out a few articles related to this story:
- "Why Successful People Take 10 Years to Succeed 'Overnight'" Inc.
- "Why The World Belongs to the Do-ers" Skip to Action Blog
- "It's Okay to Feel Like You Suck Sometimes" Skip to Action Blog