So, I’m full of inspiration from recently completing the book Will, by Will Smith. All of you should read it! I read the hard copy, which I really enjoyed, but everyone says you should do the audible because he reads it himself and he busts out some rap and other cool things! I’ve listened to Will Smith and watched all of his movies so I could totally hear his voice in my head while I was reading.
I’m going to come back around to the book but there’s a question that many of you are asking. Many of you have a vision of what you want. You know what you want, but you don’t know how to get there. And there’s a little Bible verse that says, hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). And when you’re hoping for something and it just always seems out of reach, that can turn you into a miserable, human being, with a miserable quality of life. And so you’re stuck in that place of knowing what you want, but asking the question: how do I get there?
I’m going to use a little story from the book to help us answer that question and maybe this will wet your appetite enough that you go out and get the book. I am not an affiliate; I don’t get any money. It’s just a good book!
Okay. So in the book, Will (The Fresh Prince) and D J Jazzy Jeff came on the scene when rap was just becoming a thing. Hip hop was just becoming a thing. And they blew up…ended up getting a Grammy the first time there was ever a category for rap. The song? It was Parents Just Don’t Understand! (Quick side note — I was talking to a 23-year-old earlier and she was like, “Will was a rapper?!” I was thinking, oh my gosh. I’m not as young as I used to be!!
Anyways, so they got the Grammy. Then, he tells this story in the book of how in their immaturity, they totally flopped on their second album. And not only did they flop, but he and DJ Jazzy Jeff decided they weren’t going to pay taxes on all the millions of dollars they made from that first album! And so he ends up losing the house, losing the girl, losing all the cars, losing it all. He left from where he was living on the east coast to go to L.A. and decided to become an actor. After he wallowed for a little bit, he ended up on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and got the gig. Awesome story.
And so everything was firing on all cylinders again. He was acting, Jazzy Jeff and him were doing music again. Everything was flowing and life was good. And then he talked to one of his dear friends and business manager, James Lassiter (still a friend and doing business together to this day by the way. So that’s kind of a cool part of the story, too.) James, or JL as he likes to be called, said something like, Will, there’s so much going on, man. There’s so much going on. Like what do you want, man? Like, what do you want? And Will’s like, what do you mean, man?
JL’s all about business, right? So he wanted a plan. He wanted structure and Will was all over the place. So Will told him he just doesn’t want to go broke; he doesn’t want the IRS to take all his money. That’s it. That was his plan. That was what he wanted. But JL was then like, no, man, like what do you want, what do you really want, man? We need to know because we’re all over the place.
So Will went into this internal dialogue and he realized he had never really said it out loud. He had an idea of what he wanted but then he would think, man, I’m not worthy of that and I don’t know if I wanna say it out loud.
JL just kept pushing, pushing, pushing. So finally Will blurted out,
“I wanna be the greatest movie star in the world!”
And like a good friend should, JL’s response was what?
Now that’s a goal!
So how do you get there?
The first step is you have got to name “there.” You’ve got to define what it is that you want. You’ve got to get honest. Even if you don’t think you deserve it. Even if you think it’s impossible. You’ve got to get real about, okay, how do I get there? So step number one, name it. Define it. Get clear about it. Have the courage and the guts to say it out loud for the first time. Because some of you have never said it out loud. I see you. You’re literally trying to walk away from this right now. I see you!
So it is time to say it out loud, but…don’t say it to just anybody. Say it to a confidant, a trusted person who is there for you. Say it to your JL.
Okay. So name it, define it, say it out loud. Once Will had done that, then he and JL were able to work on step two.
Step two: they made a list. Who are the greatest movie stars in the world? So whatever your outcome is, make a list of people who’ve already done it. People who are where you want to go; they’re already there or they’ve been there and they already moved on to the next thing. Make a list and make sure you are clear. That’s why you have to name it and say what it is you want.
Now, I know some of you are like, well, what I want to do, nobody else has done. Seriously, come on! Find somebody in the ballpark who has done pretty darn near what you want to do. They’ve achieved something similar to what you want to achieve. They’ve gone where you want to go. There’s really nothing new under the sun so there’s someone out there that’s done what you want to do.
All right. So define it, name it, say it out loud, make a list. Now, number three is a big one: ask some questions.
I love how Will unfolds this story in the book…
Will and JL started asking questions. They looked at their list of the greatest movie stars in the world. What qualities do they possess? What kind of roles do they play? What characters do they play? What are they like? Are they funny?
And then they asked more questions. What are the highest grossing films of all time? And then, what do those films all have in common? And so they started asking these questions and they were able to create a map of what it takes to become the greatest movie star of all time.
Back to you. You’ve named it. You’ve made a list of people who’ve already gotten there. You’ve started asking questions. By the way, if your list is long, narrow it down. Who are the top three? Who are the best of the best of the best at doing what you want to do? Who is the model? These should be people you’ve looked at and watched along their journey. This may take a little research. A deep dive. Will talks about how they read hundreds of screenplays to do the research on this. A deep dive helps you make that list to get the right people on it, and then you deep dive again when you’re asking the questions.
So what qualities do the people that have done what you want to do and gone where you want to go possess? What did they do? Do the research, read their articles, read their biography. What did they do to get to where they are? Who do they serve? That might be a big key, right? Why were they successful? Can you identify some of the qualities? Look at the big picture. Not only why were they successful but why are they still successful? You’ve got to start asking some questions and do the research to get good answers. Not superficial, not the easy glance at one thing on the internet and guess that’s what they did. A deep dive!
Here’s the thing in this whole process though: you may have to evaluate if your outcome — what you want — is realistic. Meaning, if you are 50-years-old and what you want is to be an Olympic athlete…okay, come on now! Let’s hit a reality check here! That’s probably not going to happen. But maybe you’re 25-years-old and you want to be an Olympic athlete. What’s the competition? What sport do you want to be an Olympic athlete in? Is it doable? There might be people that are 25-years-old that have done what you want to do, but a whole lot more are people who are 15-years-old. So who are the people that are 25 that have done what you want to do? Right? So you’re going to learn some stuff in the process and then you may need to adjust your outcome.
If you want to be the greatest movie star of all time, are you willing to commit to what that takes? Do you want to be the leading voice or do you want to be one of the leading voices? Those are two different things, right? You’ve got to face reality. The quickest way to change is to face reality! So once you do the research, then you decide if you have the right outcome. I can do that. That’s realistic based on the research, based on the facts.
So let’s recap. Number one: name it, define it, say it out loud. Number two: ask the questions, do the research. And number three: formulate your plan. Decide if you need to tweak or adjust the outcome or target on how to get there. How are you going to do it? How are you going to get from where you’re at to where you want to go?
Now, all this information is no longer just coming out of your head, like a hope and a prayer. No, no, no. Now it’s coming out of data, out of research, out of people that have proven they could do what you want to do. And so now you’re formulating a plan based on all that data. This may not be the only way to get there, but I’m just relaying the story from the book and the points I pulled out from it. You have to formulate your plan.
And then here’s the biggest one: if you really want to go from where you’re at to where you want to get to, then that plan must absolutely become a filter for the decisions you make.
Make your plan the filter moving forward.
Again, this was such a beautiful story in the book. They did all the research, got all the points. They knew what kind of movies, they knew what kind of scripts, they knew what Will needed to work on. Then, he got his first movie script opportunity offered to him. I can’t even remember the name of the movie but JL read the script four or five times and he was like, Will, it’s just not a fit. Will’s response? Well, well how much do they want to pay me? 10 million dollars! I mean, for your first movie, and remember, we’re talking a few years back…that’s not a bad payday! But here’s what JL said: If you want to be an actor, you can go ahead and do that movie. But, if you want to be the greatest movie star of all time, that’s not the movie; it’s not a fit.
He turned it down. The movie he ended up taking instead was Six Degrees of Separation. This one was a fit because it put him opposite Stockard Channing and Ian McKellen. It put him in different conversations. And just as they had predicted, based on their plan, it put him in conversations for a whole lot more prominent roles and opportunities to take lead roles. So did he achieve his goal? Well, he was trailing Tom Cruise for a long time, but at one point he was the highest paid, highest grossing actor for about an eight year run. He achieved the goal of becoming the greatest movie star of his time. He was at the top of the list.
So, what do you want and how do you get there? You have to say it out loud. Then you’ve got to make a list of people who’ve already done it and ask some great questions. Then, formulate your plan and allow that plan to be a filter. Because if you don’t ask questions that line up with your plan, you will not get from here to there.
I want you to get there!
Notice in the book that JL, Will’s confidant, was right there the whole way. You need some good people around you who see what you see! People who, when you say some crazy stuff, like you want to be the greatest movie star in the world, they’re going to get behind you and help you do it! You might want to consider leveling up your peer group. I mean, after all, we’ve got a whole coaching community here with a bunch of rock stars, just like you!
But anyway, you want to level up your peer group and get around people who are going to celebrate you and champion you and call the greatness out of you! I believe in you. I believe you can do it. There is greatness on the inside of you. Go out there and give your greatness to the world because somebody needs what’s on the inside of you! Go out there and give it away!!