As research for my fourth book, Make a Name for Yourself, I’ve been asking a lot of people to answer one key question: “How did you make a name for yourself?”
A common thread among all the professionals I interviewed was that they “did what nobody else was willing to do.”
In other words, whatever it takes.
Kind of like Dave Chapelle, who wanted to be a comedian. He used to sneak into 21+ comedy clubs when he was in highschool. He’d watch and study the crowds. He’d watch and study the comics. Eventually he became good enough to start performing at open mics every Thursday.
Also like Jimmy Fallon, who wanted to be on SNL. He used to record the episodes every Saturday night. He’d memorize and practice the monologues for his mother. Eventually he became so skilled at doing impressions that he became a regular cast member on the show.
Or like Tony Robbins, who wanted to be a professional speaker. He started giving speeches three times a day to every Rotary Club, every Kiwanis Club and every Chamber of Commerce in town. In two year’s time he had 10 year’s experience.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Because they did what nobody else is willing to do.
Apropriately, this fall starts my fourth year in business. And in retrospect, over the years I, too, have done a fair amount of stuff that nobody else was willing to do…
• For the first year or two, I just gave my books away. Literally. Every speech, every networking event, every conversation with a stranger on the plane, free books! Hundreds of them! And you know what? It was worth it. Even though a lot of people thought I was crazy not to charge, I knew it was the best way to stimulate word of mouth.
• When I first started speaking, to prepare for upcoming speeches I’d stay up all night rehearsing for hours and hours so that my audience didn’t think I stayed up all night rehearsing for hours and hours. Which reminds me of what Michael Cane once said, “The art is hiding the art.”
• To help pay the bills during those wonderful “My Company Isn’t Making Any Money Years,” I worked nights parking cars at a local hotel. During slow shifts, I furiously wrote ideas, articles and stories in my little black journal. My coworkers thought I was crazy! That is, until those scribblings turned into four books. Including this next one, Make a Name for Yourself!
In summary, I think Mike Hernacki said it best: “The ultimate secret to getting absolutely anything you want is to do whatever it takes.”
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How did you make a name for yourself?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Post (here) a list of all the things you did that nobody else was willing to do.
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Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag