You’re as great as Brad Pitt
You may not know it yet but you’re as a great as Brad Pitt is at acting at whatever you’re doing now.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter how broke you are. It doesn’t matter how obscure you are right now.
Here’s the thing that’s lost on many of us, including myself. We tend to see the “Made It” people and get discouraged. We wonder how they got there. We pour over their autobiographies or biographies. We want to know how they managed to get where they are and then we want to follow it or in the least, be inspired by it.
Instead of being inspired though, we often end up feeling inadequate. We often feel like we’ll never reach the Brad Pitt level of whatever it is you do.
As a coach/consultant, I am a huge fan of “guru’s” like Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dr. Phil, Eckert Tolle, etc. Not in that I agree with all they say or do but in that I admire they came from nothing and made something of themselves. I had no idea who they were though before they made something of themselves!
Most of us come to know of major players AFTER they are made into major players by some seemingly out of the blue thing — suddenly they are everywhere! Whatever conspiracies of fate, opportunity and hard work lead to that rare tipping point which sent them from obscurity to fame, we don’t know about! So we forget to understand they were once nobodies too. We put them on a pedestal and forget most successful business owners (self-made, not born-into types) worked very hard and toiled away for years before we knew who they were.
They were once struggling to find followers, to build an audience, to solidify their brand, to have repeat business, to survive on their crafts of acting, writing, marketing, speaking, etc.
Yet when we are starting out, we beat ourselves up for not being what they are! How silly is this? Who’d compare a baby calf ability to run and rule to that of a breeding bull??
Brad Pitt first two roles in 1987 were uncredited. Not even worthy of the credit roll… He wasn’t recognized until several years later in 1991 and even that was more for his smoldering hot looks in Thelma & Louise, than his acting! It was another 3 years before he earned any recognition for acting in Legends of the Fall. My point here is it took a long time before he was a household name.
But we don’t think about that when we think of him now. He’s someone who made it and we are some nobodies trying to make it in our industry of choice.
I used to get so down when I did my studying of those I admire and realize I didn’t take some step they took or do a particular thing that I should’ve done a long time ago like they did. I’d beat myself up for not working harder, for not having courage to leave Corp America sooner, for not getting this or that done sooner. I had in my mind a game of “catch up”.
But one day, a few months ago around the “official” start of my journey, I was watching Kalifornia starring Brad Pitt in a really despicable role that he played the hell out of –way back in 1993. I have seen it several times and each time I ask myself, “why does no one ever talk about this movie — he was great in it!” (As was David Duchovny and Juliette Lewis).
Then some kind of serendipitous moment unfolded, in which after movie went off, I ran an errand to the store. When I turned on the radio in my truck, Martina McBride’s song titled “Anyway” was playing. (If you don’t know it, YouTube it- excellent song).
God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good
When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway
You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah, sing it anyway
I sing, I dream, I love
After the song went off, my spirit was lifted. A light bulb had went off. I had just watched a movie with excellent acting that really didn’t the acclaim I thought it deserved, that I thought Brad deserved in his early days when he was a nobody. And I just listened to a song that reminded me “who gives a shit what gets recognized, upvoted, liked, shared, tweeted, snapped, instagrammed or YouTubed — do it anyway.”
Do it because it’s who you are.
Do it because it’s in your soul and heart.
Do it because you have to try.
Do it because somewhere, someone is waiting on your message.
You may never know what you’re saying or doing is saving someone’s life, someone’s dreams, giving someone one more reason to go on and keep trying even when they want to quit. You may never know the when your tipping point will come.
So write anyway. Speak anyway. Craft anyway. Code anyway. Build anyway. Love anyway.
You may be a nobody with only a few hardcore followers and one day they’ll get to say “I knew _____before they were a big deal!” You may feel like a speck in outer space. But don’t be deterred. Keep honing that craft. Sharpening that gift. Keep doing it for the love of doing it. It may never reach Brad Pitt level but it’ll reach someone on some level and that makes it all worth it.