Beyoncé Has the Same Number of Hours in a Day as You Do? False.
When I first saw a meme with no image, just text reading: “Beyoncé has the same number of hours in the day as you do” I was equally inspired and ashamed by the implication. What do I have to show for the last twenty+ years of my life and career? Five or six solo albums and four group albums from my early years? A couple of business enterprises? A few movies? Dozens of top awards? Hundreds of creative concerts? Millions of fans? Hundreds of millions of dollars?
Beyoncé chose one of the most difficult careers in which to distinguish herself. But for those who can create their own kingdom within the entertainment industry it can be one of the most lucrative. And after more than twenty years of devoting herself and her life to her career Beyoncé actually does have more hours in the day than you probably do. At least more available hours to dedicate to her many-splendored creativity the meme is deeply misleading.
She does not have to spend any time doing chores or errands unless she wants to anymore. She has staff: housekeepers, nannies, attorneys, chefs, business managers, accountants and consultants. Even if you aren’t trying to build an empire you have to do all of those things whether you specialize in them or not. You still have to clean your own toilets and do your own taxes. She has earned the wealth to outsource and delegate, affording her more and more opportunities to radiate outward. If you can dedicate all of your hours to radiating no need to finish reading this, let alone memes.
Sometimes memes are tremendously motivating because their succinct clarity can sharpen your focus, blurring much of the nonsense obstructing your peripheral vision. They can distill all the noise down to one fact. Other times they can be complete bullshit.
But if you really want to be a wealthy and wildly successful hyphenate, stop trying to shame-motivate yourself for not already yacht-dominating the world from Ibiza to Brazil. However you define and measure your dream life you just haven’t built your empire yet. Stop comparing yourself to a woman they call Queen at the top of her game. She has already invested twenty+ years into her dream. But you have a trajectory too.
If you really want to be successful, you actually have to compare yourself to 8-yr-old Beyoncé singing at her mother’s hair salon in Houston. Not all the patrons liked her.
Think about the talent show circuit. Think about how much she also had to lose in order to win more than 30 amateur talent competitions. Think about all the practice for all the auditions. Think about all the summers she gave up to practice group choreography and sing ten hours a day — three years in a row.¹
When I was a child I was playing with my friends or reading books. I quit gymnastics and I quit the Girl Scouts. I did no single thing for ten hours a day ever.
Compare yourself to the girl who lost her first televised talent competition and sang in choirs and talent shows until Destiny’s Child was starting to take the shape we now recognize as the early years. It took three record deals, several lawsuits and three turnovers before they became more famous than any other “girl group” in music history.
When Beyoncé decided to go solo, a risk that seems to have paid off for only a handful of former lead singers, Destiny’s Child had been nominated for 14 Grammies and sold more than 60 million albums. But she didn’t stop there.
Be brave enough to decide when the river is ready to become the ocean. Even when you’re afraid. Especially when you’re afraid.
What people don’t see is the sacrifice. — Beyoncé
Yes, remind yourself not to compare your blooper reels to everyone else’s highlight reel. But technically it’s a little harder than that. Adults who weren’t wunderkids can’t go back in time but we don’t have to retroactively give up our childhood. We just have to work as hard as we can from the moment we decide to pursue our call. Not everyone is blessed with a clear vision of their dream future as a young child. But it’s never too late.
If you’re just starting now it still might take another ten years. And it will likely mean a lot of sacrifices. But don’t just ask yourself, Am I working as hard as Beyoncé? You also have to ask yourself, Have I been working hard for as long as Beyoncé has? And then keep going.
If you’re willing to do the two things an 8-yr-old little girl did all over Houston twenty+ years ago you just might have what it takes to make your dream your career.
- Give it absolutely everything you’ve got
- Keep giving it absolutely everything you’ve got.
The reason so many New Year’s resolutions atrophy long before June is because people don’t see dramatic results as fast as they’d hoped so they often quit. They give in to discouragement instead of putting in the early mornings or the late nights. Whenever you put your long hours in you have to do it consistently. And strategically. Set your goals and backwards calculate to achieving them.
Many ado has been made about the 115 days Beyoncé spent training for her rhapsodized headlining Coachella performance.
Let’s conservatively say she put in a standard 40-hr workweek that culminated in a two-hour performance. That’s 160 hours a month. For four months. “Every tiny detail had an intention.” Her fans were electrified and even non-fans couldn’t help but nod in acknowledgment.
She was actually reported to be spending 11-hour days rehearsing and limited her diet to exclude carbs, caffeine, sugar and alcohol after delivering her twins via emergency C-section just six months prior.
But we only see the high gloss from her finished products:
Wealth and fame have afforded her the ability to hire the best choreographers, fashion designers, stage managers, videographers, photographers, set designers, directors and creative consultants. All of their hours amplify hers. More begets more. But it doesn’t afford her the ability to phone it in and Netflix with Jay-Z all day if they want to stay on top.
Beyoncé has made working hard fashionable. But it’s much easier to buy a t-shirt at H&M that says ‘Slay’ on it than it is to do what she actually does every day.
“I dream it, I work hard
I grind ’til I own it”
Sure, it sounds sloganistic when you extract it from a song as powerful as Formation. But these are no oversimplified mantras. They are her guiding principles and her ever-expanding universe proves it. She never rests on her laurels, she turns them into bigger and bigger crowns.
There is no shortcut for hard work. There is no substitute for consistency. Not even money. Whether you want to be mononymously successful if you want to achieve whatever your absolute best looks like you have to be as disciplined as this girl: