Stop Being So Impressed (and Fooled) by Fame

“Who’s someone ‘BIG’ you’ve worked with?”

That’s a question I used to get constantly when I worked as a media coach and image consultant in the music and entertainment industry here in Nashville.

My usual response:

“Someone 6 foot 9.”

Because, yes, I once worked with a client who was entering his rookie season with the NBA — and he was tall!

I also knew other people in the industry who got that same question on a regular basis.

In fact, I always loved the response one of my photographers gave whenever he got that question.

“If I told you I’ve photographed Garth Brooks, the biggest star in country music, and then showed you some photos I took of Garth that were really crappy, would you still be impressed?”

As a Culture, We’ve Become So Obsessed With Fame

This includes how many followers someone has on their Instagram or Twitter.

Obviously, it doesn’t take much to impress us, which is sad.

We’ve forgotten to let the quality of one’s work speak for itself.


I’ve Seen It Happen So Many Times

While working in the music industry I witnessed so many young, green artists blindly trusting their careers to someone who once worked at one time with “so-and-so.”

They were so enamored with the name-dropping they couldn’t see (or could but chose to ignore) huge red flags like lack of integrity, over-exaggeration, money-hunger, and poor quality of work.

Instead they fell for the smoke and mirrors, and often got burned.

My advice to them was always the same: if someone’s trying to sell you on their services (i.e. production, artist development) based on name-dropping alone, walk away.

Or at least ask some good questions before you walk:

  • How long did you work with this person?
  • At what stage of their career?
  • When was the last time you worked with them?
  • What results did you get for them?
  • Why do you no longer work with this person?

If they don’t have valid answers to any of the above questions, move on.

Instead, look for others who are upfront and honest about what kind of results they’ve been accomplishing lately for their clients who are at the same professional level as you.

Doing so gives you a more accurate comparison and will tell you more about what they can accomplish for you in a realistic timeline.


You Can Only Be You

The reason so many of those young artists were impressed with fame was because they too so desperately desired to be famous.

I would often hear, “I want to be the next Taylor Swift!” or “I want to be just like Jay Z.”

Well, guess what? The only person you can be is you.

(Check out the free webinar “5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work.”)

Trying to be something you’re not and only focusing on how many fans and followers you have instead of focusing on your own unique approach and quality of work can quickly lead to the comparison game, which is a real drag.

I’ve quoted this before and I’ll say it again:

The comparison game will make you either small or smug, and neither of those are good. Comparing yourself to your competition is a waste of time because it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Instead of comparing and getting hung up on the number of followers, focus on what makes you and your brand solely yours. Spend time honing your skillset and making connections with the right people (and stay away from the smarmy ones!).

The more strategic you are with your career choices and the less impressed you are with fame, the more successful you’ll be.




Lori Bumgarner is the owner of paNASH, a passion and career coaching service that helps people get unstuck and pursue their passions and find work they love.

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