‘Get Over Yourself’ is a phrase I’ve used often. Most often, I lob it at celebrities, would-be celebrities, politicians, and artists. Sometimes at myself. It’s not a phrase I’ve heard used a lot by others, though, so when I came across it in an Inc. article, I paused to think about it.
It’s a good article, with a focus on presenting a memorable image – something people can latch onto – to create a memorable personal or business brand. (By the way, I hate talking about people as brands.) Overall, the advice seems to me really good for just enjoying your life more, whether it improves your success as a business person or brand or not.
I’m particularly drawn to items 2 and 3, Do Something Unusual and Embark on a Worthless Mission. Doing something unusual, lest you mistake, is about doing something unusual for you. This can be easier or harder depending on how unusual you are to start out with. But make it easier by considering what is routine for you and choose to do something out of your routine. It’s always good to shake things up a bit, even if it’s just deciding to order a macchiato instead of a latte.
I’m all in favour of Worthless Missions. They are some of my most-liked things to do. When I was around 9 or 10, my sister and I decided we would be Good Citizens and take down the license number of every car in the parking lot of the city park next door, just in case there was a crime and the police needed the information. We spent a couple of hours writing down the license plate numbers – no make, model, or colour, mind you. It was a totally Worthless Mission in the sense that it served any real-life purpose or any real-life consequences related to crime, but it was totally worthwhile in that I remember it with a smile and a warm feeling of how much fun it was to be absorbed in it. Definitely Worthless Missions are about the journey and not the destination, and that is the way I feel about all my art, writing and visual. How worthwhile it is for the viewer or reader is not for me to say, but they are always worthwhile for me to immerse myself in.
Back to Getting Over Yourself
I have no quarrel with the idea that one should be willing to fail and fail again and again in the pursuit of meeting goals. Or that one shouldn’t be so squeamish about being shown up as imperfect. A graphics client very recently crowed over the fact that a logo design I sent him was the first thing I’d done for him that he didn’t like immediately. I didn’t mind that – harder to deal with was him telling everyone else that I’d proved myself fallible. It’s true that, the longer the winning streak in results, the harder it is on the ego to fail. I definitely needed to get over myself on that one.
I did disagree with Inc. article writer Jeff Haden that one should participate in a ball game even if one doesn’t play well and sing even if one doesn’t sing well. Or rather, I disagree with his implication that all situations in which these opportunities might arise are equal and that choosing not to participate is tantamount to saying that you want to remain perfect in everyone’s eyes and won’t put yourself in a position to expose your weaknesses. That’s not so.
There are times when someone shouldn’t strive to be memorable, but to do what’s best for the majority involved. It may not get you branding brownie points, but even if no one else knows, you will probably be more satisfied with the result.
In fact, as writers and artists, though we should be aware that we’re creating brands for our work, isn’t it better to focus more on putting the most of you possible into what you do, rather than working on the perception of you and what you do? Focusing too hard on brand mastery is likely as big a stumbling block to success as being too big to want to be seen to fail.
Mastery (as a concept) is not something I really try for anymore. Instead, I devote myself to increasing my knowledge of what works for me and what doesn’t. If you are the best you – living up to what you think is important and finding a harmonious way to integrate with others trying to do the same – then you are probably already pretty much over yourself while serving yourself (and others) at the same time.
What do you think?