How to make sense of your life…Be Undeniably Good

by Judith F Kennedy, PhD

Steve Martin said it best on the Charlie Rose show:

“When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them–and nobody ever takes note of it ‘cuz it’s not the answer they wanted to hear–what they want to hear is, ‘Here’s how you get an agent.  Here’s how you write a script.  Here’s how you do this…  But I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’  If somebody’s thinking, ‘How can I be really good?’, people are going to come to you.

It’s much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.” 

I love this quote and the thought behind it. I’m not advocating just working all the time, far from it. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with relaxing, smelling the roses. In our business lives we have been lead to believe that if we just get noticed, get our story right then we can build our audience, clients and customers.

There is nothing wrong with social media, getting noticed, connecting with others. What’s happens though is we end up spending so much time that way. We spend a lot of effort in our professional life focusing on the message that we forget the joy and the feeling of taking the time and working hard to be undeniably good.

Its hard to swallow, but getting really good at something takes TIME. You can’t hack your way to being an expert at something. Sure, learning the latest marketing tricks will help your business, but it won’t actually make you any better at what you do.

Its great that we connect, we check in. Its fun to see who’s there and what’s happening in others lives. However, we spend so much time doing that and not enough time nourishing our souls and our minds by being really, really good at something.

Why become undeniably good? 

You might say, well the answer is obvious. And, yes, you will probably have a good outcome. Most likely in working hard, practicing, sticking with something and really learning it, your efforts will pay off in having some rewards in the end.

That’s not the real secret or benefit of trying really hard, working really hard at something. The real benefit is that you will be and feel nourished. Think about something you love and are excited about it. If you are working on that, you can work long hours and weekends and feel exhilarated by it. Not diminished.

Have you wondered why you get so stressed or just the opposite, lose your enthusiasm? Most people think when you are overworked, overwhelmed and burn out, you need rest. That is only a small part of it. What you really need is nourishment. Finding what you enjoy, finding what really nourishes you can make all the difference in a restless and even troubled heart.

What are you committed to learning?

Have you figured out what you want to be undeniably good at?

One CEO I worked with considered himself almost antisocial. He was not a smooth talker, not a naturally outgoing person but he had a burning desire to do well and make something out of himself and his company.

On his way up, he dropped out of college traveled around the world and had many exciting adventures. He’s glad he had the insight about himself to do that. Even though shy he made lots of friends and lots of adventures. He really didn’t feel that he missed out on that by not finishing college.

He did miss out on one thing. As he tells it “as my journey into entrepreneurship progressed, I felt this burning desire to get really, really good at something.” He felt that was the one thing that was missing for him. It was the in-depth knowledge that comes from studying something for a prolonged period of time. He had never “leaned in” and put all his energy into deepening his knowledge into something that had heart for him.

You don’t have to be a CEO.

This applies to you no matter where you are in your life. It’s amazing to make the effort, really try hard at something, at anything that speaks to you. The payoff is in the doing of it, the beauty and the terror of really giving your all. Lean in, go for it!

Be freaking undeniably good.