June 8, 2017

You Cannot Be Your Own Raving Fan

Did I Talk Too Much

Do you know anyone that talks mostly about themselves? I checked with my wife last Sunday to see if I had dominated an entire lunch visit with friends because it seemed like I had talked a lot. Good thing the subject was film and not myself.

Lately I’ve been remembering and rewatching clips of Carlo, a seeming sycophant who shows up for about 30-40 seconds in the movie La La Land to bore and annoy Mia, the lead character. Her pain is our entertainment, for we all know people like Carlo. Here’s his first of two brief appearances:

No sooner is Carlo introduced to Mia as “a writer” than he goes into self-promotion overdrive, describing his reputation for “world-building” and listing all the “heat” and “buzz” and “people talking” about him. He is clearly impressed with himself, but Mia is not. She can’t get away fast enough.

Two X-amples

While looking up the actor who played Carlo, Jason Fuchs, I saw that he actually is a Hollywood writer with credits that include Wonder Woman, so there probably is a substantial amount of buzz happening about him. This news impresses me whereas Carlo’s gushing about himself annoys me. The reason why – the difference – occurred to me this past week.

While some of us would enjoy strangling someone like Carlo, we might enjoy getting to know a person like The Most Interesting Man in the World. Of course I don’t mean the new one. That dude is either a tool, or I don’t cope with change very well. Either way, I’m talking about the old one with the white hair. That guy was cool.

The old Most Interesting Man in the World had stories. There were legends about him. He had people gathered around him, wanting to be near him and hang on his words. He had loads of reputation currency. Probably a swimmable, Scrooge McDuck amount of it.

But the key to his “interesting” status might be less obvious to you (maybe because most people don’t usually sit around and analyze commercials). I believe what made these early popular Dos Equis ads so successful was this crucial element: Before any of us heard from him at the end of the commercial, we heard about him.

Confidence, Humility, and Third Parties

I have stressed on this blog the importance of knowing your strengths and telling others about your desire to use those talents, but confidence looks fashionable when it is paired with humility. You can’t be your own raving fan. That is the reputation currency equivalent of printing your own money, and you aren’t the Federal Reserve.

Exceptional service helps positive stories start to circulate. I have to patiently build up my portfolio and my good name by doing work that gives value to people. If I want my reputation to be worth spreading, I must please these people so fully that they tell friends and even strangers about me.

Don’t be like Carlo. Be like The Most Interesting Man in the World. Make your exploits magnificent enough to earn you a voiceover.

2 Comments on “You Cannot Be Your Own Raving Fan

June 8, 2017 at 11:06 pm

This was great! I think you need to write a blog about the difference between confidence and arrogance… I feel like people can’t tell the difference… and if you ARE confident, they automatically assume you must be arrogant.

P.s. – the new guy is a total tool. 🙂

June 9, 2017 at 1:18 am

Thank you! That could be a good future post. Any thoughts on how to spot the difference?

I think Monday’s post might be about making sure your job requires having a soul in order to perform it.


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