The Oscars is where we celebrate the best of the best in film – the spine-tingling performances, the cream of the crop. You want the best of the best for your career too, and so why not look to the Oscars for a little inspiration. Here are six tips to help you create a career that’s an Oscar worthy show-stopping success:
#1 Know your role.
In your current job, are you a director or a leading actor? Or maybe you’re playing a supporting role. What’s your main job in relation to the other players? To make the most of your performance, you have to know how you fit into the overall picture.
A supporting player who constantly tries to steal focus isn’t doing a very good job. Nor is an actor who can’t take direction. Don’t know what your role is? Ask for clarity. Don’t like your role? Start looking for your next gig.
#2 Work hard.
There is a lot of glitz and glam surrounding the red carpet and the after parties, but the Oscars are first and foremost about celebrating excellent work. Nobody walks away with the prize by half-assing it. The same goes for all forms of work.
Those at the top make it look easy, but we often see only the glossy finished product, not all of the sweat and grit that went into making it happen. Did you know that Ben Affleck did a commercial for Burger King before winning an Oscar for Good Will Hunting? And that Cate Blanchett once did commercials for cookies? If you want to be among the best of the best in your field, you’ll have to put in more than a little elbow grease before you make it to the big leagues.
#3 Be human.
The Oscars represent all things polished and perfect in Hollywood. Yet, the celebrities we can’t get enough of are the ones who are the most human. We connect most with people who show their humanity. Why do you think we love Jennifer Lawrence so much?
Yes, Jennifer Lawrence has talent, not to mention cheekbones sculpted by the gods, but so do most of the people in Hollywood. We love her because she falls up the stairs, because she’s goofy, because she calls out Hollywood snobs on their elitist bullshit. She’s special because she’s real – the kind of real that makes you want to invite her out for two-for-one margaritas.
Showing your humanity, even in a professional setting, is the most surefire way to make a real and lasting connection with others. Keep it real, and people will want to support you, be around you, and work with you (and if you’re lucky, take you out for two-for-one margaritas).
#4 Thank your collaborators and supporters.
Even the best and brightest can’t do it alone. Tim Burton has Johnny Depp, Martin Scorsese has Leo. You have…(fill in the blank). My guess is that you probably have a whole team of people working for or alongside you – colleagues, collaborators, mentors, employees, service providers, administrators, designers, technical support. Do your people know how important they are to you?
You may not have an opportunity to give an Oscar acceptance speech, but do make a point to thank your people. You wouldn’t be where you are without them. Gratitude – in the form of a shout-out, a pat-on-the-back, a recommendation, or a bonus – not only shows your appreciation, but also keeps your people stepping up for you again and again.
#5 Learn from the best.
Maybe your current career has you feeling like you’re sitting in the back row instead of up front with Jack Nicholson. You could wallow in self-pity, or you could pay attention and learn from the amazing people around you. Where do you want to be? Who do you aspire to be like? Who’s doing it right? What can you learn and adapt for yourself? Stop the pity party already and start taking notes.
Success doesn’t happen overnight, but if you start taking small actions to improve your current situation you’ll soon emerge from the shadows and step into your own spotlight.
#6 Don’t forget about the after party.
For heaven’s sake, celebrate your successes! Sometimes we’re so focused on striving for the next big thing that we forget to stop and marvel at what a long way we’ve come. Where were you exactly a year ago? Five years ago? Look at the progress you’ve made. That includes screw-ups, by the way, so long as you learned something as a result. Even the biggest Hollywood hits have retakes and edits.
You work hard, and you have your eye on the prize, but even incremental progress deserves celebration. So kick off your heels, pour yourself a glass of champagne, pause, and drink in all of the little moments that make up the big picture.