So why should you appreciate major outlets like ESPN if you’re an entrepreneur? The answer is simple- because it is a prime example of the power of commentary.
This is a mainstream outlet developed primarily to chat about other authorities, coaches and athletes’ actions and skill. Not to actually go play the game, but to devote its air-time to observing the best in the industry.
Despite the inherent, gut-wrenching feeling some have about critics, commentary on your behavior, actions and plans are only confirmation that you’ve made it to the “big arena.”
How Do I Know If I’ve Arrived in The Big Arena?
“What if they judge me?” “What if they laugh?” “Is is controversial?” “What if they see I’ve made a mistake?” To all of these phrases, the response- Fantastic! You may have finally arrived in your arena. The large one you’ve been both dreaming of and avoiding. The one with the top-notch players, high caliber competitors and overly impressive team mates. You have stopped playing small and entered into the spaces you know you’re meant to be. If you think of this arena as a sports analogy, you have officially stepped onto the field. With that though, comes the spotlight and with any spotlight- comes spectators.
Society has literally turned spectating into a profession– The NFL, NBA, The Major Leagues- they’re all high level because they’ve gained the attention of those who are “off the court” weighing in on the game. This is how ESPN has made their fortune and mark in the business. Despite the obvious- which is that they themselves are not putting their own abilities into the game, each does have a strong opinion, many suggestions and most of all, are attached to the outcomes, which they have no control over.
As an entrepreneur, you are putting the effort into your business, company or craft. Others may form opinions, give advice or even become uncomfortable as you change. Don’t worry, this just means you’re up to something BIG. For you, others voicing their opinions is a miraculous thing, it means you’ve made it into the stadium and landed right in front of the spectators. You are done playing small.
Big Things, Big Crowd
Congratulations, you’ve raised your game! You’re taking your career and legacy to new heights. The important thing to remember, the polarity you’ll experience when beginning this journey WILL NOT grow smaller as you climb the dream ladder, it will only expand.
Expect that your achievements will draw a crowd. When Peyton Manning takes home another Super Bowl win, does he expect that the media frenzy will “die down,” that because the commentary was there when he began the journey, it will somehow fade away? No.
However daunting it may seem, the number of eyeballs on you or your business is a great way to gauge the levels of success you’re reaching and the speed at which you’re running. This “crowd” is actually your audience and this commentary does not exclude those closest to you. Loved ones, close friends or colleagues getting upset because they now have to “schedule” calls with you, taking offense that you can no longer attend weekly poker or becoming uncomfortable when you’ve cc’d your assistant on an email chain.
The percentage of your audience that is “against the grain” now will remain the same percentage later, so you’ll be dealing with much bigger numbers in terms of spectators, commentators, and opinions that follow your success. Rather than a mental defeat, acknowledge it as confirmation that you’re making a real impression, playing at the level of your capability and not shying away.
The Haters are in fact FANS
Whether we’d like to think about it or not, the people and opinions that are incongruent with our own also make up a portion of your active audience. Following you is optional and yet they are in fact, voluntarily setting themselves up as consumers. “No one likes the way his football season is going,” “He missed an easy pass,” “He has no business as head coach,” often your audience may be out of agreement, but believe it or not, they’re addicted to your success. They want to take part in it. And they long to be a part of the outcome. This very instinct has allowed ESPN and other major networks, based in observation and commentary to thrive as one of America’s most popular formats. Polarity is inevitable when playing at a high level. Expect it, acknowledge it and most of all, embrace your spectators.
Now go win the game!