Remember: It’s Not About You

Oh, you get to be part of it. You get to be right in the middle of it. But it’s not about you. Now more than ever, it’s not about you.

If you have the honor and privilege of having fans, patrons or whatever name you use for the people who support your live entertainment organization with their money and their passion, you’ve simply got to understand what’s important about what you do is not you, but them.

It’s counterintuitive in a way. It’s all about the thing on stage or on the field, right? The person or show or team in the spotlight? The giant poster that hangs in the lobby or outside the stadium? The star quarterback, the famous actor, the rock star? Isn’t that what it’s about?

Nope.

All those fabulous characters are like trees falling in a forest. Their power comes entirely from the people who care about what those fabulous characters do. The people are like the battery pack for the otherwise empty shell of your organization and its content. It gives you all the power you have, and it has to be recharged frequently.

Switch places for a second. When you or I sit in that audience, we enjoy the star, the show, the team, the act. We may even admire or idolize them. But we’re primarily there for ourselves. For what those stars bring to our lives.

"A Rocket to the Moon," © 2011  deadserpents, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

“A Rocket to the Moon,” © 2011 deadserpents, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

You often see an image used in advertisements for concerts or other shows where there’s a sea of hands at a concert or show and some big lights shining on the stage, as though that’s the important part.

But I’ve always thought there was something off about that. I’ve never particularly wanted to be an anonymous pair of hands reaching out to the “gods” on stage. Have you? No, that experience, for me, is centered on me, just the same as it is for every other person there.

People in our business really go off the rails when they get arrogant about their fans and begin to see themselves as “important.” This can happen to the artists themselves of course, but it can even happen to the organization. Entire organizations can become soaked in their own self-importance.

But it’s very difficult to be arrogant and serve your supporters well at the same time. And the way to avoid this pitfall is to remember that this business isn’t about you or your organization. It’s about the people that make it matter in the first place.

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