I spent the weekend devouring The Third Door by Alex Banayan. Let me just tell you – the book is like eating when you’re hungry or drinking when you’re thirsty – you can’t get enough and it’s so, so satisfying (and absolutely uncomfortable in places). I’ll go into it in detail as soon as I’ve finished, but there was one quote in particular I wanted to chat about today.
If you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the book, it’s a non-fictional account of Alex’s journey to interview the most successful people in the world in search of how they got their start and their advice for young people today. In the book, he quotes Larry King as saying these mind-blowing words:
“Sometimes when people are starting out and feel they don’t know how to interview, they look to the people they admire – maybe it’s Barbara Walters or Oprah or myself – and they see how we interview and they try to copy that. That’s the biggest mistake you can make. You’re focused on what we’re doing, not why we’re doing it.”
And the genius words keep flowing:
“The reason why is because these are the styles that make us the most comfortable in our seats, and when we are the most comfortable in our seats, our guests re the more comfortable in their seats.”
You guys. Larry’s advice extends so far beyond the art of interviewing. Paraphrased, he’s emphasizing the importance of tapping into your authenticity and owning it. Oprah doesn’t try to be Larry King, who absolutely doesn’t try to replicate Barbara Walters. They’ve each found an interview style that works for them based on who they are, what their experiences have been, and their personalities. When was the last time you heard Larry King yell, “EVERYBODY GETS CAAAAAARS!”
A major key to the success of these individuals is their ability to recognize what makes them authentic and unique and employ it regularly in their work. The power of their ingenuity shines through and permeates their work. It makes their work distinguishable and unique. There is POWER in authenticity.
Think about it this way. On Friday night, you go see a comic perform. He’s hilarious. You love him. You’ll definitely go see him again. Then, you see a second comic on Saturday night, but this comic has repurposed all of the Friday night comic’s material. You’re now hearing it for a second time, delivered in a much more contrived manner – after all, it’s not his material. He’s struggling to remember what it’s about.
As an audience member, the second comic tanks for multiple reasons:
- It’s been done before
- He’s struggling because the material is not his own
You guys: DO NOT be the second comic. Even if the first comic isn’t flawless, he’s still fresh and original and his material is unique because it’s his own (or hers – hey, power to the female comics). Originality and authenticity are your MOST POWERFUL assets. And guess what – there’s only ONE of you in the world, so you’re already half way there.
Listen – don’t believe me, believe Larry King – Emmy Lifetime Achievement and Peabody award winner (among many others). Have I convinced you yet? If you’re ready to learn more about cultivating your unique worldview and harnessing it to catapult your career, check out this post. Then, drop your email in the box below, and I’ll send you my exclusive BOSS Method Guide to branding! Because I believe in you, and Larry King does, too.