Best Actor Oscar nominee this year for the gritty biographical drama Dallas Buyers Club. He
is up for one of the highest honors in Hollywood because he knew it was time for
a change. A few years ago he decided to start over and, as he said, “un-brand
Earlier this week on CBS Sunday Morning, he
described how he turned away from his “fastball”, the safe romantic comedies
he's done well so many times, and took a step back to relook at everything.
“I was going fine in my career. I was enjoying my career," McConaughey said.
"But, my life started to feel more exciting than my career did… I said, I'm
gonna have to stop doing what I've been doing."
He started taking on roles that were a stretch for him or as he described it
that “shook his floor”. Success can keep us from trying something new and
putting ourselves out there. Why change?
In my upcoming book, Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work
and in Life, I interviewed Charley Johnson, president of the
Pay it Forward Foundation. Charley shared his
view on the importance of curiosity and learning even when you are doing well.
He said, “Those crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who
do. To have enough humility, but also that ego to believe you can do it. To be
almost a walking contradiction. To just be unbelievably curious, to read so many
different books, and listen to so many different opinions. To want to be taught
something. To want to sit down with people smarter than you and that think
differently than you and truly listen. I didn’t do that in my last business.
Things were going too well.” Yet, it set in motion his decision to devote his
career to Pay it Forward and leave his old career behind.
Both Matthew and Charley decided to un-brand and change their course not
because of failure or disappointment, but in the midst of great success. Yet,
they had their own personal definition of success that created a turning
In writing my first book or in my business, I can get caught up in the end
result that I hope will happen. ‘I hope my book does well!’ or ‘If we do great
work, then the client will want us to create next year’s program’. But, those
results aren’t in our control. We control what we do each day – our decisions,
actions and attitude.
Of course we need goals and a strategy, but the best coaches often talk about
doing the right things, following a disciplined process and the results will
Nick Saban, Head Coach of the University of Alabama football team, said that
they have a process that creates excellence. On 60 Minutes, they
explained that Saban's players have faith in their coach largely because of a
revolutionary approach he designed years ago called The Process. "Ignore the
scoreboard," Saban preached to his players. "Don't worry about winning, just
focus on doing your job at the highest level, every single play, and the wins
Clint Hurdle, a Wave Maker in my book,
and the Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the
National League Manager of the Year shared his view on results. He said, “You
never start by talking about the results you want on the field. It’s about how
the players talk and think. They need to take ownership of the game and of the
team. When that happens, the results will take care of themselves.”
Some questions to consider:
- How is success helping you and limiting you?
- Is your current path taking you where you want to go? What changes are needed?
- What is your “process” for doing what matters most?
- What type of “un-branding” do you need in your reputation, career or work?
- Where and how do you need to stretch and learn – even if it feels like a step back?
If you are due for a career reinvention, it is time to start learning,
stretching and in McConaughey’s words, ‘shaking your floor’. But, rather than
thinking about success and outcomes, it will take some faith, patience, and
As McConaughey said, “I haven’t been thinking about results for some time
and, now, results are coming my way.”
How will you ‘shake your floor’ this year?
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