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To Be Famous Versus To Be Seen


The Fleeting Clap

You could make a long list of celebrities who attained fame and then wished to flee from it as if fame were pursuing them instead of the other way around. Fame can be the siren’s song that lures you into thinking you need heaps of applause and accolades to feel good about your work in the world. It is the veneer reflection of good work.

Chase after applause, and you measure success and contentment by how many and how loud. When the clapping stops, you leave yourself wide open to a chasm of disappointment or worse.

Here’s an interesting thing: When you chase after applause, you’re in such a hurry to gauge other people’s surface responses that you overlook the very thing that brings you abiding joy – the challenges of honing a craft, building an endeavor, improving a skill set, learning to do something brand new, and making something that in turn changes the way people think or feel or act.

It’s tough to resist this lure of instant mini-fame. It’s especially tough in a time when programmers who make apps and social media platforms know how to tap into our base needs for instant gratification. Like, Like, Like, Like.

We don’t need fame to thrive. We don’t need millions of people throwing accolades our way for our art or business or endeavor to make an impact and to make a return. 

To Be Seen

What many entrepreneurs and makers are really after is right recognition. Recognition at its best is to be seen again at our best.

One of our greatest needs as human beings of all ages and in all fields is for the best in us to be seen by someone we trust. For that person to share a vision of that best self’s possibility. 

Fame is a fleeting reflection of what we think we want from an anonymous mass. Real recognition is an abiding mirroring back from one human being to another.

A beloved client and Tracking Wonder enthusiast sent me a note that linked to this blog post by the ever-spot-on Seth Godin. Her note said, “I read this and thought of you because this is so YOU!” (See if you see yourself or someone you know in it):

The copy editor will fix a misstated fact, spot a typo and get your prose clean.

The line editor will rearrange a paragraph and help you organize a thought more clearly.

And the editor who is your partner will tell you that the chapters are in the wrong order, that you must delete a third of what you wrote, or perhaps consider writing for TV instead. This kind of editor is the one who will tell you your time is better spent doing something else entirely.

It’s easier (but not easy) to find a good copy editor than it is to find someone generous and brave enough to help you figure out your strategy, whether you’re working on a book, a career or the structure of your next project.

The copy editor can tell you that you mangled a few facts early in your presentation. The line editor will help you untangle a complicated story near the middle. And your strategic editor will help you see that a one-on-one meeting would have been better than a presentation in the first place.

Sure, fix my typos, thanks a lot, but what’s truly precious is someone able to fix your plan.

Worth noting that most critics and journalists are comfortable being metaphorical copy editors, but it’s rare you find someone who speaks up with sensible thoughts about your strategy.

Treasure the folks willing and able to develop a point of view about the big picture.


My client gave me a gift in mirroring back what she sees in me.

It is rare to find “someone generous and brave enough to help you figure out your strategy, whether you’re working on a career or the structure of your next project.” I’ve searched for them and found 2 or 3 such people whom I hold close and dear.

Talent agents help you chase fame. Mentors help you enact your best vision to last. (Click to Tweet if this resonates. Thanks!)

Which one do you need?

Questions to consider:

  • Who holds the big picture of your next endeavor and of the best in you this year?
  • What would it feel like to have someone you trust do that – especially if you are someone who tends to hold the big picture for others?
  • What would it be worth to you to have someone on your side who’s adept, skilled, bright, and compassionate to co-create a customized map for you so you can advance your branding or re-branding efforts, expand your influence, and up your impact?

Maybe it’s hard to reach out for help. But maybe it’s much more complicated to continue trying to figure out everything on your own.

Maybe it’s time to let the DIY stage pass before your time to create what matters does.


Thanks for running with me,



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