Weekender: Brian Grazer on Needless Worrying

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a seat-ful of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a seat (versus the whole booth)? Because it’s the weekend!

On a leader’s ascent to power, many thoughts naturally creep into one’s mind. Some are beneficial and drive higher performance, others are more damaging. One damaging example is the overreliance on comparing yourself to others as a means of determining self-worth. Famed producer Brian Grazer explains.

In the early 1980s when Grazer was beginning to taste success, he was invited to the high-profile, highly exclusive Chasen’s Super Bowl party. Grazer had wanted to go since he began in show business. When he got there, he unexpectedly sat in a booth with comic royalty. Red Button, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles were all sitting together laughing and telling stories. Watching this magical moment, Grazer said that he thought to himself,

At one time, these guys were fierce enemies or competitors or were quietly rooting against the other guy, which is what Hollywood is all about. But now, all these guys clearly wanted to do was just share some camaraderie, jokes, good laughs, and watch the game. This made me think that worrying about [having the] hottest career, worrying about competing about whether I’m hot enough or high enough on the list, all those things we care about, but to place too much importance on that is only going to be a ridiculous bummer for you, a complete buzz kill in your life, and when really all you want to do is have it add up to have some good friends, and some laughs, and some of the simpler things in life.

We can’t help but wonder where we stand in contrast to others. The problem is when the need to win overpowers our ego, when it becomes the sole way to measure success. Consider Grazer’s advice. Camaraderie will make your climb up the corporate ladder all the more fulfilling. Leadership can be lonely. Build your support system along the way so you don’t reach the pinnacle and find that you are all alone.

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