Weekender: Billy Crystal on the Internally-Induced Rewards


Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a marvelous schpeck of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a schpeck? Because it’s the weekend!

After a failed endeavor, I can be hard on myself. There tends to be a flurry of such overly critical reflections as “If only I had…” or “Why didn’t I think of…”. These lessons learned can be productive to a point, but there comes a time when you have to move on. That’s why I enjoyed Billy Crystal’s second-hand advice.

On WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, Billy Crystal was discussing an incident last year when he was visiting his long-time friend, legendary Hollywood manager Jack Rollins. Crystal’s new series Comedians was premiering that night and he was anxiously excited.

[Jack Rollins] grabbed my hand and says, ‘Are you happy with your work on the show? Do you feel good about what you did on the show?’ And I said ‘Yes, very much so.’ He says, ‘That’s most important because they can never take that away from you.’ I carry that around with me.

This guidance may not seem particularly novel, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. As leaders, there are few people who are going to congratulate you for your efforts. Most don’t see the struggle you put into your projects, while others simply don’t consider offering a boss the same support they would offer a co-worker. That leaves you to feel proud of yourself.

We need to get into the habit of discerning how we feel about the work we put into an accomplishment before knowing the outcome. That way, the self-accolades can seep into our psyche and help us brace for the subsequent result. It will ease the blow of defeat knowing we did all we could or, preferably, give us all the more reason to celebrate after the win. Either way, it seems healthier than tormenting ourselves on what should have been.

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