Monday, 16 November 2009

Think Like An Entertainer

Whilst the notion of juggling might be a new concept to some, others have been successfully living multi-dimensional lives for years. Look at the entertainment world, where performers regularly cross disciplines from comedy to broadcasting to writing to acting.

Of course the challenge with that plurality – not just for entertainers but for all jugglers - is how people get labelled. As Dave Gorman said on Radio 4 a couple of months ago (‘Loose Ends’ 08/08/09):

‘You just want to move on and do something different every time. Whatever you do first, people label you as that and you’re never allowed to try your hand at anything else. So if I write a book, it’s comedian turned author; never just an author and you’re always pegged in that way. Personally I don’t see why I can’t make a documentary one year, a book another and do some stand-up. They’re all strings to the same bow to me’.

The key is to try not bother about the labels and just carve out that work life based on your talents and passions. I had coffee with Phill Jupitus last week - he has an awesome portfolio that includes: comedian, podcaster, newspaper columnist, broadcaster, actor (he’s currently starring in ‘Hairspray’ in the West End), cartoonist and musician. That’s not a list of his career history; that’s what he does *now*.

Like any successful juggler Phill has to be ruthless about how he manages his time but that broad portfolio is the result of his multi-dimensional talents. He seems to place no limits on what he does; proof being taking to the stage in a musical for the first time in his life. And ‘Hairspray’ is quite a leap from where it all started for him as a one man stand-up act ‘Porky The Poet’ (the guise I first saw him as, at Peckham Town Hall back in 1985).

So if you’re looking to juggle in business, you can learn a lot from the entertainment industry where reinvention and plurality of talents is behind much success. Take a leaf out of Phill’s book: extend your portfolio to wherever your passions and talents take you; go out of your comfort zone to find your career equivalent of taking a leap to the West End stage.

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