Monday, February 25, 2013

2 Things Ben Affleck Said Directly to Entrepreneurs

Ben Affleck Receiving Best Picture Oscar for Argo - Mario Anzouri/REUTERS

Last night, a very unlikely hero emerged from the ashes.

Hot shot actor, overexposed for many years quietly comes back and triumphs big. His film nominated in many categories but he himself snubbed for Best Director, Ben Affleck had a message for everyone in Hollywood.

He is back. (after getting a 1998 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting with his best bud, Matt Damon) He is good enough. He is talented. And now, you all know it.

His speech was worth my two hours of lost sleep alone giving us entrepreneurs two great nuggets in his rushed, nervous and downright exhilarating speech.

"You can't hold grudges."

"Doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is you gotta get up."

Not all of us work in the chasm that is Hollywood but Affleck's advice is sound and solid for those of us who work for ourselves in any industry.

Like Affleck, we will be faced with doubters. People you think will be supportive of your endeavors will ignore your calls and not answer your emails. People who will tell you to get them "your stuff" and no matter how much you follow up - they don't do anything. You have to let those folks go. Why? Because then you'll meet the folks who will help.

Doubters and folks who reject us are often the targets of our grudges. Affleck mentioned a specific group of people in his speech, those "who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood." Guys, if we are chasing the doubters trying to convince them - we miss the people Ben acknowledged - the people WILLING to extend themselves to us. When we hold grudges, the energy we give off repels the people we need to meet and work with.

My favorite line from Affleck's speech was this one, "And it doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life because that's going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up." As an entrepreneur, this spoke to me, big time.  I'm particularly moved by his word choice of "how you get knocked down." Knocked down is knocked down, right? Wrong. Some blows are way more significant than others. The client who signs a contract and does not pay is much different from the person who begs for a proposal and doesn't agree to work with you.

Affleck's use of how you get knocked down was intentional. Look at his own fall from Hollywood graces. 15 years ago, Hollywood was making fun of Bennifer, Gigli and Daredevil. Ben Affleck was the butt of late night jokes and generally dismissed as a pretty face with little talent. Yet, he quietly settled down, built a family and got really selective on which projects he chose to lend himself to and little by little -  an amazing filmmaker has emerged from the ashes of a hot shot handsome actor who burned out quickly.

As entrepreneurs, we must get back up. Again. Again.  And again. Regardless of what struck us down. We need look no further than Ben Affleck who made history being only the fourth director to win Best Picture without a Best Director Nomination.

Thanks Ben - I'm fired up all over again for my work today. Even on a lot less sleep.

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