I was privileged to be a part of a Backstage Leadership class, where we got to interact with some very great minds and people. Many sessions were very challenging from leaders that had proven themselves. One of the classes I won’t forget in a long time, if at all, was with Jon Acuff.
Jon is a New York Times best-seller author. Among other books he’s written Quitter and his most recent, The Start Book. He shares his story of how he bridged the gap between his dream job and his day job. In the interview we had with Jon and in his book, Quitter, he shares about the importance of the hustle.
He encourages people chasing their dreams to embrace the hustle and, in a nutshell, love the period of obscurity.
The truth is most (normal) people want their breaks and they want them now. Leaders want to see the organizations they lead achieve unprecedented success and they want that now.
Obscurity can be a very good thing, if you use it well.
Jon encouraged staying true to your cause or dream. If your break had to come five years from now, make sure you’re five years better when it comes. It is easy for people to stop working on their dreams because they want the break first. Ironically, the break is often a result of labor in the dark, where no one sees.
Use obscurity to work uninterrupted, far from the crowd, stage and lights, which has its own pressure. Use obscurity as your cover. The days of obscurity are days of getting better.
Love your dream enough to do something about it when you’re your own audience
Working in the dark, almost undisturbed is where you want to be. That is the perfect place to prove yourself to yourself before going to make any claims to the whole world.
Obscurity allows you to build muscle and competency. You will need these for credibility. Your credibly hangs on what you do in obscurity.
If you do the work, when the break comes you will be good for your promises. You will be credible. Fame and credibility will beget more fame and credibility, and more opportunities.
If you’re not focused on getting better and your break comes the result will be a great big fall. Not using obscurity to get better is building your own gallows.
Love your dream enough to love the obscure part of the journey to realizing your dream.
Here’s a follow up post to this one: Structure | Why You Must Love Obscurity