Embrace the Celebrity Within - Why Everyone Has a Little Celebrity in Them - and What to Do About It

Everyone is a celebrity at something, and by "celebrity" I'm not talking about movie stars, professional athletes or those overnight sensations that are here today, on the cover of People tomorrow and gone by Friday.

True celebrities are experts. In a lot of cases they're experts at acting, putting a ball in a hoop or looking sexy in next to nothing. But believe it or not, most celebrities these days - the ones that keep auditoriums and hotel conference rooms and even bookstore shelves full - are folks like you and I; people who realized what they are very, very good at and put it to use by celebritizing themselves (or putting their expert status to use as a modern celebrity).

You, too, can become one of these nowadays celebrities, no matter what business you're in, how big your company is (or isn't) or even if you don't think you bring the chops.

The best part is, it's as simple as 3-F's:


To be a modern day business celebrity you have to know 1) What you're good at, 2) What are you passionate about and 3) What people need from you. Celebritizing yourself is about knowing all three of the above, not just one or two.

So, what are you a good at? It could be anything: gardening, management, economics, knitting, housecleaning, politics - the works. The experts we all know and recognize and who become celebrities, everyone from Tim Russert to Ty Pennington to Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean, to George Stephanopoulos, may come from a wide array of backgrounds but all have one thing in common: they know what they're good at and do it very, very well.

Next, what are you passionate about? Now, being good at something and being passionate about it are two very different things. You can be great at fixing cars but hate talking about it, sharing it with other people. If so, this topic just wouldn't qualify for the expert celebrity game. But, if you look a little harder to identify what it specifically about fixing cars that you truly love and you find it's restoring classic automobiles, now that's something you could celebritize!

Finally, what do other people need from you? So what if you're good at fixing cars AND passionate about restoring classics? Is there a market for that? Do people really want to talk about that? And are you the right person for the job? Once upon a time I might have said, "No, there's no market in celebritizing yourself around restoring classic automobiles." But that was before Car Talk on NPR made its and co-hosts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi famous. That was before Antiques Roadshow captivated the country's attention and before both the History and Speed channels became cable staples.

Nowadays, truly, if you are an expert at something, passionate about that thing and can find a market for it, you too can become a celebrity!

Focus...On What Works

We all know what's going to work for us and what doesn't.

Blink and Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell is a celebrity x 10 but I don't think you'll ever hear him screaming into a microphone on some shock jock's call-in show; it's not him, it's not his audience - it doesn't work.

On the other hand, Guy Fieri, celebrity chef, cookbook author and winner of the Food Network's first "The Next Food Network Star" contest, IS just the kind of passionate, verbal, excited and outgoing individual who has made a career out of what works for him: using his natural passion and enthusiasm for his expertise - cooking - to create a personal brand that is suddenly dominating the Food Network scene.

Of course, even a profound extrovert like Guy Fieri pales in comparison to pundit, expert, author and popular CNBC host Jim Cramer. Cramer, with his trademark rolled up sleeves and loosened tie, intense eyes and voluble vocabulary, spends every evening shouting his message of the latest stock tips to an adoring and exceedingly loyal fan base on his popular TV show, Mad Money.

With his expertise, proven credibility and solid background, Cramer could have easily been a popular and successful pundit. But by finding his niche on his very own show, Cramer has truly shone and become what most experts crave: a celebrity.

Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Cramer and Guy Fieri are all experts; all are also bona fide celebrities.

And all are doing what works... for them.

Finesse... the Message

Finally, you need finesse; specifically, you need to finesse your message. It needs to be clear, concise and focused. For instance, if you are an absolute miracle worker when it comes to organizing things, it only makes sense that your message is organized as well.

What is that message? Let's say over time you've realize that most people aren't organized and even fewer people recognize the value of organization. So to make it clear for them just how important it is to be organized, you've come up with a simple three-part message that you communicate everywhere you go: your message is that organization saves time, increases productivity and boosts profits.

That message is delivered every time you publish something, hand out a business card or invite someone to read your blog. That message isn't just the words you use but the graphics you use in your brochures, on your Web site and on your business card.

Let's say you start a blog to spread your message about how important it is to be organized. You wouldn't write about sports scores or share holiday recipes or Hollywood gossip, would you? Hardly. Your message is that organization saves time, increases productivity and boosts profits.

So every blog post must reiterate that message in articles that have to do with your core expertise. You'll want to write about how an organized office is a productive office, you'll want to link to news stories or breaking research that reveals organization boosts effectiveness by 28%, etc. Otherwise you're just wasting that message, if not ignoring it altogether.

Embrace Your Expertise

So much of expertise is confidence, but we've seen how confidence alone isn't enough to become a celebrity. The bottom line with becoming a celebrity is that once you find... yourself, focus... on what works and finesse... your message, the foundation is already in place for what promises to be a bright and celebritized future.

Becoming a celebrity next becomes a matter of taking all three of these vital core skills and truly embracing your expertise so that you will have the confidence to truly shine in whatever it is you are good at, are passionate about and can find an audience for.

Once all these elements align, the sky truly IS the limit!


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