Some people set industry related goals. They want to win that contest, or be named to that Top 10 list. Maybe they want to be published in that magazine or be asked to speak at that convention. I get that. But the truth about those things is that you can just get them if you want them. The submission lists are posted, and you can basically figure out what those competitions tend to reward. If you want to be on the Top 10 list ask them how they nominate and get in the game. Usually you have to be nominated by someone who is already on the list – time to make some new friends. Hola Machiavelli. Submission guidelines are readily available and the process for getting that speaking job is rarely more complicated than sending an email.
We tend to think that the people on the pedestal are so much higher than we the rabble. But those who are on the pedestal weren’t lifted up from above, they climbed up there on their own accord. They just acted like they belonged there and put themselves there – everyone else on the pedestal made room. You don’t get plucked from obscurity, you elbow your way through the door. They don’t ask you to speak at the major convention, you call up and ask to present. You make a pitch. You push your way in. The magazine doesn’t publish you, you have to send in the submission. The pedestal isn’t that tall, it is just one step up. You just have to buy into the fact that you deserve to take that step up.
Several people have mentioned that it is cool that we were asked to speak at Mystic Seminars. It is cool, but we weren’t asked, I asked. I sent in a request. I’ve got a request in to WPPI for 2013 too (make sure you Tweet them and tell them you want …a Man to Fish… to present – @RFWPPI) and we’ll see what happens. A few years ago when we presented at Imaging USA we figured out who was in charge and what they needed to see from a pitch, then we sent it in. No mystery. No one asked me to set up a blog or record podcasts, I acted like I deserved to. I’m not a contest person, but I have no reason to complain because I don’t look into what it takes to be recognized.
My point isn’t about the worthiness of industry recognition. My point is that the recognition doesn’t go to the best, it goes to the people that go after it. If you want it, go get it. Granted, I don’t think any of it is going to make or break you, or really provide you happiness. But if you want it, don’t act like the pedestal is above you, just climb onto it. Get over how much you care about that stuff by actually achieving it, then you can move on to bigger and more meaningful things.