In this video, we are going to be talking about something every business needs… a dose of TOUGH LOVE. Watch now!
What we are talking about today is going to seem harsh. We are talking about the skill of being brutally honest with yourself. I call this tough love. People avoid talking about this, because it is an uncomfortable topic. But I am going to be breaking down how you can use this skill to be successful in business.
Working in Hollywood
Tough love is something I learned early on in my career, and I am so grateful I learned this lesson. I started out working in business in the movie industry in Los Angeles. I have talked about this in other videos. Entertainment is a hyper competitive industry. There are new people constantly moving to Los Angeles every year trying to become successful in Entertainment. That is why it is so competitive, and it is interesting to see how business forces play out.
I used to hang out with my friends, who were other movie producers, and we would talk about the business. We would often use the phrase, “The cream rises to the top.” This phrase has always stuck with me. The phrase refers to processing milk where cream rises to the top of the mixture where they scoop it off. But we were talking about business. In a highly competitive market, talented individuals will rise to the top and get noticed. So whether you are a writer, singer, actor, or director, if you are truly a star, you will get noticed. The brutal honesty, is that if you are not getting noticed, maybe you are not a star.
How a movie gets made
I’ll use an example from my experience. Something I did a lot when was starting out in Hollywood is something called script coverage. All these scripts are floating around the studios trying to get made into movies. Script coverage is reading scripts for studios, and writing up your notes. I did a lot of this. I read hundreds of scripts from all the talent agencies. After a while, you get a good idea of what potential movies are trying to get made.
I have to tell you, there are a lot of bad movie scripts. The majority of them are awful. Some of these even had big names attached to them and they were still awful. So you might not be a big fan of Hollywood movies. But in my opinion, the scripts that are selected to make into movies, are the best scripts that are out there. I know, because I read a lot of them. What I saw was that the cream really does rise to the top. The best scripts were the ones that got noticed and got selected.
The reason talented people get noticed, is that talented people make money. You have to remember that the movie studios are under enormous pressure to perform. So if someone makes a movie, and they do not get good box office sales, they do not get a second chance. Even if someone gets a lucky break, if they cannot generate results, they do not stick around. You see that a lot with careers in Hollywood.
The economics connection
In my experience working on 60 films, and working in a bunch of different industries as well, this phrase is accurate. “The cream rises to the top.” This idea is the same as the economic concept of the invisible hand introduced by Adam Smith in his book “The Wealth of Nations.” He explained that the way economics works is that money flows to areas of high productivity. So if you are creating value, money is going to flow to you.
This phrase is tough love. People have a really hard time accepting this idea. If you are looking at your business and you are not where you want to be, in means you are not good enough. That is a bitter pill to swallow. You may not be happy with how much money you are making, but maybe you are getting paid appropriately to the value you are creating.
The Power of Honesty
Brutal honesty is a gift because it gives you power. That is why it is so important that you develop this skill. You are taking ownership over your situation. You may not be happy where your business or your career is at. You probably want to make more money. When you realize that you are responsible for making more money, you can start taking action. Ask yourself these questions:
- How can you create more value?
- How can you be more productive?
- How can you become the best in your industry?
If you want to get paid more, figure out how to create more value. The cream rises to the top.
Problems with this approach
I am expecting some angry comments. I know that some people will say, “Zach, you are a white male living in America. You have advantages.” I would encourage you not to stereotype people. I was not born into money and I had to work for everything I have. Setting my experience aside, we do have to acknowledge that life sometimes is not fair. There is social injustice in the world that people struggle with. I will make videos on areas in business that are not fair, and we should do something about it. But do not get distracted from the real fundamental economic truth, because there is power in this idea. Money flows to areas of high productivity. The reality is that no matter how unfair your situation is, if you become the best in the world at something, you will become rich.
Let me leave you with some practical, concrete ideas you can use.
- Stop complaining. If you find yourself complaining about your situation, stop yourself. You are giving up your power by saying that other people are responsible for your situation.
- Take ownership of your life. You are 100% in control of how much value you are creating. If you do not like where you are at, take ownership to get to where you want to be.
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Neither Zach De Gregorio or Wolves and Finance Inc. shall be liable for any damages related to information in this video. It is recommended you contact a CPA in your area for business advice.