How to Stop Chasing the Spotlight
“Our failures, the challenges, the roadblocks that we’re up against can actually be pathways to success.” —Tim Schurrer
Tim Schurrer wanted to be the next John Mayer. But he soon realized he wasn’t selling enough records or concert tickets to achieve this goal and became frustrated. He then pivoted into a different kind of role, where being less in the spotlight actually felt like a success.
Working for Donald Miller allowed Tim to fade a bit into the background, where instead of fame he found contentment and meaning in his life. Coming alongside other people and helping them win helped Tim learn a new definition of success.
In this episode of “Authors Who Lead,” Tim and I talk about his new book, The Secret Society of Success: Stop Chasing the Spotlight and Learn to Enjoy Your Work (and Life) Again, and a bit about why and how to stop chasing the spotlight and enjoy your work and life.
A spotlight mindset is defined as an unhealthy desire for attention and recognition. This leads us to compare ourselves with others and gives us a feeling that we’re not getting the credit or the recognition we deserve. Being unhappy with our success will damage our relationship with ourselves and with others.
This dangerous mindset is also very much alive in our consumerism culture, where we tend to sell through the lens of “What’s in it for me?” because that’s what the customers are thinking when they are buying a product or service. But, according to Tim, this mindset “will ruin you.” We will never feel content at any level because there will always be someone who is more successful or is offering a better product.
Be Yoda, Not Luke Skywalker
Instead of allowing the spotlight mindset to ruin you, stop asking, “What’s in it for me?” Instead, ask different questions such as “How do I find my purpose?” or “Who am I here for?” Tim urges us as content creators and people helping others that we should aim to be the guide like Yoda, not in the spotlight like Luke Skywalker.
Being the guide and showing up for the love of the work itself and not just for the successful end result helps you live more in alignment with the “joy of the journey,” as Steve Jobs is known to say. Redefining your success to enjoy your journey through life will actually help you operate out of your “sweet spot.”
Success after Failure
When you have allowed yourself to get free of the spotlight mindset and are enjoying your journey, all of your failures and struggles can actually feel like a blessing. They have shaped who you are at this point, and they have shown you areas in your life that aren’t in your best interest. Like Tim with his music career, it was something he thought he wanted to do, but it took failing at it in order to show him where he truly felt content. This is why Tim suggests that we should actually “embrace these things [struggles], not run away from them.”
Ghost Writers and Co-Authors
When Tim started writing his book, he was frustrated by his lack of progress. He had a family and growing responsibilities at work, and he struggled to find the time to write. After talking to an author friend who had just released a successful book while working twelve-plus-hour days, Tim realized that “you don’t have to write every single word to be able to author a book.”
This started his journey working with a ghostwriter where he found the co-writing experience fun and very helpful in completing his book. Writing a book is a big endeavor, and sometimes stepping back and allowing another author to help us during this journey allows us to get our message out. We still, however, need to show up and be vulnerable and honest in our books, because that is where our uniqueness shines, even when we haven’t written every single word.
No matter how you choose to show up as an author, it’s about having a message to share. Stop chasing the spotlight and find your sweet spot, your genius zone, your new definition of success for your work and life.
What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? How do you define success? Share in the comments below!
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside of you that needs to be written, today is the day to start. Don’t delay—take action.