20 Feet From Stardom

Mina Hochberg interviews Morgan Neville, director of upcoming documentary 20 Feet From Stardom:

Any creative type with a modicum of ambition knows what it’s like to yearn for career stardom. What writer hasn’t dreamed of becoming the next Jonathan Franzen or Joan Didion? […] What’s it like to be so close to the spotlight and yet so far away?

Some of the answers seem obvious: Let go of your ego; support the star instead of trying to supplant him; focus on doing your job well (and your own stardom may follow). One answer, though, is intriguing and probably the one that’s most often overlooked:

Ask yourself if you really want to be the star

Many yearn for the limelight: background singers as well as members of your marketing or content team. Because, hey, everyone wants to be a star, right?


Maybe not. The desire to be a, or even the star may just be a social norm someone thinks s/he needs to follow. But success, measured from the individual’s point of view, can – and often does – happen on the back benches. If you want to step forward, make sure it’s what you, or your team members, really want.