The Performance Business

No one goes to a U2 concert expecting anything less than their very best effort…maybe even the best one ever. It’s remarkable entertainers pull this off so often…pouring their heart into it, night after night. Same goes for dancers, magicians, actors and circus performers. The entertainment business is built on the rule that the final act, the one everyone sees must be remarkable. All of the work, practice, preparation, filing down takes place beforehand resulting in the best moment for the audience at a given point in time. Successful artists simply care more about the delight they seek to create than the hardship (and monotony) of getting there. And it’s expected.

Everyone should be an artist. Everyone should use emotional labor to cause delight for someone. And everyone should consider themselves in the performance business…every time they enter the stage and interact with someone. But we fall short…we don’t see ourselves as performers on stage. We see ourselves doing a job, going to class, or fulfilling family obligations. We do the work to get through our day, hoping to meet spec and check things off our to do list.

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone approached their job, class, interview, study group, or family time as a performance. Imagine the unexpected delight, the captivation, the excitement and the learning that might be created…if everyone made each performance the best one ever.

Is this tiring, hard and sometimes embarrassing? For sure. That’s the cost of performing at the edge and more importantly, creating new ones. But the world needs that. And it’s what your audience deserves.