I truly believe that a success lesson can come from anywhere at anytime if we are open to it. A perfect example of this just happened to me yesterday when I saw the John Krasinski success unfold on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It had a huge impact on me and I wanted to share it with you as quickly as possible. Here’s the story.
I had heard John Krasinski (best known as Jim Halpert from The Office) was going to be on The Late Show. I set the DVR to record it and sat down to watch it yesterday. I’ve been a fan of The Office for a while and recently saw him as Jack Ryan on Amazon Video. I’ve wanted to know more of the John Krasinski success story and the Late Show totally delivered.
(John Krasinski interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert)
Here are the elements of the success lesson I got from watching him on the Late Show.
- Having a dream.
- The importance of support.
- Being flexible on your dreams.
- Setting a “must happen by” date.
- Sticking to that date.
- Being willing to do the work.
- Not half doing anything.
John Krasinski Success Lesson Overview
First of all, I recommend watching him tell the story for himself after you’ve read this article. Having said that, here is a brief summary of his story.
After graduating high school, he went on to Brown University (which he was not accepted to initially) to become a teacher. After his friends had all graduated from college in May, he was just looking for a college to transfer his credits to and graduate from. He selected the National Theatre Institute and from his first day of class, he knew what he wanted to be.
After graduation, he told his mom he was moving to New York City to be an actor. The most important thing here is that even though John is sure they were concerned about him doing something unconventional, they NEVER said that to him.
What his mom told him on the ride home was that she wanted him to set a time frame of two and a half to three years. If nothing is working out be ready to consider a change. The other important thing that she told him was that he had to be ready to pull himself out. She did not want to be the one who made him give up on that dream. What an incredibly supportive and positive woman she must be!
Three Years Later
Fast forward to three years later and John is calling his mom to come get him. He was completely done in his own words. Waiting tables, picking up odd acting gigs and continuing to learn just wasn’t getting him anywhere. This was in the fall. His mother told him to wait three months until the end of the year and she would come get him.
Three weeks later, he landed his life changing role on The Office.
He has since gone on to act in, produce and direct both television and movie projects. Time named him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2018.
Let’s look at each of the pieces of the success lesson I got from John Krasinski.
Having a Dream
It is clear that from an early age John wanted to be an actor. I don’t think it was until all the day to day stuff started getting in the way did that change. If he dreamed of being the star he is now it was not obvious. He just knew he wanted to be involved in acting and teaching acting. There is nothing wrong with that goal either. As long as you’re willing to be flexible. We will talk about that later.
The Importance of Support
For most of us, getting support at an early age can be a real problem. Our role models are usually our parents who may or may not have any experience with anything entrepreneurial or unconventional. How easy would it been for John’s mom to tell him even before college that acting would never pay the bills or some such nonsense?
I know both of my parents (rest their souls) were brought up where you did your best to find good work. Then, hope you could stay there until retirement. My dad found out in his fifties that the model didn’t work that way all the time. If I had told either of them that I was moving to NYC to become an actor, they may have had me committed. I’m only half kidding.
As it turned out, I went to Ohio State University to become a music teacher. This, after my junior high and high school experience performing as a vocalist in school rock concerts. I wasn’t a great vocalist but music has always been in my blood. I’m thinking if my parents and I were at odds with one another I may have made a choice like that. However, because we had a great relationship and were “level headed” I decided to go on to college.
Do you see how important it is to surround yourself with the right people, like Jim Rohn talks about?
Being Flexible on Your Dreams
John did NOT get into Brown University on the first try. That’s why he ended up starting mid-year which made him graduate after his friends had. Instead of just going home and transferring whatever he could to a local school, he actively looked for something in his field where he would enjoy attending while he finished off his degree.
How could he ever have known that the National Theatre Institute program would change the trajectory of his life? Because he was willing to be flexible in his approach.
Remember this when you’re agonizing over all the pieces to your goals.
I have a colleague in the Laptop Lifestyle Academy entrepreneurial community, Mitch (a highly successful online businessman) who doesn’t believe in setting goal achievement steps for this reason. He believes you can’t be flexible and will miss out on opportunities if you decide you know how something must work to succeed.
Setting a “must happen by” Date
The above being true, it is also important to set a clear goal (“getting a paid acting gig that supports me”, for instance) and decide on a “must happen by” date for its completion. Obviously, if John had gotten enough work before he called his mother he wouldn’t have called her. At least not to have her bring him home.
Flexibility here is also important. Just like John’s mom was willing to give him three more months, you should take a hard look at your goal when you reach that date.
Just to be clear, I don’t mean putting off making the decision because “just a little more time” would fix everything. Being honest with yourself is critical!
Sticking To That date
As I said above, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and be willing to quit or pivot if you’re not reaching your goal by your date. That’s right. I said pivot.
What I mean here is just because you stop pursuing one goal it doesn’t mean you have to stop living. Or crawl into a cave waiting to die.
No, you’ve got to have the honesty to say that you need to move on or set your sights on another goal.
Not lingering with this process is also key. John’s body of work shows that he didn’t spend years trying to figure out what was best for his career.
This brings me to my next point.
Being Willing To Do The Work
The part of John’s story that he didn’t spend a lot of time with was while his career pursuit was happening he wasn’t sitting around plotting his next move. He just took on projects he believed in and let the chips fall where they might. If you asked him I believe he would tell you many or most of the early projects didn’t amount to much financially. However, I’m sure he could tell you something he gained from each one of them.
This is another point that Mitch would agree with. Getting the work out and letting the people decide what they like and is important to them. That’s just NOT your job.
Not Half Doing Anything
This is actually a summary point. No matter what job or project your taking on, you should give your all to it. Don’t let the attitude of those around you influence your drive.
This is especially true in offices. I know every one of you that’s worked or are working in an office has seen what poor attitude can mean for a project. Basically, it can cause it to fail before it starts.
If I learned one thing from John during the interview and reading of his Wikipedia page it’s that he put all his effort into every job and project he could. I don’t believe it mattered whether it turned out to be fun or not. He gave the same level regardless.
I believe that’s the ONLY way to make sure you move forward with your dreams and goals. Never decide before starting how something is going to go. Be open to each experience and give your soul to it.
The John Krasinski success story continues. He has taken that same can do attitude into bigger and bigger projects. He says in the interview that one time his wife had to convince him to direct. Why? Because she totally saw how he lit up when he talked about the project. This goes right back the support item I mentioned earlier.
Continuing to move forward and take action while surrounding yourself with people that support you is huge. Giving your all no matter what the project is while remaining flexible on your goals is another big piece of the success puzzle.
Finally, being honest enough with yourself to set deadlines you’re willing to stick to is the final piece. Allowing yourself to admit failure and learn from it falls right under the “being honest with yourself” heading.
John definitely had and still has all of these pieces assembled. I love it when a great approach creates massive success. He embodies the spirit that Building a Bigger Life is all about.
Where Are You Struggling The Most?
I’m curious which one of these pieces of the success puzzle you struggle with the most. Leave me a comment below and let’s talk about it.
For me, it was the clear vision of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Probably the second biggest downfall of mine is not realizing until recently that you can’t be a success alone. You MUST have a team. Even if it’s just some talented people you meet with that you can exchange ideas with. Ultimately, having a complete team like Mitch does is the end goal.
I’m working on that.