Wednesday the world learned that James Gandolfini, while vacationing in Rome, died of a heart attack at the young age of 51. While age is relative, 51 is too young for such a great talent to end his time on earth and a sad reminder of how tomorrow is promised to no one. In hearing the stories and memories of friends and colleagues, it’s refreshing to hear that while he played such a big narcissistic character Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini seemed to have been one of those rare gems, that was humble, modest, generous, compassionate and genuine. It begs one to evaluate their own life and to think of their legacy.
Your career and legacy are not created and managed in an instant. It’s those daily interactions, those moments that you stepped up and did the right thing, especially when you thought no one was watching. Not to encourage paranoia, but especially in today’s technological landscape, the world is watching. We have cameras on street lights, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, cookies, your digital footprint at work and at home. It’s the tending of the garden. Are you consistent in your message, branding and daily interaction? Time passes so quickly, it’s so easy to get caught up in the minutia of to do lists, chores, errands and running on your personal hamster wheel that before you know it months, years, and decades pass. Are you living the life you thought you would? Is your career where you want it to be?
What can you do different today to make your world or the world at large a better place?
In learning more about James Gandolfini in the media, there are few relevant lessons in managing your career. He didn’t do interviews because he felt he wasn’t any good at them. He did sit with James Lipton on “Inside the Actor’s Studio” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/james-gandolfini-inside-the-actors-studio_n_3472025.html
–Actors, musicians and artists are the consummate job seekers. It’s level set and understood as they are looking for a role, their employment is a gig and it’s about filling in the gaps to pay the bills until they land that dream job and even then they are always looking towards their next opportunity. In today’s landscape, you can’t expect to be in the same job for 20 years. You need to manage your career and look to your best next step while bringing your A-Game to your current role.
-During an interview, do your best and drop the self doubt – In auditioning for the role of Tony Soprano he didn’t think he would get it. He thought that they would want someone more suave, more smooth!!!!! Who was more suave or smooth than James Gandolfini?
–Be kind to everyone. In hearing the feedback from colleagues, the consistent theme was that James Gandolfini was a really great guy and treated everyone kindly. Until doing this blog, I never thought about it, but being from Jersey, especially North Jersey, I can’t tell you how many bars and restaurants have autographed pictures of James Gandolfini. Some of them are from when they shot a scene for the Soprano’s at their location, but when you consider all the stories of celebrities that “don’t sign autograph’s” it’s refreshing.
–Network, network network. Whether you are in business or the arts, staying connected and networking is so important to managing your career. When you work with someone and enjoy great chemistry or success, they are a known commodity, it’s easier to say yes I want to work with you again. Brad Pitt worked on three films with James Gandolfini. While your reputation and skill set do play a part, knowing someone will be a good fit on your team, makes all the world of difference. I can’t tell you the number of hiring managers that when speaking about who they would hire, said “I just like that person.”
–Play to your strengths. Early on, he was consistently getting roles of a thug, mob guy. In watching the interview “Inside the Actor’s Studio” it seems that James Gandolfini struggled with some of the scenes in the Sopranos. He felt the fear and did it anyway.
There is countless wisdom we can take from the life of James Gandolfini. While sadly James Gandolfini’s legacy is included in the obituaries this week, it reveals he packed a lot of life in his short years. I send prayers and condolences to his family and friends. It was cute, in his Actor’s Studio interview when asked what he would want God to say to him when he got to heaven, James Gandolfini replied: “Cover for me I’ll be right back”. I hope as his journey continues beyond this earth, he feels fulfilled.
For the dear readers of this blog, my wish for you is that you are happy and healthy. If you’re stuck in your career management, looking to make a change, need help in strategizing your best next step, reach out and let G45 Consulting help you succeed.
Work with passion…. Live inspired!
If you would like to check out the radio show from this past week:
If you would like to enroll for a Career Yenta Boot CampTM session or sponsor a friend or loved one or previous employees as outplacement:
Give us a call- join us at boot camp!
Career Yenta TM