In the Sunday paper there was a recap of the highlights of Robert Redford’s career in honor of his new movie. The author listed 15 or so of his favorite Redford movies, some of which would make it onto my favorites list and some of my favorites were missing from the newspaper’s list. My top five favorites are: Electric Horseman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Spy Game, Jeremiah Johnson and The Natural. It’s hard to pick just five!
Looking back over this this list, there seems to be a common theme. Redford has played a wide variety of interesting parts, but looking at my favorites I was struck at the similarities – the essence of the men he portrayed. They all struck me as humble yet confident men of integrity.
In fact if I were directing a movie and looking to cast a leading man who personified a humble, confident man of integrity, Robert Redford would be my first choice, and I frankly wouldn’t settle for anyone else.
So here’s something fun the play with. Pretend you’re up for a Lifetime Achievement Award. (Congratulations, by the way!) Look back over the course of your career and create your own highlight list. What’s on it? What are those projects, accomplishments, ideas, lessons learned the hard way, and jobs that stand out in your mind as your proudest moments? What are the moments that would be recapped on the screen in front of an auditorium full of over-dressed people?
List them all out – as many as you can think of – and then pick your top five. It’s not easy! When I did this exercise I had stronger feelings about the more recent experiences. But I really made myself think through some of projects and accomplishments from earlier in my career and found a couple of gems. Challenge yourself to not settle for the easy answer of the more recent events.
Once you’ve got your highlight list, what similarities do you see? Do you see any patterns regarding your character, in the type of work, or the type of accomplishment you achieved or ideas you had? If you were to be cast in a movie role (or hired to do a job or take on a new big assignment), what’s the profile of the role that you’d be a perfect fit for?
Would you be a humble, yet confident person of integrity, or would you be a ‘get it done’ person who builds consensus and overcomes obstacles, or the go-to person who comes up with creative solutions to complex problems?
Pick out three qualities of your character and/or your work and turn them into a mantra, and repeat that mantra when you feel challenged or need a boost. More importantly, find ways in your current job to create similar opportunities to add another item to your highlight reel.