Archive for July, 2013

Is Luck Truly Pure?

Posted in Got Me Thinkin', Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on July 15, 2013 by RobALott


“‘Well, I was just lucky.’ When you say that, you disrespect all the people that made you who you are.” -Tim Sanders

There is a lot of talk in our community about luck being the cause of success. And even more talk about being in the right place at the right time for success to take hold.

Some of that comes from the voices of the successful as a misguided way to maintain humility.

Some of it comes from the jealous voices of those who do not yet see themselves as successful, and are looking for answers to the perceived overnight success.

Either way, 100% of the time, work, not luck, was the cause that had the effect of success.

Good luck in gambling can result in winning. But winning is different than success.

Being in the right place at the right time might make you the millionth customer, but no one will count that as your success.

Don’t lean on the crutch of luck. Not as a cause. Not as an effect. You will do yourself a disservice and insult everyone who has worked with you along the way.

The work. The daily chipping away at your craft. Nothing more and nothing less. That’s what will ultimately lead to your success.

A Classic Lack of Moral Authority

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on July 8, 2013 by RobALott

It was my first time out directing. And it was for an organization that, in a sense, I had grown up in. I began as a performer and through a series of outbursts at creative meetings, they agreed* to take a chance and allow me to direct a show.

As we approached the final performance, I took my place in front of the cast to give a final speech about the importance of doing the show we had rehearsed and perfected. To not allow inside jokes on to the stage. To maintain professionalism.

Everyone listened and nodded appropriately. I finished with a somewhat well presented attempt to rally and motivate the cast for their final performance, which brought on a fair amount of applause.

Applause from all but one.

One guy, a friend,  just sat smiling at me with his hands in his lap.

As I walked past him on my way off the stage to look busy with director-ey things, I heard him say something followed by “…right, Rob?”

I stopped to clarify what he had asked.

With a smile and a wink he repeated himself with a quote of something I had ad libbed on stage at the final show a year prior.

He got me.



A mentor of mine refers to this situation as a classic lack of moral authority.

I had not invested enough time walking the walk and talking the talk in order to ask others to do the same.

Will Rogers had a classic line, “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”

I learned this lesson the hard way right then and there.

But with the lesson learned came immediate action and resolution to start building a reputation along with the moral authority to expect much of those that I work with.

I have certainly not been perfect, but I have been relentlessly intentional.

You are the leader with your art. And you rely on others to see your vision through. The best way for you to communicate and keep your vision clear is to model it relentlessly.

What are your core values as an artist? Would you expect those same values from those that work with you? Is your bank of moral authority full enough to demand follow through of your values from others, or are you a bit overdrawn?

It’s ok.

The good news is, it’s never too late to begin establishing moral authority over your values.



*An agreement that would lead to almost a decade of creative and fulfilling collaboration, for which I could not be more thankful.

Sleep Later

Posted in A Note to Directors, Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on July 1, 2013 by RobALott

“There will be time to be tired later.  Right now, we have work to do.”   This is the philosophy I heard over lunch from a very accomplished artist and leader.  “There will always be time to sleep later.”

Understand he was not condoning a lack of sleep, nor was he proposing a life of not taking care of yourself.  After more than fifty decades of contributing his art to the world, this man has more energy to get things done than most twenty year olds I know.  What he was referring to was using your sleepiness as a crutch in your leadership.

No one is energized by a sleepy leader.  Everyone is tired.  Therefore no one is impressed with a tired leader who uses their sleepiness as an excuse for not getting things done, for snapping at others, or for not paying attention.

John Maxwell says, “The best thing you can bring to your team is your energy.”

So, you are tired.

Drink some coffee.  Get up and take a walk.  Go for a run!  Take a short nap.  Eat an apple.  Do something.  Because no one really cares that you are tired.

You are the leader.  There will be time to rest later.  For now,  right now, you have work to do!



Thanks to Derric Johnson for the inspiration for this post.                                           “Have a great day!  It’s a great day to have!”