What It Really Takes for You to Be in the Hall of Fame

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This is going to sound like bragging (because, let’s be honest—it is), but I was recently inducted into the Professional Speaker Hall of Fame. It’s kind of a big deal in my industry, because there are fewer than 185 of us alive on the planet. If we were a species, we’d be endangered.

Here’s the interesting thing that I’ve found about reaching an “elite” level in your profession:

At the higher levels, you actually have to be better, and work harder.

At the higher levels, you have to be better and work harder. #halloffamespeaker #producingresults #leadership Share on X

It’s easy to think that once you reach Hall of Fame status (or whatever the equivalent is in your industry), you can throttle back a little and coast on that victory. After all, you’ve now “arrived.” You’ve got the accolades, the certificate, the trophy.

But it turns out you’ve got more than the trophy. You’ve also got expectations and responsibility.

The expectations come from your clients and your colleagues. The responsibility is to your clients and your colleagues.

When you’re among the best at what you do (and I know you know this, because you’re up there too), your clients expect more of you. They may not be thinking this consciously, but deep down inside, they’re expecting you to prove yourself, each and every time. They’re trusting you to live up to your reputation. Yesterday’s honor means nothing if you can’t deliver today!

Yesterday’s honor means nothing if you can’t deliver today. #halloffamespeaker #producingresults #leadership Share on X

And your colleagues have expectations as well. They expect you to be a role model. They expect you to exemplify the best of the best in your business. After all, you’re in the Hall of Fame. You’re the #1 producer. You’ve made the list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Whatever your particular accolade, your colleagues want to know that there’s a reason you got there.

The responsibility, of course, is simply the flip side of the expectations. Just as your clients and colleagues expect you to exemplify the best, you have a responsibility to exemplify the best. Whatever title you’ve earned, it comes with an implied promise. A promise that you can be counted on to bring your A-game, every time.

A colleague of mine who is a fellow Hall of Fame speaker once said to me, “My goal is to re-earn my place in the Hall of Fame every time I speak.” That’s a great goal, and one that I’ve taken on for myself.

It’s a great goal for you as well, don’t you think? If you’ve already achieved your industry’s version of the Hall of Fame, make it your goal to re-earn that designation with every client and with every interaction. Because they don’t care about yesterday’s accolades.

By the same token, if you’ve not yet reached the elite level, make it your goal to perform at that elite level until the powers-that-be take notice. Remember Steve Martin’s rule for success: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

After all, wouldn’t you rather have them thinking, “Why isn’t this person in the Hall of Fame?” than “Why is this person in the Hall of Fame?”


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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