I only have a small role in this project, but I want them to remember me



The Context

Piven, the award winning actor and standup who has performed in over fifty movies, gives the following advice to young actors. When you get tiny rolls, pretend they’re the lead. Give them all the love and attention and dimension and integrity and everything you got. If you only have one line, write out some monologues for the character. Have it in your back pocket and be ready to improvise. And there may be awkward moments during the shoot where you just keep talking, but then the directors will watch the dailies and think, wow, we could use that kind of thing in this film. He says directors would call him all the time and say hey, would you mind being in a couple more scenes? Suddenly, he had a nice little roll in the movie. That was his entire career.

The Tool

two color


SCRAPPING -- Creating an intentional point of overdelivery

This strategy can apply to any profession. It's not about acting, it's about generosity. Doing work in a way that creates an imbalance of effort and care, where the people around you have no choice but to remedy that disparity with some kind of reward. Could be money, could be attention, could be the opportunity to do more work. Doesn't really matter to you. Because your gift is not conditional. The giving process is the whole point, and you are its greatest recipient. Anything else is a bonus. Hyde explains this exchange in his book on the gift economy, telling us that giving the first creation away makes the second one possible. Bestowal creates that energy place into which new energy may flow. What is given away feeds us again and again, while what is kept feeds only once and leaves us hungry. And so, the goal here is to create an intentional point of over delivery. Some kind of holy shit moment where your customer or coworker or audience member thinks to themselves, wow, that's way more than we ask for, but dammit if this guy isn't amazing.

Reminds me of a job interview for a brand manager position at a tech startup. My assignment was to brainstorm a few marketing ideas to help the company grow their email list. According the hiring manager, it would take me no more than two hours to complete. Three days later, I handed in a fully designed, fifty page, comprehensive market cultivation strategy. The project was fascinating, educational, enjoyable and quite challenging to execute, but when you're unemployed and frustrated, that’s an experience that you'll do just about anything to have. And so, no matter what their response was, my fulfillment box was already checked. The next week, during my onsite visit, the hiring manager said that my submission was the most enjoyable submission she had ever read. Which was a nice bonus, however, they didn't give me the job. Which made me sad for a few days, as it would have been an amazing place to work. Then again, the joy and satisfaction from taking that little assignment and making a meal out of it, nobody can take away from me.

The Rest

As any career coach will tell you, it’s not about getting the job, it’s about doing work that makes you proud and keeps moving the story forward. How could you create an intentional moment of over delivery?

The Benefits

Make rejection less of a disappointment
Attract new opportunities for you to do what you do best
Feel proud about moving your story forward regardless of outcome
Give people no choice but to remedy the disparity of your generosity with some kind of reward

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