“I decided that I would be one of the biggest new names; and I actually had some little fancy business cards printed up to announce it, ‘Count Basie. Beware, the Count is Here.’”
— William James “Count” Basie
There are a few key elements to his quote, and this is one that we really need to break down.
Who is the subject of the quote? He is. Not the music critics, not the record labels, not the club owners.
And what did he do? He decided. That means to “rule out every other option.” He didn’t consider it, he didn’t think about it. And again, no one else decided for him. He did it for himself.
He had a goal: to be “one of the biggest new names.” I really like those two adjectives: newest and big. He decided when, and he decided on the scale of his fame.
So he did something. He memorialized that goal in print. No secrets here. And it was concrete and tangible.
Beware — be aware. Look out. Take notice.
You don’t need to wait to be invited up on the stage. That idea was outdated in the first century.
You don’t need to be introduced — you can introduce yourself.
You don’t need acknowledgement from the powers to be, you don’t need certification, and you certainly don’t need permission.
Nail down your positioning, your stories, and get out there.
My German Shepherd Dog, Bella, has an annoying habit when we go to the dog park: We pull up to a parking space and she starts barking as loudly as she can. I think she wants to announce her presence to the other dogs.
It’s a smart move, and we should employ the same tactic.
Are you announcing your presence? Every Authority does.
From Leonardo da Vinci’s letter to the Duke of Milan to Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech, every Authority shows up to announce their presence with power and authority.
Make way, amateurs; the master has arrived.