Roll the Credits

Photo of kids celebrating
Photo copyright ©2004 David J Crone. All rights reserved

There are two types of movie goers: those who sit through the credits at the end and those who don’t.

Which one are you?

My wife and I are credit sitterthroughers. (That’s a real word. Look it up.) We are often the last ones out of the theater, sometimes soliciting glares from the cleaning staff waiting to do their jobs.

Some movies include fun things mixed into the credits, e.g. bloopers, outtakes, or teaser clips for future movies. Also, the occasional made-up title or name thrown in just for fun. Pay attention to the credits of a Monty Python movie, for instance.

While those are fun, that’s not why we stay.

I am fascinated by the long litany of roles listed at the end of major motion pictures. Hair stylists. Assistant to Mr. Clooney. Caterers. Mustache wrangler.

My wife is fascinated by the names. As a writer, she finds the credits to be a great source of names for characters to use in her own writing.

When I watch the list scroll past I am struck by many thoughts. What constitutes enough contribution to be included in the credits? Who keeps track of them all? Which of those people was the credit roll list keeper? Is that an official movie making job title? How much does it pay? What is a “best boy“?

One of my most arduous tasks in the corporate world was to create the list of all who contributed to a project so that they could be recognized upon successful completion. This came easily for some projects. Others were so complex, spanning so many departments, over so many months, that we would miss a few people. I used to joke that creating the list of all who contributed was harder than the project itself.

And yet… It is so vitally important. Not to that project. To the next one. It’s always about the next one.

The point of the credit roll at the end of a successful project is to plant the seeds of enthusiasm for participating in the next project. The anticipation of being recognized is far more powerful than the recognition itself. Conversely, the negative impact of missing someone as part of the recognition at the end of a project is far more damaging than the positive impact to those you remembered. Getting that list right is arduous, but worth it.

Starting a big project? Start your list NOW. Pay attention. Keep track. No contribution is too small.

This isn’t about “everyone gets a trophy.” It’s about giving people their moment in the spotlight, letting them know that you noticed them. Be generous in your recognition and praise.

Roll the credits.


Don’t Wait Until You’re Dead

Image of tombstone
Photo copyright ©2017 David J Crone. All rights reserved

What will be on your tombstone?

The one in the image above jumped out at me for its utter simplicity. (In case you can’t see the photo, the inscription says, “C.L. Died 22 Aug 1783”.) Perhaps C.L. didn’t leave behind enough funds to carve additional letters into the stone. Or, perhaps that’s all that needed to be said. I prefer to believe it was the latter.

What message will you leave behind when you are gone?

A friend of mine reacted to last week’s post about Admiration vs Jealousy, sharing with me that he found out that he was admired and respected by someone only after that person died. The revelation meant the world to my friend as he held this person in equally high regard. That got me thinking.

Who do you admire? Who do you respect? Have you told them?

As it turns out, I admire this particular friend of mine. So, when he shared his comments with me, I took that opportunity to let him know it. He was touched.

How does it make you feel to know that someone admires and/or respects you? If feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Why, then, do we not share our feelings of admiration more readily?

Don’t make those you appreciate wait until you’re dead to find out. Pick up the phone. Send them a card. Shoot them a quick text message. You don’t need to make a big deal about it. Simply be earnest. You can be specific, such as, “I respect you for the way that you…” Or, “I admire you for the way that you…” Perhaps you might tell them that you look up to them, that you find them to be inspiring. The important thing is to let them know.

Let me start. I appreciate YOU for reading this blog. I appreciate the comments, the encouragement and the challenges to my words. I hope that you find some value here along the way. [Note: Comments on the blog itself are disabled because it’s too much effort to ward off the auto-bots and other nefarious attempts to use my blog as a platform from which to attack others. But, email comments are always welcome as are comments left on the various social media platforms where this gets published.]

As for my tombstone, I hope that I will have said the things that needed to be said while I was alive, making any words on the stone superfluous.


Admiration or Jealousy?

Photo of kid in Superman costome
Photo copyright ©1970 John R Crone. All rights reserved.

Who are your heroes?

As a kid, my favorite superhero was Superman. I loved the original TV show starring George Reeves. I also loved the Batman series with Adam West. But, for pure hero worship, it was always Superman.

It’s good to have heroes. It’s good to have people we respect and admire, people who inspire us to be better than we are.

Who do you look up to with honor and respect? That’s admiration.

Who do you look at and think, “Why do they get to be there? I could do that. That should be me.” That’s jealousy.

It is easy for these two aspects to cross over, for one to become the other.

I think a key difference is that when we admire someone, we recognize the work they put in to achieve their place. We recognize that we are not there (yet) because we have not (yet) applied the same amount of effort.

Or, as in the case of my love of Superman, we simply admire them for who they are with the full realization we’ll never be that awesome, no matter how cool we look in a cape and boots.

When we are jealous of someone’s accomplishments, what we are really doing is seeking shortcuts and excuses. We think they got there by some stroke of luck. We think they got something we deserved.

Admiration is a good thing. It can drive us to work harder, or differently.

Jealousy is a killer. It causes us to feel hopeless. It justifies endless hours on the couch watching “reality” shows. It justifies eating that big bowl of ice cream and caramel corn in an attempt to numb our fears and self doubts. It keeps us from getting the exercise that would make us feel a whole lot better than cramming pointless calories into our mouths. It keeps us from expending that little bit more effort toward achieving our goal.

Admiration gives us energy. Jealousy sucks the energy out of us.

Jealousy is a zero sum approach to life; a sense that there is only so much to go around and we’re not getting our fair share.

Admiration embraces a life of abundance. It’s the Doritos approach: “Crunch all you want, we’ll make more.

Identify your heroes. Admire the hard work and effort they put in to get what they have earned. Use that as motivation to get what you desire.

Beware allowing that admiration to become jealousy. When the work gets hard, it’s not time to throw up our hands and declare it can’t be done. No. It’s time to double down. Do one more push up. Write one more line of code. Write one more paragraph in your book. Make one more phone call to a prospective client. You’ve come this far. Keep going.

Be worthy of admiration.