During my fifteen years as a Forrest Gump impersonator, I literally had a million-plus mini-conversations with individuals and small groups. One of the things people said over and over was: “I wish I looked like someone famous.”
They then went on to say something like:
- “I’ll bet this is fun.”
- “You look like you’re having a good time.”
- “You’re lucky.”
The people were right. It was fun. I had a great time. And I was (and am) lucky.
But the looking like someone famous is a double-edged sword. Here’s why.
- People think they know you. Instant connection.
- People are nicer to you. Graciousness.
- People willingly tell you their story. Openness.
- It can be a mob scene. It takes stamina.
- Loss of privacy. There’s less anonymity.
- It’s not about you. Potential loss of self-identity.
The good news for me is I figured most of this out rather quickly. And Bubba Gump was fantastic and gave me lots of freedom to make it work on my own terms. Being thirty-eight years old when it started in 1996, I was grateful for previous life experiences and a mature self-identity. I may not have handled it well if given the same opportunity in my twenties.
It wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t love meeting people.
It wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t love listening to people’s stories.
It wouldn’t have worked if didn’t prepare properly – over and over, week in and week out.
In short, it was a job. It was hard work.
The good news is it was fun. I had a great time. And I was lucky.
The only really bad news is it’s now over.
But even that is a good thing. Why? Because any new chapter can’t begin until the previous chapter has been finished.
It’s easy to wish for something that you don’t have.
It’s easy to look at others and think, “They got all the breaks”.
It’s easy to see the grass as greener while looking over the fence.
It’s hard work to play with the cards you’re dealt … even if you are lucky. And even if you look like someone famous.
Are you happy with the way you look?
Do you wish you looked like someone famous?
Are you willing to be happy being the person that you already are?
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Next Blog Date: August 13, 2012
Steve Weber is a speaker, Forrest Gump tribute artist, facilitator, blogger, and author. The three principles of Gumption are specifically designed to get you (and your team) to Function with Gumption. Steve uses the simple, yet powerful, life lessons from the movie Forrest Gump to bring positivity back into the workplace. Learn more at SpeakingGump.com.