“Meryl. Mamma Mia. We were in Greece. We danced. I was gay, and we were happy.”
— Colin Firth presenting Meryl Streep for Best Actress
When Colin Firth introduced Meryl while announcing the nominees for the best actress in a leading role, the entire world looked at her with respect and awe. She has been nominated in the oscars for 17 times, the most for any actress. She is only the fifth performer to receive three Oscars. Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan all earned three, while Katharine Hepburn won four. I am not trying to be an oscar-awards-tracking-junkie here, if you are beginning to get this thought. But there is a lesson for all of us to learn from her win last night.
We all love watching oscars and getting inspired by the movies. They have been an essential component of our culture, entertainment, and a source of inspiration – at least for the first 2 days after watching a great movie. If you’ve watched Inception, you will exactly know what I mean.
So, what can business analysts or for that matter any professionals learn from her nomination and win?
Streep’s win was a great example of an actress who continues to be an A+ in her game and never fails to get noticed. She is an epitome of grace and charming performance. She brings out the best in the characters she plays. We can learn three timeless lessons from this:
- Consistent Good Performance is Noticed – No matter which project you work on, give it your best. Being consistent with your quality of work will get you noticed one day or another. This is a very important thing to remember when you want to advance your career, both as an employee and a consultant. As an employee it helps you to work in some credibility and predictability in the way you are perceived by the management. For a consultant, well, who doesn’t like a contract extension?
- You Don’t Win All the Time – Your work will not get you a super-star award for every project or initiative that you are involved in. This is an important thing to remember. Regard each project as a step. And multiple steps make a staircase into the next level. If your project is a multi-year project, scale down your scope of vision to a release or even a change request. Don’t expect to win (an award or a big appreciation) all the time.
This context can also be applied to your projects going well or not. There will never be a time when 100% of things are accounted for (although that should be a goal). Be realistic, do your best and continue to do better.
- Never Rest On Your Laurels – Once you get lauded for your performance, don’t stop. If Streep had stopped giving her best, after winning her first oscar, she wouldn’t have been nominated many more times after that. She is also known for being a perfectionist when preparing for roles and for her ability to master almost any accent. Granted she is really talented; but she is also persistent and looks at every role like a new challenge and pursuit. This is what makes her stand out and got her 17 nominations and three wins.
“When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Aww come on! why her?’ ”
— Meryl Streep after winning Best Actress
Because she deserved it America! and she continues to inspire hollywood and all her fans throughout the world. Including me.
In summary, let us be inspired by her performance and win. Try to emulate her in our professional endeavors by being consistent in what we do as business analysts, while trying not to be complacent with our success.
Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on her win and also on what we could learn from this. If you have anything to add, please use the space below.