Recently my husband was away for the weekend, and I was free to watch whatever caught my eye on Netflix. I stumbled upon a documentary about Queen touring with Adam Lambert as lead singer. I loved the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody. I have never seen Queen perform live and was excited to see concert footage of the band.
As I watched, a contrast struck me. Bohemian Rhapsody focused on Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant and visionary front-man. The documentary, however, picks up the story after Freddie's death. The remaining band members tell the story of various attempts to answer their fan's desires for concerts without an artist with Freddie's vocal breadth. In both, however, Brian May is portrayed as the influential collaborator and steadying voice that quietly propels Queen's success across the years.
Brian May is a talented musician in his own right. Select any of Queen's many hits, and you will witness his incredible gift as the band's lead guitarist. His guitar solos are poignant moments. He could have pursued other opportunities with other artists, and yet he chose Queen over and over. In the documentary, he describes the uniqueness of the band's synergy and recognizes that he can't assume that he can replicate that anywhere he wants. It is his commitment to honor and cultivate their synergy that has kept the music of Queen alive for so many decades.
As I reflected on my business a few days later, I realized that I prefer the Brian May role to the Freddie Mercury role. I have talent and expertise that I love to share with others. Just like Brian, I can enjoy a moment on stage in the spotlight where I get to shine, but I don't want to stay there. Instead, I like to be that consistent support whose impact is experienced as strongly behind the scenes as on the stage. I don't seek public praise and admiration, although I am firmly committed to the person's or team's success in every collaboration.
When I look around my industry, I see prominent personalities with international name recognition. They write books and run public seminars that sell out around the world. In the past, this has caused me to question whether I needed bigger aspirations. After seeing Brian May in the documentary, however, I realize that I am right where I want to be.
Not all of us want fame and fortune. We don't seek the tough trade-offs that come with celebrity. Not wanting these things does not diminish our talent or genius. Wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and watching it nurture and grow has immense value. And, it is essential to acknowledge that value in ourselves and others.
I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on the role you are choosing to play. Here are a few questions to contemplate.
ONE. Are you authentic to who you want to be? Have social media and advertisements to help you build a six-figure business created an internal crisis in which you question your definition of success?
TWO. Do you want to be a lead singer or are you happy being a valuable member of the band?
THREE. If you manage people, do you value those who want to be lead singers over those who don't? What would happen if you exclusively hired people who wanted to be lead singers?
FOUR. Do you know who the Brian May people are in your life? And, have you taken a moment to appreciate the value they bring to you and your business?
As with bands, in business, those with lead singer personalities are the most visible. However, their success is interdependent. Recognizing the quiet contributors and working on the group's cohesion is required to maintain peak collaboration and results. As the music of Queen shows, when synergy is present, magic happens that can transcend the decades.