Jimmy Durante

Making the Most of What You’ve Been Given

If you have chosen the life of an entrepreneur, you have already shown the propensity to go it on your own, throw caution to the wind and play an active role in determining what you will achieve in your life. My sincere compliments, as that in and of itself is a significant accomplishment.

My advice is don’t stop here. Always be vigilant in terms of monitoring your activity and sharing your true unique and often innate abilities with the world. Many people try to sharpen and hone their stronger traits and talents in their pursuit of success, but the really great people in this world learn to use all of their being and tap into all of their qualities.

Let me ask a question of you. What do Jimmy Durante, Phyllis Diller and Fran Drescher all have in common? On the surface, these three people seem to have a lot in common as they were all in show business. Jimmy Durante was a singer, pianist, comedian and actor. Phyllis Diller was an American actress and stand-up comedian. Fran Drescher is an actress, comedian, writer and activist. They were each talented in their own individual way and all were certainly a success by any of the common measurements used.

The real lesson to be learned here is that they share a much deeper quality and trait that had more to do with their lifelong success than did any other single component. That trait is all three of these personalities used what the world would almost unanimously agree was their worst traits and biggest flaws — and they turned them into gold. That is the most common trait of people who achieve super stardom in whatever field they are in.

Jimmy Durante had a very gravelly and raspy voice, one that was actually a bit hard to listen to. One look at any picture of him and it is hard to miss that his nose was more than just a bit disproportionate in size. He could have had voice lessons to smooth out the tone and cadence of his voice, and he certainly could have considered having cosmetic surgery. But he didn’t. Mr. Durante was smart enough to realize that these two features were what made him so very unique, and rather than shun these characteristics, he fully embraced them and turned them into his trademark features. People came to love him for his honesty and genuineness and rewarded him by making him an American icon of stage and screen.

Phyllis Diller was skinny, had a certain awkwardness about herself and seemingly had none of the picturesque qualities of a Hollywood actress. She did however, know how to make people laugh and she primarily did this by making fun of herself. Her world-renowned humor was almost entirely self- deprecating. She spent a lifetime on stage making fun of herself, and by doing so she turned her greatest liabilities into her greatest and most successful traits. Pure genius.

One only has to watch an episode of The Nanny for about 30 seconds to hear one of the most distinctive and, let’s say, unusual voices you will ever hear. Fran Drescher’s voice is so far from the norm that at first you think she must be exaggerating it for effect. She isn’t; that is just who she is and that is the voice she was given. Did Ms. Drescher try to hide this quality, even it out or try to somehow minimize or hide it? The answer is a resounding NO. Like Jimmy Durante and Phyllis Diller, she was smart enough to realize that no one else on the planet had that voice and she used it for all it was worth. Like Mr. Durante’s nose and raspy voice and Ms. Diller’s appearance and awkwardness, her greatest flaw became her greatest strength.

Accepting yourself for who you really are and taking an inventory of your defining characteristics — those that are truly unique — and then applying them to your personal success is an equation that will deliver far greater results than trying to conform and follow the latest trends. The world is full of people trying to be something they aren’t or trying to emulate someone else’s formula for success. While following that path and utilizing others’ blueprints for success may lead you and your company to a moderate level of success, my advice is don’t ever settle for someone else’s idea of success.

Embrace every aspect of your being, identify and exploit those traits that are truly unique to you and don’t be bashful about it. The world will reward you for your confidence, genuineness and humility. If you are interested in learning more as to self-awareness and how it can be utilized to improve your performance the following link may be worth investigating.

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Photo Credit: ABC-TV

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