THE SUPERSTAR AGENDA IS THE ARTIST’S AGENDA

Superstars are individuals who exhibit an amplified individuality. They enjoy strong resonance between their natural creative predispositions, the activities they perform on a daily basis, and the environment in which they inhabit and influence. Superstars experience sustained periods of eminence and usually have an elevated status that comes with that.

Understanding resonance in the context of social systems is difficult. The scientific breakdown of the term is an easier place to start. Resonance happens when waves become amplified in response to an external vibrating system that is at the same frequency. It is the reason a child in a swing keeps going higher and higher after being continuously pushed at a certain frequency. It is also the reason a choir sounds particularly loud even when everyone is singing in unison at the same modest volume. How can we meaningfully measure resonance between individuals, their works, and the broader environments in which they function? To do so, we need an approach to measure the “frequencies” that make up the individual, his work, and his environment.

What is a person’s “natural frequency?” The world of psychometric testing provides many clues. There are various psychometric tools in the market and it feels like a new one is popping up every day. The Myers-Briggs, OCEAN, Strengths Finder, VIA, and so on and so forth. These tools usually come with baggage that is associated with where, when, and for whom the test was taken. It’s no surprise that many have a negative reaction to the Myers-Briggs after they take the test on the first day of work and for a new boss. If taken correctly, these tests can be very insightful. But that is a huge IF and psychometric experts critique the tests’ reliability because personality results can change over time as folks try to “game” the test by being aspirational. There must be an alternative approach that is non-judgmental on its face and deeply insightful.

While conducting Superstar Agenda interviews, I have observed a strong correlation between the work that superstars do on a daily basis and their natural creative predispositions. DANCER as personal trainer, PHOTOGRAPHER as pattern-finding software engineer, SINGER as pundit on cable news and in conferences, DRUMMER as co-founder of an audio-based app, and then of course, the ACTORS who are actors, the SPOKEN POET who is a poet, and the WRITER who is a writer. Amongst superstars, there is clear resonance between the natural artist within them and the work that occupies their day-to-day lives. Therefore, identifying an intrinsic artist archetype is a useful way to understand someone’s “natural frequency.” Their natural inclination to create.

The way that natural frequency relates to everyday tasks is the next question. If someone is a SCULPTOR archetype and likes to express creativity by working alone, with her hands, and on tangible creations, then perhaps a sales job may not be a great fit. If someone is a DANCER and likes to express himself through motion and body language, then a clerical desk job is likely a poor fit. The resonance between the work that you do and your preferred way of expressing creativity is crucial to feeling fulfilled and remaining ultra-productive over a sustained period of time. What is your artistic agenda?

Finally, how do you and your work relate to the broader environment that you are a part of? The forces here are powerful and have been the subject of some study. It is the reason that companies routinely overpay for “superstar CEOs.” Boards often don’t take into account that there were likely strong resonance effects that the CEOs had with their previous organizations. The same issues arise when professional sports teams transplant “superstars” from one system to another. In both instances, the CEOs and the athletes have strong resonance between themselves and their crafts. However, the lack of organizational resonance in a new environment often results in mediocre results. Context doesn’t just matter, it dictates. Context is king.

Your Superstar Agenda lies at the cross-section of your intrinsic creative expression, your daily individual work processes, and the organizational/societal system that you belong to. When these three components are in resonance, you are pursuing your Superstar Agenda. Your Artistic Agenda.

 

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