What the world needs from you and your business will be drastically different going forward. Are you listening?
“If she felt like betting, she should bet on herself,” writes Patchett. “If she felt like fighting, she was the one she should fight for.”
Layer on the fact that she reads more than most of Hollywood combined, and Reese Witherspoon had the foundation for her very own films – brilliantly untapped and undiscovered novels, ripe for rewriting onto the screen.
The miraculous here, however, is not how Reese ‘Blew Up the Hollywood Boys’ Club,’ as the headline proclaims, nor her ability to “spin paper into gold.”
It is how she has since built an unshakeable empire by knowing exactly what her audience needed, full stop.
Which, as it turns out, was precisely what she too was deeply seeking, because she is them. Swap TV viewers for ‘customers’, and I believe we’re getting somewhere.
“What Witherspoon did was create a whole new playing field in Hollywood,” writes Patchett. “In making parts for herself, she found that she wanted to make parts for other women as well, women her age but also women who were older and younger, and women of colour. Because if she was having a tough time finding good roles, she could see that what they were facing was considerably harder.
“It’s the kind of thing the people in Hollywood say. The difference is that Witherspoon is actually doing it, and her projects make money. Lots of money.
She went out to find water, then called her friends so that together they could dig a well, lay a pipeline, and change the landscape.
It is the idea that if we narrow our focus to the needs of our people, our community, our customers, and relentlessly pursue the fulfilment of these needs, we are serving a much greater, much more sustainable need than our own or that of our current business and bottom line.
In a time where the hardship has never been more real, many of us have been given one small silver lining through the gift of time.
Never before has the collective entrepreneurial masses been given a chance to stop, breathe, and reset. To reimagine their business now, and going forward. And to do it from a place of filling a new and evolved need, not the status quo.
If you’re going to bet, without a doubt, bet on yourself. Double down on building exactly what it is your customers are asking for. Better yet, do it before they even ask.
Be their solution, their partner, their hallelujah.
Read the full article, you won’t regret it.
The Book of Reese, by Ann Patchett | Vanity Fair, April 2020.