blog, Pat Aitcheson writes

Staying at the top of her game

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 18.03.57
Beyoncé in Dublin, July 2016

Yes, I missed my scheduled post, and this is late. Sorry, reader(s). But I do have a great excuse.

Last week, I talked about a big project deadline that fell on me and my team. I finished the presentation and we got through the day, and as it happens I had booked to go see Beyoncé this last weekend. Could not have come at a better time.

I was a casual fan, and I know lots of her music because who doesn’t? And I had decided that I would go see her while she was in Europe, because I heard she gives a great show, and who knows what might happen tomorrow. (Also I don’t want more stuff; I want experiences.)

Beyoncé was everything I had heard, and more. I loved every second.

She lives a gilded life that only intersects with mine in terms of being on the same planet, at the same time. She flew in from London, where she saw Serena Williams win her 7th Wimbledon singles title, a few hours before the glitziest show I’ve ever seen. There was fire. There was water. There were lights and dancers and fireworks and an amazing talent on view. But here’s the thing; she works harder than she has to.

She’s already a global phenomenon.

She could have rested on her laurels, milked the fans’ adoration, played her (many) wonderful old hits and forced a smile. But she didn’t do that. Instead, she raised her game. More dancing, more costume changes, more new material, more value. More.

Beyoncé sent 75,000 people home happy, smiling, warmed by a smile that looked genuine, dazzled by a gorgeous spectacle that was underpinned by hard, hard work.

So I guess she lives by a work ethic. An ethic that says create a wonder, send it out into the world, then create another. An ethic that says reach higher, push further. An ethic that slaves over the tiniest detail, one that 99.9% of the consumers might miss, but delights that 0.1% who take notice. An ethic that says “my audience turned out for me, and I am sure as hell turning up for them”. An ethic that is open and unerringly honest when it needs to be, because we are all human and seeing that everyone weeps makes us feel less alone. An ethic that honours the old while seeking the new, and binds them lovingly together.

It struck me that this is a great creative philosophy, whether in art or business or life. It cannot be solely about metrics and traffic and followers and numbers. Quality really does matter, if the work is to retain any meaning, any heart at all. And I surmise that for those who have attained great success at the expense of their truth, the darkness beckons; a deep pit padded with money, where no light can enter or escape.

If it were all about money, wouldn’t every rich/successful person be deliriously happy?

Not just entertainment, this show was inspiring. There is no getting away from hard work, and even when the work is done and it’s good, we have to keep moving.

Don’t be satisfied with just enough. Create more.

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