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Catherine S. Jewell

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STAR Performance
by Catherine S. Jewell   

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Publisher:  Success Address Press Type: 


Copyright:  Aug 1 2003

Success Address Press
Jewell Performance Group

STAR Performance: How to star in your work and in your life provides the four keys to becoming more successful. Caution! This book is designed for high-achieving, ambitious, full-of-fire professionals who really care about making a difference in the world through their work.
If you are the type of person who is coasting, waiting for Friday and generally asleep at the wheel, this is NOT the book for you.
If you want to light up your career and move forward with velocity, buy it. It's the best $10 investment you can make in your career, and your life.

Why Become a STAR?
"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."
- Erica Jong

It was a cold, crisp fall day in Des Moines, Iowa. I was in the fourth grade and very excited to be in my first stage production. I was playing in Children’s Theatre at Drake University. The play was the Bluebird, a very long play with the full complement of fairies, witches, princes and a princess. In the three-hour marathon, children pronounced significant lines to the absolute delight of their parents--all except for my Dad. He was probably exhausted from his 60-hour a week job as an accountant. He was tired, waiting nearly three hours to hear his darling daughter speak a seven word, one-line role as an oak tree! Yes, an oak tree.
Excited and flushed from my performance, I ran happily to the car, expecting my Dad to give me a rave review. He sat in stony silence, probably lulled into a catatonic state by the play. He said simply, “You should have been the princess.” To the mind of a little girl who idolized her father, this was the worst insult ever delivered in my 10-year life. It was a devastating blow. I took his comment to mean that my performance was deficient -- that nothing short of being the STAR was good enough to please him. Looking back, I believe Daddy meant that I was good enough to play the role of Princess and I should have been the one chosen. He probably meant to say, “YOU should have been the princess.”
While you may not have had an experience like this with similar drama, my belief is that nearly every child gets the message that our parents expect us to be high-performing, high-income, highly successful adults. When a small child is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer is not “a bum,” “a druggie,” “a garbage collector.” Even three-year-olds get the idea that helping society and being great is appreciated. They happily respond that they will be teachers, doctors or nurses. It’s just so sad that our children have such a limited view of what’s possible. While they plan to be doctors, nurses, teachers, firemen, police or ballerinas, their parents spend time pounding out complex proposals on laptops and having conference calls with the office Beijing.
Deep down, I think many if not most of us want to be STARs. Or, at the least, we want to STAR in our own lives. There are some real benefits to recommend it:

STARS are admired. To be a high performer is in many cases its own reward. We can feel pride of doing a job better than the average bear. We can enjoy the admiration of peers and the approval of bosses. Our family says with pride, “she’s really doing a great job.” Or, “He’s on the fast track.”

STARs are more secure. It’s a researched FACT that the top 20% of any professional will always have a well-paying, secure job. Being a STAR performer is job security.

STARs are more highly engaged in their work. They put in more energy and get out more satisfaction. Some STARs will report, “I can’t believe I actually get paid to do this job, I love it so much.” While the average white-collar worker certainly wouldn’t put it that way, the star performers in any business tend to feel greater satisfaction in their work.

STARs have more control. They get their pick of the best projects, locations, departments, teams and assignments. The employer will often give a STAR more discretion in choosing their work.

STARs feel they are on course. While most of the population complains, “I don’t know what to do with my life,” the workplace STAR will rarely make this complaint. They may not have a plan for the future, but STARs usually feel they are in the right place NOW.

So, if it’s great to be a STAR, how hard is it, really, to be one? The answer: not very hard. Without intervention we are all ORDINARY – in most ways. We who are trying to excel should thank those ordinary workers for being so ordinary. With so many ordinary performances around us, we can become STARs by simply doing a few things better. In sports, we find that STAR performers are often just a few percentage points better than the ordinary producer. In baseball, for example, the difference between being a STAR at bat can be .250 to .270.
In business, too, we see STAR performers who are just a little better than average. The small things they do let them stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Are you interested in what those qualities are? Read on.
My observation is that today’s workers are raised to be STARs, and the workplace expects nothing short of STAR qualities. This little book lays out four simple principles to becoming a STAR performer at work. My hope is that it resonates with you and inspires you to new levels of performance.
Some people believe that as souls we have a chance to choose our lives. “From an endless sea of wistful souls who've waited out eternity, it's finally your turn, in time and space.” If you live your life as if you have a purpose, you will be more likely to make a difference. This is your time, your stage, your performance -- a once-in-eternity time to shine.
Being a STAR is probably both your destiny AND your means of living well. Do you accept the challenge of STAR performance?

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