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Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings;
they will not serve before officials of low rank.”

-Proverbs 22:29

Last week I read Steve Harvey’s third book, Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success. I will readily admit I have never been a big Steve Harvey fan. I know about him, but I have never followed his work. I didn’t really have a strong opinion about him, but the book had a 4.7 of 5 star rating with 1,400 reviews on Amazon, so I was intrigued. In fact, I found that all of his books have ridiculously high ratings, so I thought I would see what he had to say about success.

I figured that he might have something to say since he has a net worth somewhere between $100 million[1] and $120 million[2]. That is not bad considering that he was born in a small town in West Virginia and grew up in Cleveland Ohio. When he began his comedic career, he quit his job and lost everything. He was broke and homeless, but he rose above it, relentlessly pursuing his dreams.
I correctly assumed that the book would consist of a number of short vignettes where he would tell a story about what happened to him and relate it to a principle of success. That was largely accurate. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience, and I want to highlight one particular passage that was compelling. He wrote:

One thing that has helped me throughout my entire career is my total willingness to reinvent myself. When I was the host of Celebration of Gospel for thirteen years, that was a complete 180-degree turn from being one of the Original Kings of Comedy. I used my past experience of growing up in church to hold Celebration of Gospel, which then propelled me into a broader space of people.
My willingness to reinvent myself yet again from being a solo act to being part of a touring act with a group of men opened the door for the film, The Original Kings of Comedy, which then propelled me onto a national level as never before. Next, at the request of HarperCollins, I had an offer to write my first book. I had never set out to become an author, but I released myself from that fear, and the resulting book went on to become a great success. The popularity of Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man led to Freemantle Media coming to me and saying, “You are very popular among women. We have a game show we would like you to look at.” Thus came the birth of me hosting Family Feud.
I always wanted to do a late-night talk show, but after my success with Family Feud, NBC and Endemol approached me, “We have a daytime project for you.” I lost my fear of daytime television and launched into doing my own show. My constant willingness to reinvent myself has helped me not to get stuck on stale, meaning desiring one thing my entire life.
Change comes in every person’s life. You can either react to it or you can participate in it. I choose to participate in it. I choose to participate in all the changes in my life.[3]

Harvey’s refection is compelling for four reasons. First, it prompts us to think about change and our relationship to change. Are we reactive or are we active participants in the change process?
Second, it helps us expand our thinking. What do you want to be doing five, ten, or twenty years from now? Do you want to do what you are doing (but a little more of it), or do you want to meet your potential and spread your wings?
Third, if you read this passage carefully, you will find that each platform unlocked the doors to new opportunities.  His life trajectory was not linear; it was like a video game where secret levels are unlocked as he successfully completed new challenges.
Finally, you will notice that the higher he rose, the more others came to him with new opportunities.  He did not seek them out. They came to him because he had become more valuable.
How about you? Are you willing to change? Do you aspire to be more than a slightly better version of your current self? Are you opening up the hidden levels because you seize new opportunities? Are you becoming more valuable because of your experience? Are others seeking you out, bringing you new opportunities?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions, ask yourself, “why not?” You might be surprised by what you hear in response.
 
End Notes
[1] Steve Harvey Net Worth (n. d.). The Richest. Retrieved from http://www.therichest.com/celebnetworth/celeb/comedian/steve-harvey-net-worth/
[2] Steve Harvey Net Worth (n.d.). Celebrity Net Worth. Retrieved from http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/richest-comedians/steve-harvey-net-worth/
[3] Harvey, S., & Johnson, J. (2015). Act like a success, think like a success: Discovering your gift and the way to life’s riches. New York: Amistad. (pp. 173-174).