Weekender: Fred Savage on Avoiding Preciousness

fred savageWelcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a grinder of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why a grinder? Because it’s the weekend!

I am still mourning the recent news that one of my favorite new shows of this past television season has not been renewed for next year. Dismissed way before its time, The Grinder pulled Fred Savage back in front of the camera where he belongs.

Before learning of its demise, Savage gave an interview where he prepared me for these difficult circumstances. He also reminded me of the ways I should approach these situations in the future.

I want [The Grinder] to succeed but its nice to know that there’s other work—I do a lot of directing, I do commercial directing, I do a bunch of other voice work—so the lights are going to stay on at the Savage house…we’re going to be fine. But I want this to be successful and I think its nice not to have to be so precious. I feel like sometimes, and I say this to actors sometimes, when they Lenny [from Of Mice and Men] something, like they love something to death. Hold it so precious and then they crush it and kill it. And I feel like that can happen so many times… We all came to [The Grinder] because we believed in it and wanted to be part of something that made us excited. There’s both a lack of preciousness but also we’ve all come into it with the best of intentions.

When I reflect on my past failures, I find that many were the result of desperation. That feeling of “needing it” mixed with taking it too personally clouded my judgment, warped my perspective, and negatively affected my behavior. As Savage discussed, I treated those opportunities like Lenny’s mouse where I wanted it so bad that I ruined them.

Perspective is an important leadership factor. As impassioned as you may feel for a particular project or initiative, maintaining a healthy distance has a better chance of ensuring your success. You can (and should) continue to care, but your intentions will remain more objective, thus allowing you to retain a holistic outlook without losing yourself in the emotional complexities. Believe in your efforts and fight for them, but don’t do it out of desperation, do it because it is the right thing to do. Grinder rests.

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