Yesterday evening, I watched JLO’s movie “Halftime” on Netflix, and it made me think about a few things:
1. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, and how many tops you’ve reached - there’s always something bigger, better, higher, to look at, to achieve and to try to climb. It’s an endless journey.
2. It doesn’t matter how famous, well-known, talented and successful you already are - this feeling of - ‘I need to prove myself and I need to show them what I have’, is something that always stays with you and follows you.
This ambivalent feeling that on one hand you’re sure of yourself, and on the other hand with some people you still need to justify it. With time, you learn that actually, you don’t need to do it - those who love you will appreciate and accept you, and those who don’t, will not, and you need to know how to let it go.
It also reminded me of the perception that we have as women, that we just have to have it all together - the career, the performance, the children, even the divorce, the business, the money - everything that is going on, and in JLO’s case even the country, the message she has to bring to the nation, and how difficult it is, how complex. She says at one point that she needs to be so strong in order to hold it all together.
And I thought about it - of how strong and tough we all need to be, of how strong we really want to be all the time, or maybe if sometimes it’s a kind of trap that we’re already in - this persona that we need to hold and maintain.
It’s also something for us to think of as women - how far, how strong, how high this internal sense of leadership in our personal life and professional life and as part of society, need to be, and also the trade offs and the prices that we need to pay in order to hold this persona.
3. I love the sentence that she said when celebrating her 50th birthday and singing in the inauguration of the president of the US and in the NFL league Super Bowl: “It’s only now when I reached 50, I feel that I understand myself, and I see my complete self - I couldn’t do it 10 or 15 years ago, because I had to go through a way, I had to evolve in order to reach where I’m at today.” It’s so beautiful to see how she cherishes her journey.
4. In every step of the way, she always remembered her roots and where she came from, the fact that she’s Latina. She wanted to convey a message every time she went on stage, like performing at the Super Bowl. She kept asking herself - what is the higher statement that I’m going to convey during my show? - The fact every woman can do amazing things, the fact that I’m Latina and I made it, the fact that I’m an American but I still don’t forget my roots, and how important it is for us to climb the ladder, to be successful, to feel we belong but always remember where we came from.
5. She got this prize, this achievement to perform at the Super Bowl, and then she was told she had to share the stage with Shakira, another famous and successful Latina performer. Seeing their conversation when she called Shakira, the collegiality, the matured way she addressed her, because, yes - it is a competition, but it’s also an opportunity.
She knew that there’s a greater thing here, a greater message, a greater performance -
to show that we’re not just soloists - we’re a community, we take care of each other and have each other’s back. We can share and we can both be successful. It’s amazing to see how a star in her level can see it.
6. As a dancer, I took a very close look at how she looked before she got on stage at the Super Bowl. It was so amazing to see the gap between how she and all the actors, the dancers and staff felt inside, the stress they were in because they’re going on stage, and yet on the outside they’re still smiling because there’s a show to bring.
To hold this kind of show, JLO had to be in control on so many levels -
she needed to take care of her clothes and heels so that she won’t fall and could walk right on stage and in the right energy, to make sure that she’ll walk in the right direction and stand in the center, have control of the lightning, the performance, the singing, of her body, of the relationship with the other dancers on stage, the relationship with the space around her on stage, and all of that is without even mentioning the shape that she needed to be in, in order to perform in such a high pace for 14 minutes while smiling with all the makeup, hair and costumes -
It’s really difficult.
There’s such a huge gap here, because to the audience it seems like a magic trick, something that goes so effortlessly and fluently, where they all know exactly what to do. They can’t grasp the dozens of minds and hours that were dedicated in order for them to see this result.
All the performers and everyone behind the stage know - this gap is something they need to possess, to hold, to fill, to make sure that the audience could experience the best possible show ever.
It made me think about the gap that we as founders and startups need to fill, this performance that we have to do, and how it’s being perceived on the other side - the investors, the costumers, etc.
I just want to put it here and say that it really is a difficult job to do, in order to make your product as authentic and perfect as possible at all levels - the performance, the knowledge, the holding of the stage. And the next time you’ll watch a dance show, a basketball game, a concert, an Opera, a startup pitch to investors or even when you’re in charge of making a deal or declining it in the name of your organization -
just take a couple of minutes to value the other side that made an effort; maybe sometimes in the middle of the night, maybe all the energy they put on the presentation - all the efforts that were involved in this.
I think it can only be a bit more compassionate of us all to appreciate the hard work that the other side did in order to achieve the results you see today, and also to ourselves - to really understand and embrace the hard work that we - each and every one of us, did and still doing in order to get to where we are.
And also - watch Netflix, it makes you think and process.