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The CEO’s Journal- Entry 21: Fame

I used to want to be famous.

When you’re young it seems like being famous is amazing. On the outside it seems like celebrities are loved by all, have lots of money, are always happy, and are somehow better than those who aren’t. I formed this perception growing up because I wanted to become an NBA star. I was insanely passionate about basketball and so I looked up to the best. Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, Derrick Rose. These guys were all amazing at what they did and were famous for it. This constant association of being the best at something with being famous eventually imprinted on my mind that fame was a sign that you were successful. Although this might be true for sports, it is often not true in other aspects in life.

Take a moment and think about it. Do you genuinely believe that Dr Oz is the absolute best doctor in the world? Is Dr Phil the greatest psychologist? They may be the most famous at what they do but I would bet that they aren’t the best at it. On the flip side, you would probably say that Nike makes the best athletic footwear and Lululemon makes the best leggings, right? But do you know who founded those brands? Do you know who their CEO’s are? Chances are that you don’t. Isn’t that interesting?

Last summer, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with a successful local entrepreneur, Mark Baker. He first introduced the idea to me of distancing myself from the brand. I heard what he had to say but still, I wasn’t initially convinced. I was never famous (even though my friend Samantha pretends I am), but at the time I did enjoy the fact that people knew me as the owner of Elevate. It’s nice to be recognized. But as time went on, I found myself thinking more and more about what Mark said to me about being the face of your business. I began to really question if personal fame mattered and if it was even a good thing. So let me ask you:

What’s so good about being famous?

Seriously. What’s good about being a celebrity? Money? You don’t need to be famous to get it. Attention? I’m willing to bet you’d get tired of it really quickly. No one really wants to be smothered by strangers all the time.

If anything, fame brings more problems than solutions. I mentioned being smothered by strangers all the time but there’s also people asking you for money and favours, constant criticism of your every move, your private business constantly being made public, people pretending to like you when really they just like that you’re popular, needing security. The list goes on and on. Do you really want to be famous? What about when you have a family? Raising and protecting them becomes much more difficult under those conditions. What’s so good about being famous?

Since realizing this, I started cutting down on how often I associate Elevate with myself. My personal Instagram (@DedicatedAustin) is an indication of that and you’ll see that fewer of my posts have been about Elevate. You also won’t be seeing me modeling apparel much on the Elevate Instagram page (@Elevate_Canada) anymore. I’ve been making a conscious effort to put other people in the spotlight. I much rather share it than to have all of the attention focused on myself. And the funny thing is that since doing this, Elevate has been doing much better as a whole. I guess Mark (local entrepreneur), Phil Knight (the founder of Nike) and Chip Wilson (the founder of Lululemon) knew what they were doing after all. You don’t need attention to be great. If what really matters to you is excelling at what you’re passionate about, focus your energy there and not on getting recognition. In my experience, the satisfaction that comes from doing well at what you love is just as great whether everyone knows about it or not. You don’t need to be famous. In fact, it’s probably better that you aren’t.

Austin Chambers

Founder & CEO