What I Learned from Garth Brooks
Okay, so the title is intentionally deceiving. I’ve never met Garth Brooks.
I’ve never been to a Garth Brooks concert. So what could I have learned from
a person I’ve never met and never seen perform their job? Here it is:
Remember to focus on the person who has the worst seat in the house.
While I’ve never met or seen Garth Brooks in concert, several years ago I
watched an interview with him about his booming career and the show he puts
on for his fans. During that interview, he said that his approach to every
concert ensures that every fan has the best possible experience they can for
the money they paid for their tickets. One thing he does to meet this goal
is to focus on the worst seat in the house. When he gets to a new city, he
makes his way to the concert venue and finds the absolute worst seat in the
house, plops down in that seat and then devises a plan to make sure that fan
walks away from the concert feeling like the entire show was directed at
them. There are several lessons to be taken from this example.
1) Don’t dole out your attention, affection or anything else based on the
things others have given you. The fan Garth focuses on paid the least money
of any fan at that concert. In fact, some fans may have paid an order of
magnitude more than that fan. But the bottom line is that they are all
paying for the exact same thing–the show. Some might have more cash to
spend; some might have more time to spend waiting to pounce on tickets when
they go on sale; some may just be lucky and win tickets. None of that
matters to this entertainer though because he feels they all deserve his
best effort to entertain them.
2) Don’t lose sight of people because they aren’t directly in your line of
sight. It’s easy for a performer to focus on the fans in the front row or in
the mosh pit cramming up against the stage. Their faces are right there
looking up in awe and screaming, singing or reacting to the next firework or
unexpected song. Those folks only comprise about one percent of the
audience. That one percent might be the most important people in your life,
but others need you attention, affection and time as well–sometimes more
than the one percent. This isn’t an argument for ignoring the one
percent–it’s a reminder to not ignore the 99 percent.
We all get to be Garth Brooks in our own lives. We also get to be the
person in the worst seat in the house in some of our relationships. When
that happens, soak it up and figure out how to do a better job for that
person when you’re on stage.