There’s a music documentary that answers a question many sportscasters have:
Why have I not made it to the top?
20 Feet from Stardom is a highly acclaimed documentary about backup singers in the music industry. Even though they are often as talented as the people for whom they’re singing, they stay in the background, always 20 feet from the spotlight.
If someone is immensely talented at singing or sports broadcasting, what might keep them from getting to the top?
There are three reasons explained by the singers in the documentary.
1. You’re comfortable where you are
One, they’re uncomfortable in the spotlight. Being center stage would take them out of their comfort zone.
As long as it’s what you want, there is nothing wrong with staying out of the spotlight.
2. You don’t want to be vulnerable to failure
A second reason is that some people’s fear of “putting themselves out there” prevents them from selling themselves. Other times it makes them uneasy about staying in touch and building relationships that lead to jobs. It’s okay if that is your choice. But, people who choose to not put themselves out there also choose not to be upwardly mobile.
3. You don’t want to play the game
The third reason many singers remain backups is they are unwilling to play the game — they’re unwilling to politic or suck up. Again, they make the choice understanding that if they don’t play that game they’re not going to be front and center.
Many sportscasters say they want to be at the top yet are unwilling to put the effort into their craft or into the job market.
Maybe that lack of effort is a symptom, though, and not a cause.
Perhaps the cause is rooted in being uncomfortable in the spotlight, being too shy to put themselves out there or simply being unwilling to play the game.
A lot of great singers never take center stage by choice.
Many great sportscasters, too.