Sunday Snippet: Lisa Kudrow

“You have to surrender to the fact that you are of too many in a highly competitive field where it is difficult to stand out. Over time, through your work, you will demonstrate who you are and what you bring to the field. Just stay with it and keep working.”

Especially in the age of the Internet, rising above the “noise” can be challenging. Even if you consistently put out quality content–in whatever format that content may be–it can feel nearly impossible to get noticed. Even if you’re particularly talented, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Despite your very best efforts, the end result can be disappointing, disheartening and deflating. Even so, you mustn’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

In the Vasser Commencement Address in 2010, famed actress Lisa Kudrow uttered the words at the top of this post. Most of us know her best for playing the character of Phoebe Buffay on the hit show Friends. These days, she can be seen starring in the Showtime series Web Therapy. She’s still as quirky and spunky as ever, but you could argue that the character of therapist Fiona Wallace is more “serious” than that of the “Smelly Cat” songstress.

You could say that the sentiment expressed above is idealistic at best and naive at worst. There is a latent optimism bubbling under the surface, assuming that the cream of the crop will always rise to the top. In reality, we know oftentimes that is not the case. Does that mean we should just throw in the towel and not even try? Does this mean we shouldn’t bother improving ourselves?

No. Of course not. As Umair Haque once said, “Not that everything you do will end up a masterpiece. But you should paint it like it could be.” Always put your best work forward, because you never know who might be watching.

Regardless of your chosen profession, facing off against the competition can feel like an arduous uphill battle. It’s tough. It’s difficult. And that’s why you must continue to work on your craft, continuing to develop your skills and talents such that you can demonstrate “who you are” and “what you bring” to the field. Dare to be exceptional.

With a little luck on your side, you may just end up being as successful as one Lisa Kudrow. Those multiple Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe nominations certainly weren’t by accident.