Joe Jackson, who passed away today at 89, was easily one of the most controversial family business managers in recent history. His abuse is well documented, as are the complications his kids, particularly Michael, had as a result of his intense rearing.
He also had one of the best insights you can apply to your career. It has propelled my public speaking career, as it has for other performers I know and admire. It can help you make your dreams come true much faster than you expect.
At the drop of a hat
The Jackson 5 had to be ready to perform at the drop of a hat. At the barbershop? Sure. At a family get-together? OK. In a meeting with Motown? Where's the mic.
Joe Jackson's rough methods aren't to be applauded. Giving yourself tough love, though, is a good thing. As I share in The Ultimate Bite-Sized Entrepreneur, my successful freelance writing took off years ago when I ran into an editor in the copy room when I was an administrative assistant. If I didn't spend years preparing my writing and my pitch, then you quite literally wouldn't be reading this right now.
It's a waste of time to wish for a better circumstance or a big break if you don't have the foundation to take advantage of it when it does come. As Jim Rohn once said, "If you wish to preside over a lot... you have to be disciplined when the amounts are small." Build your strength when the risk is minimal and you'll be prepared when you get a rare opportunity to shine.
Know your stuff inside and out
The main theme here is practice. Practice, practice, practice. And more practice after that.
I practice my current keynote at least once a week. I knew it by heart when I first did it live last February in Austin, but I now know it better than I did then. Why? It is one of those keys I learned from speakers I admire.
It is counterintuitive - you'd think keeping it loose would help you stay fresh on the stage - but a few great things happen when you do heavy rehearsal. First, you remember the talk, which means no notes or teleprompter is necessary. Second, you don't worry about remembering the talk, so you are fully present when you are communicating to the audience. Third, you have gone over the talk repeatedly, excising as many rough spots as possible. You have set yourself up for a smooth, professional experience.
Look at the stunning success of the Jackson 5, the forerunners Diana Ross and the Supremes and other folks from the Motown era. Joe Jackson represented that, and the drop of a hat method should be in your repertoire, too.