Do you lack the dazzle of Angelina Jolie’s lagoon-blue eyes or the regal command of Meryl Streep’s screen poise? Come up short on George Clooney’s suave or Daniel Craig’s rippling abs?

Well, you don’t have to rate first billing to be billing first.Call attention to your strengths, recognize where you fit in the team, and you’re guaranteed to shine.

When actor Karl Malden, born Malden Sekulovich, dies in 2009, the New York Times hailed him as “the uncommon everyman.” Malden frequently shared credits with the likes of Marlon Brando and George C. Scott. With an epic schnoz, Malden knew he could never command center stage, but he swore he would run the last mile “to be #1 in the #2 parts I was destined to get.”

So it was in On the Waterfront and Patton… and he was second to no one in a string of high-credibility endorsement ads for American Express

Decide where your psyche fits in the cast and shine. That may mean:

  • Be known for your reliability and steadiness of vision.
  • Remain the unflappable source of judgment in crisis and turmoil.
  • Execute the impossible when logistics degenerate into spaghetti.
James Mason, another stellar silver-screen #2, once said, “how do I wish to be remembered, if at all? I think perhaps just as a fairly desirable sort of character actor.” Hollywood and the critics remembered him their way when his colleagues nominated him for three Oscars and three golden Globes.


About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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