Are You an Editor or an Author?

Michael Jordan and I have something in common; we’ve both missed more shots than we’ve made. I’ve had many good ideas that didn’t pan out for one reason or another. Critics love to point out your digressions when your idea misses its mark. That’s because it’s really, really easy to be an editor. An editor is someone who is a professional at looking at the world and pointing out what’s wrong with it. Sometimes they even have suggestions on how to fix it. Rarely though will they ever author the changes needed to improve on it. Why? Because doing so would require them to put their neck out there. If they did that they know there would be more than a few other editors ready to cut it off!

I took my former videographer many years ago, to film a session at the American Leadership Academy (ALA.) The ALA’s mission is to train tomorrow’s leaders today and that’s exactly what we do each year for over 600 young men. Pretty cool huh? Not if you’re an editor. Most of these young men come from America’s universities and primarily the Greek system. Many, if not most, come from middle to upper class families. To a liberal videographer who’s already an anti-establishment artistic type this sort of scene is the perfect opportunity to be an editor. Instead of seeing the vision of giving back that the self-made man who founded over 40 companies including the ALA had, this cat saw a nepotistic organization dedicated to giving a hand up to its members.

The glass was, and always will be, half empty to the masses who love to put their edits on how others could and even should be doing things. But the one thing life’s editors will rarely get to hear is the satisfying sound that an idea makes when it hits its mark. Michael Jordan is not a six-time NBA champ because his game was perfect. He combined talent with hard work and a hell of a lot of shots, most of which missed their mark.

The challenge for every author is to have the fortitude to keep lofting shots even though most rim out and some occasionally get nothing but air. For you shooters out there keep playing the game knowing there will always be a stadium full of editors ready to criticize your every move. Let them enjoy their view…from the stands.