Jimmy Fallon secret to success
In the land of entertainment, Jimmy Fallon is king – especially when it comes to late night television. As America’s favorite guy-next-door, the country watched as he burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced cast member of the wildly popular Saturday Night Live and cheered him on when he eventually inherited the namesake of the iconic Tonight Show in 2014. From celebrity impressions and a troll doll to the highest rated late night entertainer, Fallon’s persistence, kind-nature, and natural talent are key to his success.
Fallon makes it look easy, but living up to the standards set by the late Johnny Carson, not to mention competing against late night guru, David Letterman, is no small task. If you’ve checked out the numbers lately, he’s certainly succeeding in the ratings. But how does he do it? Whether you are just starting your career or have been with your company for 15 years, Jimmy Fallon’s road to success can give you a few tips to accelerate your own success story and make a few friends along the way.
An object in motion stays in motion.
We tend to believe that the successful people of the world start pursuing their careers early on in life, but like they say, age is just a number. Jimmy Fallon started pursuing a career in comedy during his high school years. All it took was one comedy contest to ignite his love of laughter and performance. At an early age, he understood his talent and dreams and decided to go after them. He did something that most people don’t do – he took the steps necessary to make his dreams a reality. Everyone has ambition, but most of the time, people get distracted from jobs, fears, naysayers, etc. Either we’re too focused on the seemingly impossible end result or we’re too wrapped up in the obstacles we need to overcome to get to that point. Somewhere along the way, we forget to take the first step. Following your dreams and attaining your goals is a lot like starting a car. You just need a key, and you’ll find the right road along the way. Vroom, vroom.
Be kind, be kind, be kind.
Kindness is the quality that made America fall in love with Jimmy. (We’re on a first name basis now, obviously.) Ne’er has there been a red remark made about Mr. Fallon, primarily because of his reputation as a genuinely compassionate individual. If you follow every person that works for the Tonight Show on Twitter (like me), you can see that his employees are some of his biggest fans. They truly love working for him. That’s something to strive for.
From our kindergarten days, we’ve learned to treat everyone with respect – from the person who cleans your office to the CEO of your company. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you will never regret saying something nice. Jimmy Fallon is the strongest case against the saying, “Nice guys finish last.” He proves that having the reputation of being kind can get you through any door. Take a tip from nicest guy in television. Compliment your coworkers on a job well done, lend a hand without expectations of reciprocation, or share cookies with the office (do this!). Because at the end of the day, no one wants to work with or hire someone that’s isn’t pleasant to be around.
Use your ears.
Though 50% of Jimmy’s job requires him to giggle, dance, and make us laugh til we cry, the other half is all about listening – and not just to the guests filling the seats next to him. He listens to his fans. His immensely popular segment, Hashtags, is an invitation for his global audience to participate in his show. He starts a conversation with them, asking for anecdotes, what they like, what they don’t like, and how they feel about certain topics. Though it’s a network show, it’s not necessarily a broadcast; Fallon makes it a two-way street. If you find yourself speaking throughout most of the day, stop and take a minute to just listen. Be courteous, and focus on actively paying attention to other people. Give them your full attention. Listening is a skill that everyone should have, and it’s definitely lost in our fast-paced digital generation. We’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason, guys. Let’s make it count.
Chat with your boss.
The great folks at Men’s Journal make a valid suggestion: have drink with your boss. Many people are friendly with the folks in the office, but find themselves shaking in their boots when their boss comes around. As computer science major in college, Fallon found himself interning for alt-weekly and eventually shared some of his comedic work with his boss, Peter Iselin — landing him with an audition with SNL. From there, he received excellent advice when working on SNL: “After every show, thank the producer.” Our favorite modern jester thanked Lorne Michaels after each curtain call. He mentioned, “I thanked him after every single show. And by the third show, he probably got tired of me coming up. He was like, ‘Sit down, come have a drink.” Lorne Michaels is notoriously successful, and therefore intimidating, but that didn’t stop Fallon, and it shouldn’t stop you. Be natural and treat your boss like a person rather than an untouchable figure. It’ll leave a good impression, and it might just make their day.
No one does it alone.
Life is a team sport. You start out sitting on the bench until one of your teammates or coaches takes the time to shows you the ropes. While in the game, you can’t succeed in your position without your teammates. Take Jimmy Fallon – he’s the face of the Tonight Show, but he never takes the credit for the hard work that others put in to make him look good. His name may be on the marquee, but he doesn’t take sole credit. Fallon knows that his team of experts are huge pieces of the puzzle, and he makes sure that he recognizes them.
Fallon shares the spotlight by featuring friendly banter throughout his show provided by the hilarious Steve Higgins, and seamlessly integrates the fresh Philly sound of “the best band in late night,” The Roots. What’s even better is that Jimmy Fallon is a huge fan of everyone who works on his show. Take a page out of Fallon’s book. Be the motivator that inspires your team to succeed and they’ll want to find you success as well. Don’t go at your dreams solo. Gather some worthy chums and make it happen together.
Setbacks just prepare you for comebacks.
You’ll never win if you don’t try. Fallon performed at the New York Comic Strip back in 1997, and in came Lorne Michaels. This could have been his big break! It’s an amazing opportunity for any comedian. The Jimmy we know today would have crushed it, but believe it or not, he didn’t. “I just bombed,” Fallon quips. “I could tell. My manager could tell. This might have been my lowest point ever.” Fallon may have buckled under the pressure, but that didn’t stop him from performing again. A year later, he had a similar opportunity and knocked it out of the park. No one ever knows when their “big break” is coming, so you’ve always got to be prepared. There’s no fast track to success, so stop letting autopilot dictate your life’s destination. Put your best foot forward every day because that life-changing moment can happen at every time, and you never know who’s watching.
Never stop improving.
You’ve got the right stuff – your talent is gushing through your pores. Well, make it better. Though he seems like a natural born triple threat – comedian, actor, immaculate dad dancer – Fallon had to work at his craft. Whether he’s hosting an award show, reading you today’s top stories on Weekend Update, or honing his flip cup skills, Fallon consistently works to better himself. Will you settle for good, or would you like to be the great? We all reach a certain point where we stop pushing our limits and think, Maybe I’ve reached my peak of awesome. No, you haven’t. Go outside of your comfort zone and keep climbing. Schedule a workshop within your craft. Learn something new about your field. You may stumble at times, but mistakes are how you get better. Go out there and mess up as much as you possibly can. You’ll grow from the experience.
From breaking character on SNL to delivering humor from the heart of New York City, Jimmy Fallon has reached all levels of success and he just keeps pushing forward. Not only that, but he’s managed to maintain an incredible reputation along the way. Learn a lesson from Fallon. Make the first step, maintain humility, always work on your craft, and share your success with the people who help you reach your goals. Emulate Jimmy Fallon and put your best foot forward, because doing it any other way is just ew.