How Can Denzel Washington Grow Your Practice?

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The other day I watched an interview between Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx. It was a great interview, as funny and witty as you’d expect from two professional artists with a combined net worth of around $480 million.

Towards the end of the talk, Denzel said something so profound I almost fell out of my chair. “In the movie business,” he said, “I tell my two children you want people to say ‘I can’t wait to see him,’ not ‘I see him everywhere’”. Then he added, “Branding for an actor is being good, not being known”.

I’ve never heard a truer and more applicable statement that sums up the concept of Trusted Authority positioning.

In the rest of the interview, Denzel talked about how simply being known or seen in many movies is of little value to an actor’s career. In fact, it’s potentially harmful. What’s important is whether the movies they’re seen in are any good.

As I mulled over these words, I began considering Denzel’s acting career from my perspective as a coach and mentor to hundreds of financial advisors. I thought of all the Denzel movies I’ve seen: Fallen, The Bone Collector, Crimson Tide, The Book of Eli, Flight, even his more recent appearances in The Equalizer series... All hits. It struck me that this is what our client engagements as business professionals ought to look like.