Making listeners laugh is the most valuable trait for personalitiesBut the single most important attribute for a performer in any field is confidence. Confidence is in short supply because many are afraid of complaints or criticism. But personalities have to be bold to be successful. They must feel bulletproof. Maybe this will help. Here’s some inspiration from Steve Martin.

Steve Martin has been a popular entertainer for decades. As a standup comedian, he sold out arenas, which led to appearances on Saturday Night Live. He even had a top 10 hit when the King Tut exhibit first came to America. Do you remember this classic?


That was followed by a series of movies. Over the years, he’s become an accomplished writer, producer, and actor. But like most stories of wildly successful people, his success path was rocky. His breakthrough came when he stopped letting outsiders affect his vision.

You’re Never Going To Make It, Steve Martin

In the early 70s, Martin was trying to find his way in standup comedy. He was bouncing from club to club with little success and less pay. At a key time in his life, Martin asked for advice from the one person he thought he could trust: his agent.

Steve was shocked by what he heard:

Face it. I’ve seen a lot of guys like you, Steve. It’s time to face the facts. You’re never going to make it in standup.

Martin decided to change his routine and stop trying to be better than other comedians. Instead, he explored the wackier side of his personality. Out of desperation, he went for it with everything he had. Suddenly, he was more marketable because he was unique. And by performing material based on aspects of his real-life personality, his confidence grew.

It’s an inspiring story. But what does that mean for radio personalities?

Three things:

  1. Know who you are and who you are for. Every personality must find a character voice based on who you are off the air.
  2. Find a support team. Everyone needs help. Get a mentor that can guide you through a Personality Success Path. Maybe it’s a PD, manager, or consultant. Maybe it’s someone you met at a convention. But find someone to encourage and support you.
  3. Listen to Input, but ignore things that don’t make sense. With a vision for the future, confidence will grow. Listen to feedback, but disregard advice that doesn’t fit. It may come from a good place but only act on it if it fits where you are going.


Steve Martin described how he found his personal recipe for success:

Come from an honest place and connect with the truth. Speak in full living color with different shades of real. Be authentic, but colored by altered perception.

That’s a heavy statement. It’s loaded with insight and meaning. Spend some time with it. Unpack it. Process it. Then figure out how to apply it to your career.

Radio needs great personalities and that only happen when performers are confident. There will always be doubts and insecurities, but finding your voice and unlocking your potential can overcome self-doubt.


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