Fearless, irreverent, and purpose-driven — there’s a lot to learn from this year’s Big Fish Hall Of Fame inductees.
Neil Patrick Harris
Best known as the lovable wunderkind doctor of ‘90s television, Neil Patrick Harris has worked tirelessly to expand his sitcom repertoire to include stage as well as screen, and in the process become a consummate comedian and entertainer. Following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, Harris announced his engagement to his long-term partner, infusing his personal brand with advocacy for issues he is passionate about. He has recently made the transition from long-time Tony Award host to hosting the Emmys, making him more visible and beloved to the public.
Facebook’s charismatic COO is #5 on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business 2013, her bestselling book and movement, Lean In challenges women to think about what they really want and what they’ll sacrifice for it. Sandberg’s ultimate goal is to encourage women to lean in to positions of leadership so more female voices can be heard. She says that, “if you ask men why they do a good job, they’ll say they’re awesome. Women will say that they got lucky, had someone to help or really worked hard.” Her message makes it imperative for women to own their success!
He’s come a long way since his stint as a staple player in Kevin Smith comedies. These days, Ben Affleck concentrates his efforts on producing and directing feature-length films that inspire him. His most recent, this year’s Argo, is the first film in history to win both the Golden Globe and Director’s Guild awards, but failed to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Undeterred, Affleck continues to diversify his talents and bolster his reputation by taking on the role of Batman in an upcoming Man of Steel sequel.
Already known for her brash politics and ideology in catchy pop hooks, Lady Gaga kicked it into high gear in 2013 by releasing her third studio album ArtPop, and accompanying documentary. Collaborating with world-renowned artist Jeff Koons who created an iconic nude sculpture of her for the album cover, she is also casting herself in celluloid by making her acting debut in Machete Kills shot by indie director Robert Rodriguez. Working hard to transcend her “Queen of Pop” brand appealing to an audience of “Monsters,” Gaga is building a more multidimensional, high-end performance artist brand.
2013 has been a rebuilding year for Lance Armstrong. Amid numerous doping scandals, he took a brutal beat down from his sponsors, was stripped of seven Tour de France titles, banned from competitive cycling for life and had to cut ties with his Livestrong Foundation, a multimillion-dollar cancer research nonprofit. Having undergone a fearless—and very public—moral inventory on Oprah, he is now spending time growing his small business ventures and rehabilitating his image. When we find ourselves in professional fallow periods it is wise to step back, take stock and align with our true purpose once more.
In case the name change isn’t a tip off that Snoop Dogg is undergoing a process of reinvention, his new album, titled “Reincarnation” ought to leave no doubt. One of rap’s great survivors, a recent trip to Jamaica put him in touch with his spirituality and on a path toward spreading a message of peace. Thirty years as a shrewd businessman provides the foundation he needs to convey his most genuine self to the public—inspiring a conscious approach to his music and message in the process.
Jenny from the Block is long gone. In spite of the massive personal upheaval Lopez has undergone this year, she has consistently left her problems at home and shown up for work, mentoring young singers on American Idol each week. And channeling your energy into work yields results: this year, Lopez has taken a job as Creative Officer of a TV network, launched a mobile phone retail brand, signed on as Executive Producer of a network sitcom, created a signature fragrance and is recording her 8th studio album.
The most interesting career paths are never linear.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once declared, “There are no second acts in American lives. But we live in an age where virtually every reputation can be rehabilitated.” Those inducted into this year’s Big Fish Hall of Fame have changed perception through readjustments, derailments, and realignments. When your values, your product or your market changes, you must change to stay successful, fulfilled and relevant.
It takes guts to reinvent yourself — that’s where star power and staying power collide.