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Believe & Other Career Lessons from Eddie Izzard

[I]f I assume I have the confidence, I’ll tell everyone I’m doing it, and then people will come and we’ll actually do it. Once we’ve done it, I’ll have the confidence to do it again. It was some sort of weird positive-thinking confidence mantra because I had to get there.” ― Eddie Izzard


It’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival time again, so USP Your Monday’s coming straight from one of Britain’s best-loved comedians Eddie Izzard.


But Eddie wasn’t a natural comedic talent, as one journalist said of the Eddie Izzard documentary Believe: “[T]his film …explained how he went from comic no-hoper to the kind of star who can sell out Wembley Arena.”


Doing stand-up is probably one of the scariest things out there – like an interview multiplied! So, just how did Mr Izzard do it? And can we apply the lessons he learned to our careers?


Here goes:


1. Develop “personal nepotism” – basically this means if no-one else will give you a break do it yourself. Izzard developed his comedic chops from the ground up starting at Covent Garden.


2. Have a clear goal in mind – he also compered open-mike spots and plotted his progress on map of London. He even had colour codes which told him what material worked where.


3. You have to believe you can do it – once an escapology act went wrong in front of crowds at Covent Garden piazza. After a fellow escapologist told him: “If you think you cannot get out you will not be able to get out. …You have to believe you can get out.”


Now, there’s something to really get you going this Monday!


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