I didn’t intend to write anything about celebrities, except perhaps a Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, people whose lives would inform our own business strategies.  I never thought about Michael Jackson in terms of business.  I thought about him in terms of the extravagance of his talents, the public censuring about his alleged abuse of children, and the sweetness and purity of his public persona.

But as I mourn his passing today, and I really do feel it as a personal loss somehow, I know there are messages for us in his life.

As I looked at his astrology chart this morning, it is of course all there.  I won’t go into it because his personal life is not the subject of this blog and all the talents and tragedies are covered in countless other places.  What did strike me as I looked at his life over time, year by year (the planetary transits), were a few things I haven’t read about nor really thought about.

The first is the incredible hard work and discipline it took to achieve what he did.  His talents were so vast and by the time we saw him on stage they had been honed to a level that they looked absolutely natural, as if they poured from him fully perfected.  Even in the early clips of him as a child he has such a natural stage presence that I somehow thought he was born with those moves.  The sense I got from the chart was how much he worked behind the scenes, the hours and hours of writing, dancing, working out, rehearsal, costume designing, event planning, and everything else that came together to give the illusion of seamlessness by the time we saw him on stage.

It really gives me pause.  We all have talents.  The question is, how much effort and discipline do we invest in realizing these talents and bringing them to fruition? 

Another factor I recognized from his transits was his constant regeneration of his image.   I’m not referring to his physical image and the numerous plastic surgeries and other procedures that have been reported.  I am thinking about his being one of the Jackson Five as a small child, then morphing into the front man/lead singer of the group.  A few years later he developed his own persona and asserted his independence from the group, and a few years later, with the release of Thriller, catapulted himself to international stardom and named himself the King of Pop.

This ability to constantly transform ourselves is essential to business success.  Michael Jackson allowed himself to dismantle images of himself he had outgrown in order to let the next form emerge.  This ability led him step by step to the top of his field.

And then somehow he got out of synch with us, at least with his American audience.  Of course he still had many, many fans, but with the legal accusations, the reclusivity, and the bodily transmutations he just got too weird for a lot of us.  And his fortunes suffered.  I think the lesson in this is that times change, the economic environment changes, our customers/clients/fans change and we change too over time. If our goal is lasting business success, we have to attune ourselves to the current times and continue to offer products and services that are in synch with the time.  We started looking at the current time yesterday and will continue in the next blog, after mourning ends.

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