Saturday, April 18, 2009 by Barbara Weaver Smith
This was the week Susan Boyle captivated the world in her first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. She’s a great illustration of a whale hunter—going after the biggest deal she can imagine, despite being nervous and unsure of how she would be received. She’s a perfectly lovely woman, natural as can be, dressed in her Sunday best and ready to perform. But since she doesn't’t fit the mold of what we’ve come to think of as star quality, no one took her seriously until she sang.
I say Susan Boyle is a perfect whale hunter because when her opportunity finally came, she was ready! She has as beautiful a natural voice as I’ve ever heard. But when she took the stage, it was clear that she has practiced and honed her talent, as she said “since I was twelve.” Her delivery, elocution, timing, crescendo—all facets of her performance were impeccable. During all the years of her “ordinary” life—caring for her mother, doing charity, living with her cat—she was educating her voice and preparing for a day when she could land a whale with it.
We say that whale hunting is 90% process and 10% magic. There is no question that Susan Boyle had some magic—the magic of her voice, the magic of her simplicity, the magic of confounding people's expectations. But what really put her there was process, and what gave her the bravery to sing before an audience of 3000 people in Glasgow was the knowledge that she was prepared. Just before her appearance, she told the host “I’m going to make that audience rock!”
Susan Boyle is not a business woman or a professional speaker or an entrepreneur. She most likely did not think of her performance as a sale or the audience as a Buyers' Table.
She does prove that small fish can hunt whales with perseverance, preparation, and guts. More than 26 million views on YouTube last I checked. Every one waiting for her first recording!
Barbara Weaver Smith is touring cyber space in May and June to promote her book - Whale Hunting Women. Read Barbara's tips to be a successful whale hunter in business and in life.