Keeping it Fresh

Recently, I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite Broadway shows, Fiddler on the Roof. I have seen the show at least half a dozen times, and I feel I get more of the message and meaning with each experience.

This last time I saw the show, I went backstage to meet the principle actor, John Preece. He is the third actor I have seen play Tevye, and the night after I saw his recent performance, he hit another milestone which was his 1,900th performance in that same role. 

When we talked backstage, my first question was, “How do you keep from getting bored, and how are you able to keep it fresh?” He responded with words that are applicable to us all whether we are on the stage or not. He told me, “If I only think about myself, it gets really repetitive and boring, but when I realize it’s not about me but, instead, it’s about several thousand people who come to the show each night, it’s easy to stay energized because many of them are seeing the show for their first time ever.”

Several years ago, I interviewed Carol Channing in conjunction with my work on the Narrative Television Network. At the time of my interview, she had just performed her 3,000th live presentation of the lead role in Hello, Dolly! When I asked her the same question about keeping it fresh and staying energized, she told me that what motivated her after so many years and so many performances was the pursuit of getting it right just one time. Miss Channing told me, in every one of her 3,000 performances, there was something she could have done differently or better, and she was in the never-ending pursuit of perfection.

All of us have to do things in our personal or professional lives that become mundane or boring. If we can remember the lessons from two great stage performers, it may be easier to stay engaged and energized. If we simply remember it’s not about us—it’s about the people we serve, and we can always do it better in our never-ending pursuit of perfection—we can find meaning in the most mundane task.

Anything we do, if done repetitively, can become boring if we only think about ourselves, but as in most aspects of success, if we will think first of the people we serve, then of the people who work with us, and leave thoughts of our own self until last, we will always be successful and find meaning in everything we do.

As you go through your day today, remember:  It’s about serving others and our pursuit of perfection.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by e-mail at; or on Facebook at

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  1. 4 ways to hone your presentation skills | - August 2, 2014

    […] the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof how, after 1,900 performances, he was able to still keep it fresh. The actor’s answer was this – “If I only think about myself, it gets really repetitive and […]

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