By the time I was old enough to be aware of Phyllis Diller, she was already a well-established comedian, something of an institution–“the female comedian.”

Fortunately, people hardly make that distinction these days with so many fabulously funny and successful women performers. Reading the obit in the Times this morning revealed her interesting history of becoming known.

She lacked the confidence to do it until she read a self-help book, “The Magic of Believing” by Claude M. Bristol. Inspired by its message of empowerment, she began to write her own comedy routines, hired a drama coach to give her more stage presence, and took whatever paid or unpaid performing jobs she could get: at hospitals, women’s clubs, church halls.

So there’s the formula:

1) Put yourself in a position to get inspired by reading or listening to the messages of others who have walked the path ahead of you.
2) Do the work. Write, paint, dance, design, create what’s in your heart to get out to the world.
3) Hire a professional to assist you. Invest in yourself to hone your skills through coaching or educational venues. Take it to the next level by giving some of your re$ource$ to gain someone else’s.
4) Get out there and give it away until they start asking your fee.

You may never have thought of Phyllis Diller as your role model, but imitating a successful formula makes sense.

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