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Life Lessons from The Movie Stars - #1

by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Start by writing the screenplay of your life.

My fellow Brit, Michael Caine, said, "To be a movie star, you have to invent yourself." Cher and Madonna invented themselves. Cary Grant, Burt Reynolds, and Michael Caine invented themselves. And I promise you that Patricia Fripp has invented herself. You, in your own way, invent yourself.

We all write the screenplay of our own lives. Then, as with every other screenplay, you edit, you revise, you refine, and, sometimes, you just rip it up and start over. As you do so, consider the valuable lessons that Hollywood and the movie stars have to offer for the movie of your life.

When I was twelve, I remember being in my father’s office, looking at the Sunday newspapers and seeing a photo of a mink-clad movie star getting off an airplane. There was a flash, a feeling, a vision. I just knew that one day I was going to have a glamorous life like that, full of travel, getting off planes, and wearing designer clothes. How this was going to happen I had no idea because I certainly had no inclination toward being a movie star. It took me a while to fill in the details in the screenplay of my life.

When I was twenty, I arrived in America with no job, no place to stay, and no one to welcome me. But I knew two things about the USA. Eeryone in America was rich, and the streets were paved with movie stars. My first job in San Francisco was in the beauty salon of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The hotel was owned by cowboy star Gene Autry. Can you imagine the first day I saw him in the coffee shop? My nose was glued against the window and it took three security guards to drag me away.

Autry’s first cousin, Arthur, was the hotel manager. Arthur was married to actress named Pamela Britton, then appearing as Mrs. Brown on the popular TV show "My Favorite Martian" with Bill Bixby and Ray Walston. She was also in the cult film "If It’s Tuesday, It Must be Belgium" and on Broadway in the original Brigadoon. She used to tell me stories about her experiences in show business while I did her hair. I just loved it, put the rollers slowly so I could hear more tales.

As you create the rough outline of your life script, don’t edit or limit yourself. Don’t worry about how you will actually bring it about. If you do, you might get overwhelmed and talk yourself out of it or write something less ambitious.


Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE is a San Francisco-based executive speech coach and professional speaker on Change, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. She is the author of Get What You Want!, Make It So You Don’t Have to Fake It and Past-President of the National Speakers Association.

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