How Watching “The Voice” Can Make You a Better Businessperson

Like the 13 million other folks who watched The Voice on Monday, I saw the unlikely return of Jake Worthington.

Jake Worthington, contestant on The Voice

Jake Worthington, contestant on The Voice

Jake auditioned on a previous season of The Voice, and things didn’t go well for him. This season, though, Adam, Blake and Shakira all wanted him. How did he make this happen? And what can we learn?

He stayed humble. People like confidence, but they don’t like cockiness. Jake could have swaggered on stage—sometimes people react to criticism by peacocking. Instead, Jake acted like a guy you’d like to have on your team, or maybe go to a ball game with. Either way, he stayed likeable, and that’s important—for contestants on The Voice, and for entrepreneurs.

He didn’t give up. Jake tried before. He failed. In front of all those celebrities, friends, family and 14 million other people. Ouch. Many of us would have given up at that point, gone back to living our ordinary lives and not risking failure again. Jake got back on that stage and laid his heart out there again—and got picked!

He listened to his critics. His first time on The Voice, the judges gave Jake some specific feedback and suggestions to improve. He didn’t get defensive. He didn’t argue, rationalize or justify his choices—he listened. Many of us don’t listen to our critics. We think we know better than our audience. We might nod politely, but we don’t like to listen to hard things. If you want to get picked, it’s important that you learn to listen to hard things.

He got better. He could have “listened” to the judges but still not worked to get better. That’s not Jake, though. He picked a better song, demonstrated better breath control, and judges clamored to have him join their team.

That’s enough about Jake. What about you?

What happens to you when you fail? How do you respond? Do you overcompensate by showing off, deny that there’s a problem, stop listening or stop trying? Try this instead: be like Jake. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll get picked.


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