It usually means they are not willing to do all the hard work it takes to be recognized, to be well known.
To be well known at something usually requires a lot of hard work, some talent, some slogging in the trenches, meeting and talking with a lot of people. It does not mean overnight success, and there are no short cuts.
[Except reality TV shows, and it takes a lot of work and luck to be selected for those.]
I like it when people tell me they want to be good at something, they want to improve their skills, they want to learn something.
Well known professors work hard at their teaching and their research to reach a certain level of accomplishment. They also don’t do it because they want to be famous, they do it because they love it.
Ditto for well-known artists. They work at it every day. It takes a certain amount of luck for them too, but artists recognize that only a very small percentage become well known. Artists know they have to work hard.
Famous people in business? Once they start thinking about being famous, they usually stop focusing on the business. [A former client used the company’s PR staff to promote him and him only. He’s no longer with the company.]
There are no short cuts to being well known, and there are no short cuts to being good at something.
One of my friends, a well known venture capitalist, takes a lot of meetings, talks to everyone, runs an incubator. He talks to many student groups. He works hard and became well known because he does work hard.
One of the older artists we work with had no gallery representation for several years. He didn’t stop working, he still kept at his work, painting new work, renting gallery spaces for shows, bringing his portfolio around. He never gave up. He didn’t stop doing his art because he was not famous. Now too, he’s still working at it, always trying new techniques and so excited when he comes up with something new.
Rather than aspiring to be famous, aspire to be great at something, as good as you could possibly be. Put your heart into it and some love too.
Dont’ be impressed when someone [a job applicant, an artist, a date, a friend] tells you they want to be famous, run the other way.