You may have noticed Gatorade has been running a “Be Like Mike” revival campaign over the last few weeks. The classic Be Like Mike spot aired 23 years ago, and it was a ubiquitous marketing operation that proved to be a rocket launcher for Gatorade’s stock. The premise of the spot is that everyone wants to be like Mike. Everyone wants the fame, the adoration, the game, the money, the lifestyle just like the one and only Michael Jordan. “I dream, I move; I dream, I groove like Mike. If I could be like Mike.”

However, most of us would rather not think about what it took for Mike himself to be like Mike. Michael Jordan had enormous athletic gifts when he entered the NBA in 1984. With his highflying dunks and competitive nature, he quickly took the Bulls to the playoffs and became a fan favorite amongst basketball aficionados. But, it’s important to point out that it took MJ seven long years to win his first NBA championship. And in order to achieve that goal, he had to work tremendously hard because, as gifted as MJ was, certain aspects of his game needed improvement. His jump shot, for instance, was beautiful, but it wasn’t automatic. Consequently, he worked on his shot until it was money. There were some who argued that Michael was a liability on defense early in his career; as a result, he worked on his D and became the Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. Mike’s post game was basically nonexistent when he entered the league, but seven years into his career, he was a holy terror in the paint.

It’s important to note that even for someone with tremendous talent, hard work is a must. What are the areas of your career that could use some work? Should you be in scene study class or fine tuning your improv skills? Do your networking efforts need to be increased, or perhaps a more regular routine at the gym could reinvigorate your career? How about your command of different dialects? That  part of your game need work? It might be helpful to write down the aspects of your acting enterprise that might need improvement, and then get to it!

The real question is, are you doing everything in your power to succeed? Are you promoting your areas of strength while working to improve your weaknesses? Are you seizing every opportunity that’s available to you? And are you making best use of your time? Because if you wanna be like Mike, you gotta work like Mike!

Here’s to your highflying, slam-dunking acting career!