How To Be Really Famous (In a Way That Matters)


These days it seems like everyone wants to be famous. Which makes it kind of a bummer when you put up a killer photo on Facebook and only two people like it and one of them is your mom.

Online, there are all kinds of resources to help you become “internet famous.” You can learn how to increase your likes, followers, retweets, subscribers, page views…pretty much any metric you can think of.

But just because something can be measured doesn’t make it valuable.

Now behind the desire to be “famous” is the desire to be liked, admired, or regarded as someone of importance. And that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how many followers you have or whether or not you are on the cover of a magazine. Signing up to stay later at work, chair a prestigious committee, or serve as president of the association you belong to are not inherently bad. But our reasons for doing them can come from a desire to be liked, admired, or regarded as someone of importance.

Honestly, I often get envious of others who have more blog readers, customers, or Facebook fans than me. It makes me feel like I’m falling short and not good enough. I feel like I should be further along than I am, and it makes it harder to see the good that I am doing. Meanwhile, it distracts me. It gets me focused on people I don’t know, while ignoring the people I do. Why do we put so much stock in what strangers think about us?

Then I came across a quote that kicked my butt. It was from Mark Batterson, who wrote, “I want to be famous in my own home.”

Holy crap. That’s just awesome.

When it comes down to it, that’s what I want, too.

And it got me thinking, what would it take? What things do you need to do to become famous in your own home? Since there aren’t many $99 e-courses tackling that question, I had to come up with some ideas on my own:

  1. Be present. When you’re having quality time with your family, don’t ruin it by checking your phone every ten seconds.
  2. Be quick to apologize when you screw up.
  3. Be kind.
  4. Be fun.
  5. Be willing to disappoint the people outside your own home by turning down opportunities that would cause you to see your family less.
  6. And finally, it might not hurt to plaster propaganda promotional posters up of yourself (Dad is Rad! Mom is the Bomb!) all over your home.

I can honestly say that there is no better feeling in the world than to come home after a long flight, ride the escalator down into the airport lobby, and see your children wearing giant smiles and running as fast as they can to come hug you.

Just like anybody, I want to be looked up to. Admired. Respected. Missed when I’m gone. But if I’m not regarded in this way by the people who know me best, all the Twitter followers in the world just don’t matter.

What do you think about this idea of being famous in your own home? And more importantly, what do YOU think it takes?

[ About the Art: While in the middle of this one, I came up with the idea of doing label tape from the 70s and 80s for the words instead of my usual ransom note newspaper cutouts. I originally had sunglasses painted in, but as I was toying around with locations for the words, I decided to turn them into the sunglasses. Much more interesting to be sure, but nonetheless, a last-minute “happy accident.”

The idea for the fireworks also came to me just as I was about to call this piece finished. I figure they elevate this guy’s star power to sold-out stadium level. (Made with Photoshop.) (Buy the print!) ]

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  1. Debbie Green says:

    First of all I should pay you instead of my counselor this week!! Happens to be one of my problems… I want everyone to like me and I want to please everyone! Who am I the hardest on…my Hubby! I know he’s going to love me just the way I am. So look out family, you thought I was weird before… Wait till you see what this week brings!! Xoxo to all my escape adulthood friends.

  2. Jason,

    Fr. Michael Schmitz ( from up your way, just did the Lenten mission for my parish. One of his talks hit exactly on this question of why we feel this need (it goes back to Genesis 1). It looks like we may be posting a video of that talk soon. Once it goes up I will send you the link. Otherwise if you get a chance to hear him preach, do it!

    In answer to your question, I like your list and think it is a good place to start!.(as I write this from an airport lounge on my way home from speaking event myself).

    • Thanks Kent! Fr. Michael seems like a great guy. I look forward to the link to the video once it’s up!

  3. Anonymous says:

    That is wonderful for you Jason because you have a family. However, for those of us who are single (not necessarily because we want to be) that does not work.

    • Actually, Anonymous, I think it might work if you’re willing to expand the definition of “family.” Most of us have siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and neighbors in our lives. What would it take to be seen as “famous” to them?

      I’ve seen some Big Brothers, Big Sisters billboards in the Madison area highlighting the fact that they are short on people willing to volunteer some time to hang out with kids who could use a friend. I’m willing to bet that there are opportunities like this in every community to be a real life hero and be perceived as the best kind of famous.

  4. Jayne Young says:

    Empathy & a good memory also help. At least for me, my children are much better at reflecting on those fun, WOW moments. Pausing for a moment before harping about something and putting a happy spin on it. Listening to yourself and your tone is every bit as important as listening to others. GEEZ I love your stuff Jason. it is like a daily vitamin for the heart and soul!

  5. Jillian says:

    I would love to see you turn that list into one of your art pieces. Something that could be hung up as a daily reminder that being there and providing for our families doesn’t just mean that we go to work everyday to put food on the tables or clothes on their backs. That quality time that is spent with our children, spouses, parents, and siblings grows a bond that becomes hard to break.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. JoAnn says:

    I love the idea of being famous in your own home! That really takes the burden off a shoulder when your’re not trying so hard to be something your’re not. Or maybe not yet!
    Being really present to the people who are in your home is so important. Being fun and happy will make people want to come back (as if they have a choice!). Think about what they want and what will make them happy. Their smiles will make it all worthwhile!
    And you’ll be able to go out and be really happy to others in the world! And don’t worry about what they think! That to me is they biggest burden on my shoulder I carry. I have to stop living for what others think of me!

    • “I have to stop living for what others think of me!”

      That’s a tough task for all of us, JoAnn. But you’re right: it is REALLY tiring trying to be someone you’re not. Thanks for the comment!

  8. Onaysha says:

    AMEN!!!! That was beautiful, I believe in being famous in your home wholeheartedly. Why not be the best you can be at home. Home is Always where the heart is ;-)

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