Today, I would like to take some inspiration from Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor” featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey. It’s a personal record for Dr. Dre and Eminem and a motivational one, as well. I love it.
I’m going to discuss some community management related takeaways from the song, which you can listen to at the bottom of this post by playing the music video. I should warn you, it is explicit and I quote some explicit lyrics in this article.
Give People Opportunities and Mentor Them
The biggest underlying theme in “I Need a Doctor” is the relationship that Eminem and Dr. Dre share. Dre is his mentor, someone who gave him a chance when others wouldn’t, who believed in him and helped him to reach the level of success that he has achieved.
One of the side effects of being a good leader is that you will mentor others, even if you don’t set out to do that specifically. I learned a lot about managing online communities from the administrators that I served under and the people who serve under me can learn a great deal, if they wish to do so.
Though I am not in a position where I can give people jobs, once in a while, I am able to offer someone an opportunity. Maybe it’s a book deal, maybe it’s a client, maybe it’s something else. This has happened numerous times and I’m thankful to be able to give the opportunities to people that I believe will take advantage of them and, in some cases, make a name for themselves.
When you have a deep head coaching tree, or a strong group of people that you helped to bring to where they are today, that is a strength. Eminem has benefited greatly from what Dr. Dre has done for him – as Eminem says in the song, “I can never repay you, what you did for me is way more” – but, at the same time, Dr. Dre has also benefited from having a highly successful protege. It lends to his credibility and further establishes and cements his legacy as an icon in music. He’s the genius that saw the talent in Eminem, one of the most successful artists of the last couple of decades.
Believe in Your Ideas and Execute
Icons are still human, though. The focus of Eminem’s second verse is him pleading with his mentor to trust his vision and come back, to stop second guessing himself and being critical to the point of indecision. This relates to the fact that Dr. Dre has not released an album since 1999’s “2001.” His third album, “Detox,” has been delayed for many years.
It hurts when I see you struggle
You come to me with ideas
You say they’re just pieces, so I’m puzzled
‘Cause the s*** I hear is crazy
But, you’re either getting lazy or you don’t believe in you no more
Seems like your own opinion’s not one you can form
Can’t make a decision, you keep questioning yourself
Second guessing and it’s almost like you’re begging for my help
Like, I’m you leader
You’re supposed to f****** be my mentor
I can endure no more!
I demand that you remember who you are!
Sometimes, we can be paralyzed by our own ideas. You can be addicted to brain crack. As Ze Frank once said, “If you don’t want to run out of ideas, the best thing to do is not execute them.”
It is important to carefully consider changes to your community and to get feedback from staff and from members when it will be helpful. But, it is also important to wrap that process up, make a decision and move forward. It’s important to execute, not just to theorize and be held hostage by the desire for absolute perfection.
People Will Let You Down
Even though you may mentor people, you may give them opportunities and you may help them reach a new level, some people will let you down. They will be unreasonable and want more than you can give, failing to appreciate the things you’ve done for them. They will be interested in simply using you as a stepping stone and will fail to display the loyalty that you have given to them.
Dr. Dre speaks to this during his lone verse, where he says that, even though he has plenty of “friends” that he’s helped make famous, many of them have been disloyal. He looks around now and all he sees is Eminem, which is fine, he says, because “all I need is him.”
Went through friends, some of them I put on
But, they just left
They said they was riding to the death
But, where the f*** are they now?
Now that I need them, I don’t see none of them
All I see is Slim
F*** all you fairweather friends
All I need is him
When the chips were down, you just laughed at us
Now you ’bout to feel the f****** wrath of Aftermath
Aftermath is Dr. Dre’s company.
You have to realize that people will do this to you and not let it stop you from helping and mentoring others. Yes, a percentage of the people that you help will be ungrateful and will violate your trust. But, the ones that do appreciate you, those are the people who make it all worth it.
Success is Finite or, Perhaps, Cyclical
Eminem and Dr. Dre both reflect on the, if you are lucky, cyclical nature of (public) success. While Eminem tries to push Dre to come back, Dre talks about how people ask where you’ve been and how, even though some people are telling him to move on, when he leaves, others will miss him and want him back.
Have you ever heard someone ask “what happened to (insert celebrity or recording artist)?” and then they follow this by coming up with some excuse or condemn the person as a “one hit wonder.” These people don’t understand success or what it takes to achieve it.
They consider success to be only the success they know of, the success they are aware of and they fail to grasp the fact that, especially in the music industry, it is extremely difficult to have one hit single, let alone many. And even those who achieve multiple hit singles are likely to spread them out chronologically.
Success is hard work and that work, that stuff that goes on behind the scenes, that people don’t know about, where they are asking “where is that person?” is where success is built. But, many don’t realize that, even while they ask those questions, they may one day miss that person.
In addition, you will, at some point, achieve a level of success that you will never be able to achieve again. No matter how hard you try. For community managers, this may be a level of activity or engaged people or some other metric based goal.
You must learn to accept and understand this. Strive for greatness, but understand that there are peaks and valleys. This is a long term game and, eventually, everything will come to an end. If you work hard and you’re lucky and blessed, your success will be cyclical.
Enjoy Your Success
Finally, as you work hard and always strive for greatness, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses once in a while. Though both Eminem and Dr. Dre reflect on the challenges they have faced, they also talk about the great success that they’ve had and the understanding that the risk that Dr. Dre took, in backing and supporting Eminem, has paid off.
You will continue to face challenge after challenge, but don’t forget to note your successes, just as much. Share your successes with your community. It’s not bragging if you do it right and it is your success. You deserve to feel good about it and to reflect on it.