• Roy Carlisle

The Hat Disguise

I was entering the lobby of a five-star hotel in San Francisco. He told me I wouldn’t recognize him. I doubted that since he was one of the most famous people in the world. And literally millions of people had seen his face on TV when he was preaching at his crusades. I was wrong, as when I looked around the lobby I couldn’t find him. He was getting a kick out of this incognito game, clearly. Finally, he walked up to me with a baseball cap on and a sweatshirt and said, “Hi, my name is Billy Graham.” I couldn’t stop laughing. He said, “Come on, Ruth is waiting in our hotel room.” This was another surreal moment in my life as a book editor for Harper & Row (aka HarperCollins Publishers). Billy and Ruth were not the only famous people that I was working with but it did bring a certain lesson home to me. I was not someone who was starstruck because famous people needed editors like anyone else. The truth is that everyone benefits from our skill set as editors. And it also made it clear to me that no one does anything of any worth by themselves. No one. So, face it and get help with anything you want to accomplish. It doesn’t mean that you abdicate any responsibility but it does mean you are honest about being just one fallible and limited human being.

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