Jason Sudeikis on the two rules he’s used to achieve his dream career
On “Ted Lasso” Jason Sudeikis’ titular character, an American football coach who manages a British soccer team, leads with optimism, camaraderie and the occasional homemade biscuit to butter up his boss.
Off-screen, however, the Emmy-winning actor has relied on different strategies to build a successful career.
“It’s two things: setting tiny goals and just trying to keep up with people better than me,” Sudeikis, 47, said of what keeps him motivated in his career while speaking at the Indeed FutureWorks 2022 conference on Oct. 13.
Those two strategies, he said, have helped him thrive in the different jobs he’s held in the entertainment industry, from being a comedian at Second City to working in the writers room at “Saturday Night Live.”
Sudeikis explained to Indeed CMO Jessica Jensen that while he was growing up in Overland Park, Kansas, the goal was to take improv classes and learn about comedy writing. Then, when he moved to Chicago, that goal became finding work at Second City, a comedy club with famous alumni like Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
Working toward small goals, he added, has helped him get into a mindset where he’s “constantly learning” from his peers and the people he works with every day and focus on what he can accomplish in the present instead of five years from now.
Sudiekis reflected on his time at “Saturday Night Live” as well, where he was hired as a writer in 2003 and starred as a cast member from 2005 to 2013.
“It was a job I never thought I’d get,” he said. “Then when I moved into the cast, I came in with Andy Samberg, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, this new generation [of comedians] that really took off. We were all thrown in the deep end together with people like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph, all these great senior leaders that we just tried to keep up with.”
That experience taught Sudeikis another important career lesson that would stick with him: “Pay attention to the people who have carved a path slightly ahead of you.”
Letting those two rules guide his career has helped Sudeikis achieve his ideal work-life balance, he noted: “When you have that relationship between finding what you love and then loving what you found … it’s a harmony that you can’t really explain, but just getting to do it is really fun, too.”
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