She and partner Liz Craft were asked what makes them want to read, or more importantly, continue to read a script that's been submitted to them by writers looking to get hired. Besides good writing, surprises within the first five pages (if the first five don't grab them they stop reading) and interesting and compelling characters, they talked more about what interferes with the read or stops them from reading it all together - things that are firmly within the writer's control and where so often they fall short. Things like bad formatting, poor sentence structure or grammar, misspelled words, not enough white space (too many words on the page), are all turnoffs before word one.
They said, do yourself a favor and remove the barriers to entry. "Barriers to entry" is an economic term referring to things like high startup costs that prevent a new player from entering an industry or market. Sarah's use of the metaphor brought it down to the personal in such a descriptive way. I love that. It got me thinking about how applicable the notion is to so many areas of life.
To put it more directly: Remove the barriers over which you have control before an entry is upon you. And, entry is whatever is involved just prior to setting you up to succeed. An interview, a big presentation or workshop, a networking event, a date, a workout schedule, an eating plan or that huge opportunity to be read or seen by someone who can change your career.
Dot the i's.
Cross the t's.
Proofread, then proofread again.
Layout your workout clothes before you go to bed.
Have healthy snacks prepared.
Check your teeth.
Spellcheck. If someone doesn't take the time to fix misspelled or missing words in an intro letter or pitch then how will they be as part of a team on deadline, etc. That may seem harsh, but it's reality. You never know what someone's hot buttons are. So, push them yourself before they become the reason you're out before you were ever in.
We've all been there, I know I have. And, what a great reminder to not jump the gun until you're ready. This doesn't mean to become paralyzed by perfection, but rather to pay attention to and take seriously the importance of the details. The details that even the playing field, that lay the groundwork for a smooth entry or an easy read or an inviting cover letter or compelling first interview or smooth-sailing presentation or consistent workout schedule.
Bottom line, it's doing everything within your power, to powerfully put your best self forward always and in all ways.