Last week, the world suffered a great loss when Alan Rickman passed away, losing his battle with cancer. His friends and loved ones knew him as a charitable man and a loyal friend, while his fans knew him as a talented actor. Looking back at all of his accomplishments, I only thought it fitting to pay tribute to all that he has done by sharing three career and life lessons I learned from Rickman himself.
#1: Make time for your hobbies and interests.
Did you know that Rickman actually set up a Graphic Design company with his friends? That’s right. Before becoming an actor, 23-year old Rickman founded Graphiti after studying graphic design and graduating from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and then the Royal College of Art. For three years, he worked with his friends on Graphiti and was an actor at the same time before deciding to attend drama school to profesionally pursue acting. Even though he eventually dedicated most of his life to acting, he still dedicated time for his love of graphic design.
He knew he wanted to be an actor since the age of 7 but “there were other roads that had to be traveled first,” Rickman said and graphic design was one of those roads. He balanced his time between doing some theatre acting as well as Graphiti. This balance is something we should all take to heart. Most of us, if not everyone, has multiple hobbies and interests. We don’t have to give up one hobby or interest over the other. Making time, no matter how little, for your multiple passions is possible and is highly encouraged.
#2: It’s never too late to go after what you want.
Rickman had numerous famous roles as an actor, but he struggled before getting there. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at a late age 28 years old after all his years of pursuing graphic design and theatre roles. Not only that, but he starred in his first film at 42 years old, Die Hard.
Every single one of us struggles before achieving success, whether it’s with work, friends, family, or just with life in general. Sometimes or most of the time, we let those struggles get in the way of our passion and goals. Eventually, we get tired of going after what we want because we think it’s too late. What Alan Rickman proved to all of us is that it’s never too late to go after what you want. All the experiences you gained along the way is exactly what you need now to pursue what you’ve always wanted to do.
#3: Always give back.
Rickman was an actor of over 50 different TV shows and movies, connecting him to a multitude of fellow actors and actresses. Yet whenever any of them needed his help, he went above and beyond to offer what he could.
Sean Biggerstaff, who played Oliver Wood for the first two Harry Potter films, cited a great example. Biggerstaff was 13 years old when he first started working with Rickman. Ever since then, Rickman would book shows for Biggerstaff and his friends to see, toured them around New York, and even took them on boat rides. However, the most notable thing Biggerstaff remembers Rickman doing was giving advice for a play Biggerstaff’s friend, Donny, wanted to put out. By giving advice, we mean Rickman sent a “printed copy of the play with mountains of suggested edits, cuts and thoughts scrawled across it in his handwriting, and a two page letter with praise for Donny and advice on who to take it to.” Rickman was also the Honorary President of International Performers Aid Trust, an organization assisting artists and performers challenged by poverty.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that no matter how successful you get, giving back and helping your friends and loved ones in their times of need means everything to them and could make them successful on their own terms as well. Who wouldn’t want to know that your friends and loved ones became successful just because you spent some time giving them advice?
Trust us, 3 lessons aren’t enough to completely honor Rickman and all that he’s done. However, we hope that these are enough for us to remember these lessons we can use for work and life. You were an incredible man, Alan Rickman. You will be remembered. Always.