A Star is Born: What Happens When the Advisee Eclipses the Advisor?

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Ok, first off, major spoilers if you haven't seen A Star is Born…even though it's like the eighth remake of a story that has been around since the 1930's… we're not judging you, those video games weren't going to play themselves!

So, one of the themes explored in A Star is Born is what happens when Ally, the singer Jackson Maine discovered in a dive bar, eclipses his own star and becomes a larger mainstream success than him? It got our wheels turning—sure, it's great drama on the big screen, but also has practical applications in the real world, too.

Many Advisees come to Advisors when they're at the start of their career, and the Advisor is solidly entrenched in theirs. It's not out of the question to think that an Advisee could potentially eclipse their Advisor…and if that happens, what comes next? We wanted to explore that in this blog and give some advice to anyone in a similar situation.

1. You Can Give Back

Your Advisor helped you get to where you are now—they played an essential part in your journey, and undoubtedly, invested a lot of time into your progress. Just because the dynamic of the Advisor/Advisee has changed doesn't mean the relationship is finished. Far from it! You're now in a position to give something back to your Advisor. You might know someone who could help them in their professional life or provide them with an insider tip on a position about to become open that they'd be perfect for. The point is, if your relationship has been able to weather the changing dynamic where you (the Advisee) have become on a more equal footing with your Advisor, there is no reason for it to change now. In fact, the relationship will become less one-sided for the Advisor, as they’re able to reap opportunities you can help create for them. Just be prepared for the possibility of this shift to happen, probably much sooner than you can imagine—it can be weird to navigate the shifting dynamics of any relationship when circumstances change. It can throw you for a loop, but if you focus on the value each of you continue to bring to the relationship, it can help you find new footing with the person.

2. You Never Stop Learning

Just because your professional status has eclipsed your Advisor doesn't mean you aren't in a position to learn anything else from them. Remember, they played a part in getting you to where you are now—and that experience matters. With any relationship, you learn and grow from it—on both sides, and you can continue to learn even if your star rises past your Advisor’s. Presumably, you didn't ask your Advisor to join your team because you admired the job title they had—you felt that they were the right person to guide you towards success. Well, so far, so good! If their advice and guidance is still top notch, there is no reason to change the Advisor/Advisee dynamic of your relationship, now.

3. Be True to Yourself

Time marches on, and unfortunately, relationships can run their course. Like with A Star is Born, sometimes the Advisor and Advisee are unable to maintain a productive relationship as the Advisee’s star rises. If you feel like this is happening to you, take a moment and take stock. Is the relationship changing because of your Advisor’s inability to accept your newfound status; or has your behavior changed, and the Advisor is struggling to find common ground with you as a result?

If it’s the latter, and you want to keep your Advisor on your team, you need to figure out how you navigate your newfound position within the relationship and have an honest discussion with your Advisor. It can help you redefine the nature of your partnership, which may strengthen it overall.

If it’s the former, you have a harder choice to make. You can’t control other people’s feelings or behavior, and you need to decide if your relationship can continue in the current Advisor/Advisee structure. That’s always a tough decision, but the success of the Advisor/Advisee relationship hinges on having a dynamic that you feel comfortable in; and as much as we’d like to give you a definitive answer on what to do in this circumstance, only you can make that call for yourself.

Ok, yes, this blog was inspired by A Star is Born, but hopefully reading it resulted in 100% less tears than watching that movie, because yikes. That ending was a punch to the gut! Success can be a double-edged sword, and we sincerely hope that when you achieve it, your team is strong enough to remain intact to help you tackle what comes next (because there is always a next!) Regardless, relationships change as we continue on our paths, and we hope that this blog provided a bit of guidance for that occasion.

Agree, disagree, think Bradley Cooper or Gaga are going to take home Oscars? Let us know in the comments below!