If you didn’t watch the VMAs (Video Music Awards) last weekend, then you missed an important career coaching session from Lady Gaga. It doesn’t matter what you think of the controversial artist who has risen to mega-stardom in the last few years. The fact is, she can teach you a thing or two (or three!) about career development – and she sure does make a splash doing it!
Dress Like a Man = Delivering the Unexpected
In her opening performance (and throughout the entire show), Lady Gaga was dressed as a man. Up until now, you could guarantee she would wear something outrageous. Thus, the pressure was on for her to keep up the trend. And she did it, by doing the unexpected – being the complete opposite of herself. Now, am I suggesting you all do the same? Of course not! But, the concept of recognizing the need to get people’s attention if you want them to listen to you should not be lost here.
You can use this principal to step back and contemplate what you are currently doing to get eyeballs and ear canals on you. Ask yourself the following, “If you are working, what are you doing to make your boss and co-workers pay attention to you? If you are between jobs, what kind of impression are you making when you network?” While you don’t have to dress crazy or act outlandish, you do need to seriously evaluate how you can take each interaction up a notch and make yourself more memorable.
Lady Gaga Career Takeaway #1: It’s your job to get people’s attention.
Stand for Something & Don’t Be Shy About It
It’s no secret Lady Gaga is all about self-expression and equality. She did an entire tour around the world about bringing together people who feel like misfits or social outcasts. She is an artist who loves to perform using this theme. Her personal brand is clear because she has made it easy to understand what she believes in. In the opening of the VMAs, Lady Gaga did a monologue. And of course, it was about this very subject. She sticks with her theme and continues to educate people on it. This is personal branding at its best – and probably the single biggest mistake the average professional is making. If you don’t stand for something in your work, you don’t have the ability to position yourself as an expert. You have no real reason to stand up and make statements and take actions that will define you as someone to pay attention to. So, as scary as it may seem to articulate your beliefs (especially, knowing some will agree and some won’t), it must be done if you want to move forward in your career. Staying “under the radar” by being adaptable, flexible and having no voice is the fastest way to a dead-end career.
Lady Gaga Career Takeaway #2: Build your professional platform on a set of beliefs you can talk about constantly.
Want to Be Likable? Gush Over Your Peers
No matter how much you may dislike Lady Gaga’s music or persona, you really can’t hate a person who has such admiration and respect for her peers as she does. Given her current stardom, it would be easy to see her take on a better-than mentality, but she truly loves other artists and pays them public compliments incessantly. At the VMAs she got to give a fellow female icon, Brittney Spears a lifetime achievement award. It was clear she loved doing it as she showered Brittney with praise for what she had given the entertainment industry. I don’t care who you are, one of the fastest ways to get people to like you is to hear you pay someone else a compliment. When you have the confidence and presence of mind to recognize others for their hard work, you say a lot about your character and professionalism.
Lady Gaga Career Takeaway #3: Complimenting others improves your professional credibility.
Lady Gaga Proves the Following
The one thing you can say about Lady Gaga is she proves we can all build a powerful personal brand on our own terms – and earn respect for it too. Using the tips above, Lady Gaga has turned her talents, tenacity and good timing into one of the most recognizable personal brands in the world. So, love her or hate her, the reality is, as a career coach she can teach us all a few things about career development.
Now, Let’s Put Gaga’s Approach into Practice
If you’re one of our CareerHMO.com members, this is a simple reminder you already have your very own group of talent agents (a.k.a. career coaches) to help you define and promote your personal brand. We know it can be hard to figure this out on your own. Even the mega-stars have entourages of people helping them, right? That’s why you should continue to work with us to ensure you are sending the right message.