Professional Development 101... Act Like Lizzo!
YES, you read that correctly... intrigued? I was. Keep reading.
I participate in multiple professional development sessions a year— usually perks of my primary 9-5 job— and I use those sessions to pull together the best advice for growth in my career. Professional development refers to any training, certifications and education that an employee uses to succeed in his or her professional career. At my latest session, I got the most absurd, yet accurate, advice to date.
“Want to know the key to your next promotion? ... you should BE LIKE LIZZO.”
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of singer / performer Lizzo?
Curvey size woman
wild and free persona
[insert your words here]
I am sure that majority of the adjectives that comes to mind might work for stage performance, but if you are like me, you can’t fathom how any of them fit as professional development advice. #yallpaidforthis? Yet, that was advice I received from a professional development coach— “Kristina, you should BE LIKE LIZZO.”
What in the Actual F? 🤷🏽♀️
Trust me when I say my initial reaction wasn’t to take heed but hear me out. I asked a few questions— I needed to check that me and this middle aged white lady were talking about the same flute playing twerk queen! Like LIZZO Lizzo? @lizzobeeating LIZZO? Then as the conversation continued, I got to the root of the advice and then... BAM 🧩 it started to make sense.
This particular training course was intended to bring forth my truest self and improve my executive presence with power, leadership and zero give-a-fucks. 💯
Executive presence is an aura that shows everyone, organically, who is in charge, confident and capable of leading others. Lizzo’s presence on stage is memorizing. She has a lighthearted but no nonsense approach to her music and style. She is authentically herself and that persona is truthful, honest, blunt yet still charismatic. Showing off my own dynamic executive presence required all of that from me. She was the modern day example of what a young millennial professional woman could aspire to be-- more or less 😬.
The goal of this advice was to drive authenticity in your own skin; what that meant was most easily described to me to “be like LIZZO”.
Finding my version of executive precence didn’t mean to act stuffy or bossy but to be yourself and self- advocate for all my professional endeavors. It meant for me to perform an embodiment of some of the most raw lyrics found in Lizzo songs.
This is what that advice meant to me:
Lizzo Lyric - 🟢 ”just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that bitch”🟢 I need to remind myself why I am in the rooms I am in — I am a Senior Vice President of Privacy & Compliance Services. I manage a team of people globally. I was interviewed by 6 people and I applied to a posting against 56 other candidates.... and they picked ME! Reminding yourself who are you is not bragging.. it’s self affirmation. It’s not a mistake. YOU aren’t here by mistake! Your input is valued. Your input is needed. THEY will miss you when you are not in the room and until that day comes, they will value you while you are here. Repeat it. Again. Again. ✅
Lizzo Lyric -🟢 “Go on dust your shoulders off, keep it moving” 🟢 perfection isn’t a goal where I am right now. Remove the stress of looking or sounding like perfection - When I focused solely on the CONTENT of what I present instead of how I was speaking, my audience was always more receptive. Guess what, authentic me still stumbles and says umm and like. I’m a work in progress. I dust it off and keep it going. You should as well.✅
Lizzo Lyric -🟢 “If I'm shinin', everybody gonna shine (yeah, I'm goals)” 🟢 my goals are my boss’ goals and my team goals are my company goals— if you are going to work 40+ hours a week at a company, your goals need to all align otherwise it’s a waste of time. We all need to be on the same page. I promise my team every quarter— if I’m shining we all shining! If they eat, we all eat. That’s the type of manager I am... find you a good boss!💚
All of that to say, this professional development advice meant more to me than LEAN IN. No shade to Sheryl, but Leaning In didn’t touch my soul. It didn’t speak to me... hell I was so far leaning on the table my elbows were sore but I lacked the context to what that whole mantra was supposed to mean to a person with my story. I’m a shy, some what introverted black girl, but I know my shit. Leading with “I know my shit” was something Lizzo would say or do— or maybe if I met her it’s completely NOT what she would do but the advice works either way. I heard it and now I’m sharing it.
This whole corporate life will all make sense the more pieces come together.