I really do think one of the best ways to enhance the employee experience and your workplace is to ensure we’re also prioritizing life experiences—the good stuff that happens outside of work—and letting those moments really inform and inspire us. And I had the amazing fortune recently, speaking of incredible experiences, of seeing Taylor Swift live. All the eras. And it truly was unforgettable.
She’s a tremendous performer. Kind of stays with you for days. And I’ve been noticing my brain has started thinking about my work through the lens—and the wisdom—of her songs.
Today, I’d love to share some workplace-related reminders I feel like I took away from her tour. And while I’m not presently wearing a Bejeweled body suit, I’m hoping these insights manage to find you All Too Well.
Oh—and anything that sounds weird? Probably a reference to a lyric of hers.
OK, here goes:
1. Let’s start with Karma.
For me, it’s not really boyfriend or cat. But I do believe it’s real. As in—what you give is what you get.
I did an episode a while back on being a giver. It was based largely on Adam Grant’s research which demonstrates that being a giver at work actually helps you to get ahead.
Listen to that episode in this player while you read:
So this one is a reminder that being mindful of the needs of others—and going out of your way to attend to those needs—is an amazing way to drive your own success.
And these can be small actions and gestures. Things like…
- Noticing a colleague hasn’t spoken yet in a meeting and just checking in—asking if they have something they’d like to add.
- Inviting colleagues from other parts of the organization to participate in a brainstorm you’re running—capturing a broader range of ideas early.
- Checking in on a teammate who has been through something recently.
- Offering a constructive piece of feedback to someone whose performance you know will improve if they just action it.
- Sharing a book or podcast recommendation with someone who could really benefit from it.
All of these are generous acts. And note how they benefit both you and the recipient. Good karma doesn’t have to mean you suffer. It just means you’re being thoughtful beyond your own immediate needs.
2. Next up: Shake it Off
Friends, these days so many of us are working in industries and companies that require agility. We have to be testing, experimenting, learning as we go. Relatively few of us are working on assembly lines anymore.
Certain professions, of course, require us to follow the instructions and follow them perfectly. Like, I strongly prefer my pilot not to be testing and learning as we journey 10,000 feet in the air.
But for most of us, the world of work has changed significantly over the past few years. And we’ve all had to be innovating on how, when, and where we get things done.
Innovating requires an appetite for experimentation. Some will succeed and others won’t. So when something doesn’t land as you’d planned it, you have to be able to shake it off. Or, as Ted Lasso might say, be a goldfish.
Spinning in failure prevents us from learning—from picking ourselves up and trying again. You know. Shaking it off.
3. OK, next up? Tolerate It.
My favorite lyric here? “You assume I’m fine. But what would you do if I break free?”
Now granted, Taylor’s context is romantic. But the question’s a valid one if you imagine your leader—not Lover—on the other side.
Especially in a recession (which we may or may not be dancing with at the moment), too many companies assume they can neglect to care for their people. Because who’s gonna leave now?
But they’re wrong. Or at least I hope they are.
If something in your experience is off. Don’t tolerate it. Get your feedback where it needs to be heard.
Are you struggling to deliver results? Is your leader not giving you the feedback you need to improve? Are meetings too many, too long, too purposeless? Are boundaries not being respected?
Your experience is valid in any economy. And your company needs you to have the courage to express it. Constructively. Like, with specific ideas on how it can improve.
Modern Mentor Episode 704 is for everyone who’s ever had a hard conversation at work. Which is everyone. Listen in this player as you read on:
4. Can we talk Style?
Because this one for me is all about your personal brand.
Red lips and short skirts are your call to make. I don’t advise in that arena.
But your professional style—like how you present yourself—your expertise, your story, your ambition? This needs to be uniquely yours.
So how are you showing up on LinkedIn? Also, are you on LinkedIn? I hope so. What experiences are you sharing? What articles are you posting? What posts are you commenting on? Who is in your network?
The answers to all of these should be intentional.
You’ve done lots of things. But highlight the ones that represent not just what you’ve done, but what you want to do more of.
I’m sure you’re widely read. But make sure you’re sharing articles that represent an area of expertise you’re striving to showcase.
Comment on posts by friends or your organization. But also be sure to comment on posts attached to hashtags you care about. Put yourself in conversations strategically.
Think LinkedIn is just for job seekers and salespeople? Think again. LinkedIn expert and ghostwriter Emily Crookston came on the podcast to help you understand who LinkedIn is really for (everyone!) and how to use it in order to establish your voice, grow your brand, expand your network, and more. Listen to our chat in this player:
And grow your network thoughtfully—even your digital one. Connect with experts in your field. Connect with recruiters in your desired companies. Connect with people who could someday be your partners or clients or collaborators.
Show off that professional style!
5. Let’s round it out with Anti-hero.
Because you deserve to be rooted for!
They say success comes down to who you know. And I don’t disagree. I just think there’s some nuance to the whole “who you know” part.
Like, it’s not just about knowing people, but about cultivating a network of champions, supporters, advocates, sponsors. You want people who don’t just know your name, but are actively championing your success.
Who are you proactively connecting with that will drop your name the next time a big opportunity arises? Who will go out of their way to introduce you to a hiring leader? Who will passionately recommend you, who will give you the hard feedback because they care about making you the best version of you?
This all comes back, of course, to karma. When you’re mindful of the needs of others, when you show up as a giver, it makes others want to give in return.
Find these people, build these symbiotic relationships. Be giving to them. And allow them the space to return the favor.
Be the hero. Not the anti.