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Lessons to Learn from Taylor Swift

She is too busy creating and focusing on her craft to sustain self-doubt

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It’s official, Taylor Swift is now a billionaire. Not bad for age 33. At age 14 and 15, she and her parents made the rounds to many TV and recording studios in Hollywood and in Nashville asking if she could offer a live demo. Most producers said ‘no’ and summarily dismissed her.

The take home point is that at an early age she had already intended to be a star performer. She was quoted as saying: “I’ve wanted one thing for my whole life and I’m not going to be that girl who wants one thing her whole life, then gets it, and complains.” She’s simply living out her dream. If that includes Travis Kelce, so be it.

I’m not a fan per se, but I do like several of her songs, among them Forever and Always, Sweeter Than Fiction, Red, Shake it Off, Cardigan, Style, Safe and Sound, Blank Space, and Welcome to New York. What captivates nearly everyone is her unflagging determination to offer a superior performance every time. The clever lyrical twists and catchiness transcends pop.

Not Great, But Mesmerizing

I saw her for the first time on Saturday Night Live, around 17 years ago. I only caught her performance midway, but was mesmerized. Here was a tall, slender, teenage girl, not with the world’s greatest vocals, with her guitar wailing away on a song called Forever and Always. She had such conviction in her singing that I, and apparently millions of others, was enthralled. We have all since learned that she can play numerous musical instruments and is a virtuoso pianist.

Among dozens of things that Taylor Swift does to maintain high confidence and be ultra-successful, here are a few to contemplate:

1. Stagecraft. Taylor Swift’s stage presence is extraordinary. She most definitely owns the stage, has musical talent on guitar and piano. The rest is her confidence. She is a student of effective presentation and seems not just study but mastered her show whatever the album or theme.

2. High Positive Energy. Her energy level is extraordinarily high and focused. You could say this about many singers, but if you watch any Taylor Swift performance you’ll quickly notice that she uses all 5’11” of her height and all 128 pounds of her weight in her performance. She is confident and not self conscious.

3. Connecting to You. Her connection to the audience is amazing. Through gestures, eye contact, and a variety of other stagecraft techniques, you get the sense that she is totally there, in every performance. Some singers and performers allow you to watch. Some induce you to watch. Taylor Swift performs in a way that all you want to do is watch without questioning her choices.

4. Insight and Coaching. She is a student of performance. Years back, asked to be an at-large coach on the hit television show The Voice, she astounded the four regulars coaches – Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and Blake Shelton. She could instantly assess their team members’ practice sessions and, within seconds, offer insightful suggestions that immediately improved their performances. She has stated that she makes mental notes of every performance she’s seen and her unparalleled performance wisdom belies her tender age.

5. Fearless About Change. Just when you want to put her in a category she changes and rather effectively. She is constantly evolving. Whether or not you like her music, if you take the word of top critics and music aficionados, it’s undeniable that each album has gotten better.

6. Despite the Fame. As far as one can tell, she is down-to-earth. During an interview on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, she stated that album reviews do matter, and any artist who says they don’t is not being honest. How she maintains an air of humility, and that common person touch, probably can be attributed to her parents. At some point, however, you have to concede, that she has what it takes to make herself a star.

7. Open Communication Helps and Hurts. Because she is self-disclosing, many fans gave her an immediate pass. Today, it is understood that Taylor Swift writes songs from her personal experiences that have meaning for her and, happily, also have meaning for her listeners. She has fun with it and doesn’t hide it. It works for her and evidently relates to a great portion of her audience.

8. Change is Embraced. Taylor Swift lives in the now and has a focus on the future. Her decision to abandon country for pop was done with the realization that she’ll be in the business for the long haul, and that the popular music route will enable her to grow and expand in novel ways.

Lessons For Us All

Being confident and an open communicator works for Taylor Swift. Fame aside she’s a true pro who is too busy creating and focusing on her craft to sustain self-doubt. These are lessons for all of us.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Elections

Will Democrats Do What They Must?

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On a warm August evening in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon said from the Oval Office that he was resigning, becoming the first president to do so. He confessed that he no longer had “a strong enough political base in the Congress” to finish his term.

Sen. Barry Goldwater, Ariz., the 1964 GOP presidential nominee, was a respected conservative leader in a Senate whose Republican ranks were less conservative than now. In a May 1973 interview with Time magazine, Goldwater had given an early warning, “If it can be proved that he (Nixon) lied, resignation would have to be considered. It would be quick. Everything would be over, ended. It wouldn’t drag out like impeachment.”

At a regular Senate Republican Conference lunch on august 6 of 1974, Goldwater had fumed: “There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House today!” When he went to see President Nixon, Goldwater confided, “There’s not more than 15 senators for you.” After that showdown, the curtain on President Nixon’s presidency came down three days later.

In this challenging time in our history when President Biden’s competency is under serious question, will Democrat leaders have the courage to do the same? With this report, more Democrats and Independents will be less inclined to vote for Biden. That may very well impact the future of many Democrat politicians whose own election could be impacted if their voting base stays home. After his Wednesday night address, the evidence that Biden is in trouble is plainly obvious.

President Biden’s poll numbers are now at an all time low. The shocking Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Hur report suggests that Biden should not be indicted because Biden is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” that a jury would be unlikely to convict. The Special Counsel also noted that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen;” he noted that such actions “present serious risks to national security.” It is clearly a risk for Biden to remain in office.

When President Biden addressed the country after the report was disclosed, he asserted that his memory was fine, and the report confirms that he was not indicted and did nothing wrong. His comments to the press questions were combative and defensive. He took no personal responsibility, blaming his staff for the faulty storage of classified documents. His message was strident and clear-Trump is guilty, and I did nothing wrong.

If he is not competent to stand trial for his actions, how can he be confident enough to remain president? It’s time for a private confrontation by Democrat leadership. If Biden does not listen, it is time to exercise the 25th amendment option to remove him from office.

It is not easy to use that 25th Amendment option. It is even more difficult with only 9 months before a critical national election. Waiting until the Democrat Convention in August leaves little time to right the ship and promote a replacement candidate.

Democrats, do your job to clean out your own house. President Biden is not competent to meet the challenges of our time. Do it now or pay the price in November. As Republicans, we hope you let Biden remain your candidate, but that is selfish. President Biden is our current leader and his decisions impact all of us and a world in turmoil. This isn’t about politics. We can’t afford even eleven more months of a mentally incompetent President.

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Claudine Gay, Ex-Harvard President, Will Strike it Rich in 2024

Gay will be a hot ticket at conferences leading up to the 2024 election.

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If she were a straight white male, Claudine Gay’s career in academia would have been completely finished weeks ago. Along with the presidents of MIT and (then) University of Pennsylvania, as a result of Gay’s anti-Semitism and her disastrous testimony before Congress in December, much of the country was in an uproar.

Pretzel Logic

Days later, when it was discovered that Gay had plagiarized or inappropriately paraphrased and lifted passages from other authors, from a variety of academic works, that would have sealed her fate. In this utterly illogical age of unreason, just the opposite of what ought to happen actually did happen. The Harvard bigwigs backed her!

Gay punched all of the intersectionality buttons: Black, gay, female, and what else you want to throw into the mix. So was she not terminated from her widely visible, high-profile position. Luckily for Harvard, she quit as president! She retains her cushy post as professor, however, at $900,000 per year. And more amazing good fortune likely is in store for her. She may well reap an income bonanza unlike most other college presidents in the U.S. or around the world.

You have to understand that Gay is actually a hero to many factions on the Left. Let’s see … she stood up to the man! She let Congress have it with both barrels. She defended her academic turf. She stuck with what she believes in. She didn’t kowtow to the U.S. pro-Israeli faction. She spoke her truth! My goodness, what a leader, what a noble soul, what a speaker we might have at our convention!

Media Darlings

A variety of questionable figures on the Left have become darlings to groups who lap up their every word. If you think this won’t happen with Ms. Gay, think again.

Unbelievably, the parents of Trayvon Martin became media darlings. Martin was a violent teenager who punched a bus driver in the face, stole money and other items at school, and was suspended from school at the time of his death. He met his fate while pounding George Zimmerman’s head into a sidewalk.

Democratic groups have celebrated the Martins ever since then. Their public appearances were considered to be special. In another minute, with a cracked skull, Zimmerman might have bled out and died, making Martin a murderer.

Honored at the DNC Convention

The parents of Michael Brown also made the rounds and were accorded celebrity status. The super-sized 18-year-old from Ferguson, MO had stolen cigars and choked a small Asian convenience store clerk just 10 minutes before he had tried to wrestle a gun away from an officer sitting in his police car.

Had Brown, whose fingerprints were all over the officer’s car, successfully taken the officer’s gun, Brown, too, might have been a murderer. At the Democrat National Convention attendees couldn’t get enough of Brown’s noble mother. Sadly, the city of Ferguson, MO, paid Brown’s family an extorted $1.5 million, largely due to fears of more mob violence.

If parents who’ve raised career criminals are celebrated, what are Claudine Gay’s prospects?

Prospects Aplenty

Presumably, she has no violent incidents in her past. Prior to her resignation as Harvard president she may have already, privately signed on with one of the top speaker’s bureaus from either in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C. Bureaus value having partisan speakers in their lineup when they can book such individuals at large conferences and conventions. Gay will be a hot ticket leading up to the 2024 election.

She will be featured as the head liner at many conferences.

How much can she glean from such appearances? The floor is 20 to 40 thousand per outing, but 50 to 75 thousand is within reach, of which the bureau takes 25%. At that level of earnings for a speech, she could easily exceed another $900,000 by the end of the year. Will you earn $1,800,000 in the next ten years?

Knowing No Bounds

As one audience after another offers her special treatment, her already outsized, over-privileged ego will know no bounds, and all of her past sins will be long forgotten. The groups to whom she speaks will consider themselves to have done their part in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Gay’s intersectionality seals the deal, so by any measure, it’s a win-win-win (bureau, speaker, and audience) for Leftists.

To those on the Right, such developments are sickening, but we’ve come to accept that this is the world as it is currently. With all the devastation and destruction promulgated by the Biden administration, we have much bigger fish to fry.

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