Shift your career into “rock star” mode with four lessons from Taylor Swift’s dating life

Want to shift your career into “rock star” mode? Consider taking lessons from Taylor Swift’s dating life. On the work front, the 26-year-old has been a star for nearly a decade, helped change the way Apple Music pays artists for streaming and earned $80 million last year with 2014’s top-selling album/tour – all at an age when over 32% of millennials are still living at home with their parents. Impressive accomplishments indeed, regardless of your opinions about Swift (full disclosure, I’m a fan so shake it off, haters). When it comes to her personal life, there is a goldmine of career advice to be gleaned. Four tidbits include:

  1. Capitalize on unexpected opportunities. Swift has been in the headlines a lot lately for her new relationship with British actor Tom Hiddleston (star of the television show Night Manager, Loki from the Thor movie franchise and a much rumored successor to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in case you are a pop culture neophyte). Much of the media hype is due to announcing the breakup from previous boyfriend Calvin Harris just a few weeks before she and Hiddleston were spotted canoodling in public. Timing might not be ideal in terms of public perception, but this DNA-blessed duo decided to go for it. The same is true in your career. If you get the opportunity to lead a highly visible project ahead of others in the corporate hierarchy, go for it. When the job of your dreams appears two years ahead of schedule, embrace the opportunity. Be willing to jump in and claim what your heart desires at work.
  2. Share your enthusiasm. At a recent company meeting, I was delighted to learn how strongly committed one of our Vice Presidents is committed to sustainability when he asked thoughtful, informed questions about that topic although it falls outside of his functional area. Last week, a Manager in Finance with a passion for corporate culture took the initiative to research and create a presentation about engaging employees using more open, collaborative workspaces that emphasized natural lighting. Both of these individuals were already recognized for their excellent work. Sharing their thinking about areas outside of their job description makes them stand out even more. Swift doesn’t hesitate to share the highlights of relationships via Instagram and Twitter, understanding that it makes her more authentic and forges a deeper connection with fans.
  3. Use setbacks as creative inspiration. The pop-country crossover star scored a slew of number one hits inspired by relationships that didn’t end so well. Some of your best career insights can arise from work-related challenges and upheavals. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 10% of the population was unemployed at the height of the Great Recession in October 2009. In 2015, major companies like American Express, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble had large workforce layoffs. Bottom-line, the chances are good that most of us have already or will face an involuntary job loss at some point. While devastating at the time, the change can force you to take a fresh perspective on what truly floats your boat at work. In addition, think about the great bosses that you want to emulate and other supervisors that inadvertently taught you how not to lead others. How have those experiences impact your behavior and relationships at work today?
  4. Surround yourself with support. From supermodels and actresses to fellow songbirds, Swift has a tight-knit group of BFF’s known as her “squad” that offer support and camaraderie during romantic highs and lows. Creating and nurturing a network of supportive co-workers, allies and mentors is essential to thriving long-term in your career. Have lunch with people from other departments you would like to collaborate with more. Give advice to job seekers in your field. Reach out to connect with others you admire via LinkedIn. Thank the individuals that have helped you along the way and stay in touch.

No doubt Taylor Swift has many music and business milestones ahead, all while we continue to read about her affairs of the heart. What behaviors or events have helped shift your career into “rock star” mode?

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