I admit that I had never seen Lady Gaga speak until last night when I tuned in to 60 Minutes. And I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. She impressed me with her authenticity, her passion, and her outrageous, relentless confidence. While she admits to feeling insecure at times, it is hard to see her vulnerabilities, as she keeps them veiled beneath an exterior of verve and candor. As she spoke, under the surface of her words was a message that resonates with those struggling to find a place in the world. I can clearly see why she reaches people—her message offers hope and reassurance to anyone who needs a boost and an ally…anyone who feels the least bit disenfranchised. Having overcome what for some would have been debilitating hardships as a teenager, she has parlayed her pain into fame.
After the extremely well placed interview with Anderson Cooper, I decided to stay tuned to the Grammy Awards to see if she could pull it off. And she most definitely did. Spellbinding costumes, staging, lights, and an incredible corps of dancers commanded the stage, leaving me more breathless than the performers. Yes, there were remnants of Madonna and a Michael Jackson-esque burlesque, but this show was pure and original. Lady Gaga did not hold back for a second, nor did she censure her impulses. For a generation of young women who are struggling to find their passion and self-confidence, she grants them permission to be strong and a little outrageous.
In essence, Lady Gaga gave us all a special gift—the gift of inspiration. As public speakers, we can learn much from and be inspired by Lady Gaga. And one of the greatest messages we can take away is to do what she does—that is, don’t hold back. Express yourself a little more and share your passion in a passionate way.
So many of my clients love what they do, love being experts in their field, love their industries, love their customers, and love their products, yet they hold back their professional passions. “Reserve” is a watchword of the corporate and professional experience.
Take it from a fearless performer. Your message counts. As Lady Gaga tells us, “Don’t be a drag; be a queen.”