She got the job. Communications director. And I’m very, very happy for her. She totally deserves it.
She worked hard to get it. She climbed the ladder one step at a time. Spoke up. Demonstrated her expertise.
She also wears heels. High ones, ones you cannot miss. Matched with her suit jacket, often paired with a fancy scarf.
You can see her walking fast, determined, from one conference room to another, carrying her iPhone everywhere she goes. Very polite about it, never looks at it when someone’s talking, but as soon as the meeting is adjourned, quickly checks her emails, reaffirming the fact she’s needed, that people are waiting for her to take big decisions.
She’s not overdoing it, she’s just a hard worker at heart, and it shows. I’m impressed.
But you cannot beat Tarzan Kay at this game. Damn, those power moves. Book her on a call, she’ll show up full make-up on, all blings out, suit up like a boss. On that Zoom video (always video, never hide behind the phone – we know you are in your PJs), you can see on her home office wall her name. You can even get Tarzan’s mugs for your morning cup of joe. The lady knows how to personal brand.
She calls it the David Bowie Maneuver. Don’t dress for the job you have, take your sparkles out for the job you want. It’s a twist on the “fake it ‘til you make it”.
It’s all about the signals you are sending out. Nature reflects that perfectly. As Godin explains on Akimbo, peacocks are great at signaling how healthy they are, so healthy they can afford to lose some precious energy on growing completely (yet beautiful) unpractical feathers.
With my Birkenstocks on all year long, my lulu leggings and my no make-up self, I unfortunately cannot aspire to become a Communications director. At least not in my office. I’ve stopped a long time ago to try to impress in my day job.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still signaling. As I learned a long time ago in my very first undergrad class, we cannot not communicate (thanks,Watzlawick). We are always sending out signals.
As I’ve learned also in my undergrad, you never know how the recipient will interpret your signal, yet you can try to control the message.
My new boss and Tarzan Kay are sending strong signals. Yes, they are dressing the part. But beyond that, when they do so, they are telling the world they care.
Yogi Bhajan says we’re wasting much of our energy on that PR campaign of ours. Trying to impress while hiding our secret agenda, which is really hidden from no one in the end. Oops. Is it that obvious to everyone what I’m up to? You do know about my plan to conquer the world wearing stretchy pants? Can’t keep on fooling you then…
That’s not what these boss ladies are doing. They’re not putting on fancy clothes and exquisite pumps to pretend to be someone they’re not.
What they’re telling the world is that they’re worth it. They’re smart, they know how to play the game, they will not let any slight detail get in the way between them and what they want. They deserve the best.
It works for them because they can back it up. Their signals are honest. What you see is what you get.
Strong signals on their own are never enough. Don’t overdo it. We can smell fake for miles around. Nevertheless, given the fact you’re always broadcasting, you do want to make sure the outside matches the inside. You don’t want to be sending out an unnecessary SOS, telling the world you’re desperate.
So come on, rockstar. Embrace the fear of being seen. Put that rad jumpsuit on and those flashy dancing shoes and show the world how awesome you are.