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Monday, April 20, 2009

What Susan Boyle Can Teach Professionals

(Photo from ITV via

By now, if you use the internet regularly, you've probably seen Susan Boyle's unlikely performance on "Britain's Got Talent". The manipulation of "reality" television has become predictable at best, if not completely boring. Most people observe the cliched foreshadowing almost immediately. However, the folks at "Britian's Got Talent" took advantage of our preconceived notions and delivered a rare, legitmiate and authentic moment on television. Undoubtedly we will all get to know her better in the coming weeks since she's become an internet phenomenon with nearly 50 million views.

So what can we learn from Susan Boyle? She serves as a reminder of many different things, but the most prominent is simple: Be Yourself.

I know it's a message you've heard dozens of times from parents, counselors and afterschool specials, but their unconvincing presentation does not make the lesson any less true. Boyle has none on the ancillary qualities you'd expect from a pop singer, but has actual talent in spades. If she were discouraged because of how she stood out or tried to conform and fit in, she never would have become a star. In fact her appearance, the very thing that caused countless people to dismiss her, has now become a benefit instead of a liability. While her staying power is uncertain, she has made her distinct and lasting impression on the pop culture landscape.

Professionals, do not allow Susan Boyle to become the new Peanut Butter Jelly Time, just one of the countless viral videos you've watched on your computer. Use her perfectly illustrated experience as a motivator to further your career. What opportunities have you passed on because you don't fit the traditional mold? Are you limiting yourself even though you have the necessary talent and skills? Still afraid of pursuing your dream? No matter what anyone else has said, you are completely unique and there is at least one position out there perfectly suited to your skills and abilities. Many people never muster enough drive to pursue their goals. Will you?

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