No one can deny that Taylor Swift has achieved an incredible level of success in her 26 years.
She’s been arguably the biggest name in music for some time now, the world watching with probing eyes as she navigates her personal and professional life with grace and aplomb.
But you don’t have to be an über-famous superstar to apply Swift’s hard-won wisdom to your own life. Take these five lessons and prepare to take on the world on your own terms:
Choose a lane – and own it.
She first catapulted to success as a country singer, but TSwift’s vision for her career evolved as she grew older, and she wasn’t about to let record execs make her take steps back. The singer revealed to GQ that she had to fight to make 1989 a purely pop album:
“I’d go into the label office, and they were like, ‘Can we talk about putting a fiddle and a steel-guitar solo on ‘Shake It Off’ to service country radio?’ I was trying to make the most honest record I could possibly make, and they were kind of asking me to be a little disingenuous about it: ‘Let’s capitalize on both markets.’ No, let’s not. Let’s choose a lane.”
You might not be worrying about making your next smash hit “sonically cohesive,” but you can follow Swift’s advice in other areas of life by deciding on a plan for yourself and defending that goal.
Perfect your power stance.
Take it from the girl who routinely slays in front of tens of thousands of people: confidence is all in the power pose. Just check out the evidence of Swift’s can-do body language:
Adopt her Superwoman-esque style whenever you need a boost of self-assuredness.
Only compare yourself to one person: you.
Trying to live up to someone else’s image will get you nowhere. Swift is surrounded by some of the most baller women on the planet, but she doesn’t waste time with envy, idolization or comparison:
“I surround myself with smart, beautiful, passionate, driven, ambitious women. Other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you and inspire you rather than threaten you and make you feel like you’re immediately being compared to them. The only thing I compare myself to is me, two years ago, or me one year ago,” she told TIME. Follow her example in realizing true growth only happens when you rely on your past self to set the standard for comparison.
Share your spotlight.
As most of the world probably knows, Swift invited a near-army of surprise guests to join her on the 1989 tour stage. While we commend her for not succumbing to attention-hogitis, some critics poked fun at her many onstage visitors. But Swift is brushing off those haters.
“There’s really nothing I can do about it, because I’m living my life the way I want to live it,” she told NME. “If you want to be snarky about me sharing my stage with other artists and giving these fans – who’ve paid their own money to see a show – more than they expected to see that night, if you’d like to be snarky about that, then go ahead.” Just like Swift, understand that allowing others to share in your special moments exponentially increases everyone’s enjoyment, and ignore the naysayers who would have you believe otherwise.
Strategize, even if it inspires criticism.
“Am I shooting from the hip? Would any of this have happened if I was? In that sense, I do think about things before they happen,” Swift told GQ about her career. “You can be accidentally successful for three or four years. Accidents happen. But careers take hard work.”
We like to think of the star as one of the luckiest girls in the world, and she is, to be sure, but that’s only part of the equation that adds up to her mega success. Swift puts an immense amount of thought, calculation and care into her work, and we wouldn’t have the obsession-worthy albums we have today if she didn’t. If you want to be as satisfied as Swift with your pursuits, get to the drawing board and put your smarts toward strategizing.