4 unexpected lessons we can all learn from Beyonce’s career

“Beyonce isn’t scared to celebrate her ‘paper’ and her personal successes. She is consistently proud of her own hustle.”

Photo: Beyonce

I would write an introduction for Beyonce, but you all know who she is. As one of the world’s most famous pop stars, she has earned a net worth of over $350 million. Since coming on the music scene in 1997, Beyonce has seen this success by capitalizing on her art and her personal brand – both of which are fueled by her sincere passion for her life’s work.

We could all learn a thing or two from the superstar’s business success. As she’s turning 37, here are the biggest lessons from Beyonce’s stellar career so far.

Make space for yourself

The trailer for Beyonce’s documentary (because, of course, she has a documentary) closes with a quote this pop powerhouse lives by: “Power is not given to you. You have to take it.”

No one asked Beyonce to be the biggest black pop star of our time. In fact, lots of people probably preferred that she failed. She went out and made a spot for herself, rather than sitting around and waiting for the industry to invite her in. And despite never being celebrated by the Academy, she keeps pushing and demanding that she’s a major voice in pop music.

Similarly, no one told Beyonce she needed to expand her portfolio. She did it to make herself as successful as possible. Now, she owns a clothing line, a record label, a streaming service, and a subscription-only website. That’s what I call maximizing your net worth.

If we can learn anything from Beyonce, it’s that no one is going to beg you to be the best you can be. No one is going to be you to make it big, or to do that thing you’ve always been wanting to do. You have to go out and get it yourself. And when someone doesn’t invite you to the table, you need to drag a chair up and sit yourself at it. Even when it’s hard.

Be you

One of the most powerful parts of Beyonce’s brand is that she is wholly herself. She broke off from Destiny’s Child to pursue the art she wanted to create, and she has only gotten more successful as she’s revealed more of herself in her work. Lemonade, her most personal album to date, was her best-selling and most critically-acclaimed.

Can you imagine if Beyonce would’ve hidden her passion and her personality? Can you imagine if she would’ve stayed the lead singer of Destiny’s Child, instead of pursuing what she cared about and what she wanted? Beyonce’s success being herself proves that people will always see when your personality and passion shine through. You have to allow yourself to stand out a little to reach your max potential.

Hard work will be recognized

We often hear advice to work smart rather than working hard. A “wise person” will often suggest that strong soft skills can make up for effort wasted on “the small things.”

But Beyonce’s reputation as one of the most meticulous – and therefore, most awe-inspiring – performers to date proves that hard work will be recognized by people who admire your work, and will catch the eyes of those who don’t know you.

A clear example? Beyonce’s 2018 Coachella performance caught the eyes of critics for her dedicated performance. She was credited for completely changing the festival, and really all festivals. She completely reset the standard for pop performances with one set. The New York Times said of the performance: “Some superstars prize effortlessness, but Beyoncé shows her work — the cameras captured the force and determination in her dancing, and also her sweat…. Occasionally her set was punctuated with fireworks that, compared with what was happening onstage, seemed dull.”

However, it’s not just Coachella that Bey slayed. Every show on her tour is touted as being just as impressive, allowing her to sell out massive stadiums. Rolling Stone said of the On The Run II Tour, “Indeed, such was the sensory overload that occasionally you felt, as with an all-action blockbuster movie, that you might need to see this tour more than once to catch every nuance.”

Own your success

Beyonce has been a loud and proud feminist for years. On her highly praised album, Beyonce, she features a narration by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that loudly proclaims a feminist is a “person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

And one of the ways Beyonce ensures women see economic equality is to lead by example. She makes it a point to show women that you don’t need to be scared of boasting about your accomplishments. In fact, that’s how we all move up – on the corporate ladder, and in life. Beyonce isn’t scared to celebrate her “paper” and her personal successes. She is consistently proud of her own hustle, and isn’t scared to use her past accomplishments to prove her worth.

She would tell you to ask for that raise. Go prove you deserve that promotion. Do anything you can to get that money, girlfriend!

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.