January 2023 Roundup

On the reading front, I have to admit that January has been lackluster at best. I finished reading Chuck Wendig’s Wayward, which I’d started in December. It’s the sequel to Wanderers.

As much as I loved Wanderers and was eager to revisit that world, the end of Wayward felt rushed to me. One particular story line wrapped up a bit too neatly for my tastes, and a second doesn’t quite make sense to me.

But, I’ll cut Wendig some slack because I know from following his blog and social media accounts that writing this sequel was tough. And, I think the story line that didn’t quite make sense might be deliberately odd in case the publisher wants a third book.

I’m currently reading Wendig’s Blackbirds. It’s an older series featuring Miriam Black, and I’m struggling to get into it. Perhaps it’s too dark for my current mood or perhaps I should have read a different author since I just spent so much time with his voice in my ear.

On the viewing front, Jen and I watched seasons two and three of A Discovery of Witches using the trial version of AMC+. We also watched Star Wars: Andor and Willow on Disney+. We’re caught up on Central Park, Kung Fu, The Equalizer, and Abbott Elementary.

We’re still nibbling away at The Sandman, and I can’t really get Jen to watch season 3 of Derry Girls because she’s not ready to let go of it. We’re almost caught up on Mythic Quest. We still need to get back to the final season of Killing Eve, the last two seasons of Locke & Key, and I think two or three seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale.

We’re also five episodes into Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls on AmazonPrime and loving it. Folks can hate Lizzo for a lot of reasons, but I truly think that her show should be mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to run a business, manage a team, or lead a group.

The entire premise of the space she’s set up for the dancers aspiring to join her dance team on tour is an outstanding example of someone leading a team the right way.

From the start, she tells the dancers that as a part of her team, there is no toxicity. She’s about building a sisterhood, about lifting one another up and being authentic, honest, and vulnerable. And, she and the rest of the people that play a role in the show bring that energy to each scene.

The show throws the ten dancers into movement classes, photo shoots, and choreography rehearsals. They’re living together in a mansion that has a pool, gym, kitchen, and dance studio. The space is set up so that each dancer has room to stretch out, get stronger, and practice the new skills they’ve been tasked with learning.

They room with another dancer, and they have medics on staff if someone gets injured. (Hey, it’s dance, so of course people get injured. Dancers at this level are probably always working through some level of discomfort.)

They’re given consultations with hair, makeup, and fashion experts to create a stage persona. Veteran members of Lizzo’s dance team and her choreographer/show director come to the house and work with the aspirants to teach them new routines.

And, whenever Lizzo or a member of her team have to critique someone, they start the conversation with positive feedback, pointing out something that the dancer has already mastered, a skill she’s brought into this extended rehearsal that she can take pride in, or something about how she carries herself or has already accomplished that’s foundational to eventually being a member of Lizzo’s Big Grrrls.

Only after finding something praiseworthy will anyone on the team offer a critique. And, it’s never couched as “You’re not good enough” or “That was wrong.” Instead, they phrase the feedback along the lines of, “I have some concerns about this because of that thing that just happened. What do you think?”

The entire vibe of the show is about Lizzo and her team building ladders so that the next generation of role models, dancers, and talented women can climb up and then move ahead.

This show is one that leaders or those aspiring to lead should watch, analyze, and then try to apply to their own work.

Too many people are only concerned with their own success. They fail to remember that they’re part of a team and that everyone else on the team should also succeed. They forget that a true leader provides the tools and resources their team needs to accomplish the team goals. That when the team shines, grows, and exceeds their dreams, then the manager or leader does too.

Lizzo gets it. Her team gets it. And, they’re putting all of that knowledge to work on helping these women grow into better dancers and more confident artists. It’s a joy to watch.

What have you watched or read recently that’s left a mark?

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

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