Glow is the latest Netflix original hit comedy. It tells the fictional story of 1980s women’s wrestling. It’s funny, thoughtful and at times caustic. It’s also got plenty of professional lessons worth considering. Here are four professional lessons from Glow.
Have a great story
All great wrestlers have great stories. In Glow, the stories of the various wrestlers mix irony and sarcasm with humor. Whether it’s the “as American as Apple Pie” Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan or the over-the-top Russian stereotype of Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder, it’s clear that the Glow wrestlers have plenty of tales to tell. Their stories make them memorable and allow the audience to connect with them on an emotional level. Same lessons can apply to our own persona and career stories. Consider your own professional story via your digital footprint. Does it reflect who you are and where you want to be 5 years from now? If not, consider cultivating it. Consider your career highlights over the past five years and how they accentuate your transferable skills. What sorts of things differentiate you from others in your field? A good story also allows us to verbally highlight our resume in a conversational and accessible way.
Always be learning
Many of the women auditioning for the wrestling show are wary of the concept – and with good reason. As originally presented, the gig appears to be as sexist as it is amateur. Few of the wrestlers know anything about the sport and a number of them express concerns about the “vision” of the director Sam Sylvia. But rather than quitting, they stick with it. They retain an open mind and work to help Sylvia build the show from the ground up. They also spend time observing others who’ve mastered what they’re trying to learn. When Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan visits a men’s professional wrestling match, she has an epiphany: professional wrestling isn’t that much different from the soap operas she starred in. By being open to a new idea and observant, she quickly discovers the formula for success in her new role. Being open minded is crucial – particularly if your assignment or current task isn’t inspirational. If you find yourself slipping into cynicism about the work, check yourself.
Practice makes perfect
None of the wrestlers – with the exception Carmen “Machu Picchu” Wade and Cherry Bang – know much about wrestling. But that doesn’t stop them from embracing their new roles. Throughout the series the women constantly practice their wrestling moves, back stories and dramatic flair. Indeed, Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder and Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan take it to the next level, enlisting their friend’s professional wrestling brothers to help improve their skills in the ring.With dogged persistence they practice their back-flip tackles over and over again until they’re perfect. It’s a lesson for us all. If you are having trouble with a particular task, don’t ignore it or quit prematurely. Embrace it. Find a way to build routine practice into your day. The more you do it, the better you’ll become and the more confident you’ll be.
Put your personal feelings aside
Being cheated on by your husband is pretty terrible, but being cheated on by your husband AND your best friend is even worse. That’s what happens to Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan in the first episode of Glow, but she doesn’t let it slow her down – at least not in the long run. While she despises Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder, she also realizes that teaming up with her is critical for her success. Eagan realizes bad personal feelings don’t necessarily negate collaboration. Same goes for building resilient communities at work or in your neighbourhood. You might not like the people with whom you’re collaborating, but if their skills, knowledge and potential can help the you and the team achieve great result then you need to find a way to work together. Can you control your own personal animosity to get the job done? If the answer’s yes, consciously focus on the work – not your beef. Approach your (annoying) collaborator dispassionately and professionally.