WHAT LADY GAGA AND OPRAH CAN TEACH US ABOUT BECOMING THE BEST POSSIBLE DAD’S WE CAN BE!

I understand how this title might seem highly improbable at best!

And I’m sure some of you might be confused - or - even irritated - by the suggestion that Lady Gaga might be capable of providing a powerful example of how to become the best possible version of yourself as a dad (or in any role for that matter)!!??

So - I hope you will hear me out - and do your best to suspend any preconceived ideas or conclusions (I don’t really know anything about Gaga’s politics or whether she wears a mask - but - regardless of where she might fall on the spectrum of these issues - it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn something from her - just as I was surprised to do so myself).

As for what Lady Gaga’s story has to do with becoming the best dad/mom/person/etc., you can be - well, I guess you will just have to read through to the end to receive the big payoff in this lesson (as a bonus for doing so - I will add a free exercise that makes this all very practical and implementable).

*if I haven’t already acknowledged this - I might as well admit that I am an Oprah fan (hey - I grew up in the 90’s with strong females in my house - so, Oprah was kind of an authority figure for me - plus - she really is an excellent interviewer - and no - this doesn’t mean that you get a car - or you either!).

Okay - as I was listening to a podcast interview between Oprah Winfrey and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (you might know her as - Lady Gaga) - Stafani/Gaga revealed how she grew up feeling like a misfit and generally insecure.  When she was only 19 years-old she experienced severe trauma that severely impacted her self-image and identity.

Lady Gaga found some consolation in her love of music - but as she became more in demand for live performances - she struggled getting on stages and performing in front of audiences - as she felt like she lacked the confidence necessary to be a successful performer. In light of this - she decided to create an alter-ego (enter Lady Gaga).

The Lady Gaga alter-ego took shape as a sort of aspirational identity - where she visualized and defined who Lady Gaga was - based off who she wanted to become.

She defined Lady Gaga as being courageous, bold, confident, compassionate, kind, and resilient - and when she would go on stage - she would take on these character strengths. At some point, her public persona “merged” with her private one, so that she truly internalized “Lady Gaga.”

In the interview- Gaga revealed that she went on this journey because the felt that the “cookie cutter” identities of her childhood left her ill-equipped to deal with her trauma as an adult. She had to form a character that could not be hindered by fear of judgment from other people. And because her aspirational identity was aligned with her values - and she developed an identity based off who she wanted to be internally (i.e., describing herself through character strengths that she wanted to possess - as opposed to developing an identity that would be externally focused - like on being wealthy, famous, powerful, etc.) - when she internalized the Lady Gaga identity - she felt like the Authentic version of herself.

As a result - the success she was experiencing in her career finally aligned with how she felt about herself internally (she felt successful and happy on her terms).  Furthermore, Lady Gaga told Oprah that as she discovered her Authentic identity and purpose - she no longer felt a need to shock people with her outrageous fashion statements.  She felt more at peace with herself - and was comfortable in allowing her art to speak for itself.

Interestingly - what Lady Gaga described in her interview with Oprah - is very consistent with what I hear people say when they feel aligned with their Authentic self.  And I have to acknowledge (again!) that it’s surprising to me that I am using Lady Gaga as an example of how to discover your Authentic identity - as I knew very little about her prior to listening to this interview.

However, I found myself admiring how she went about developing her aspirational identity - and was not surprised to hear how profound the impact of her internalizing this identity was for her - as I have experienced first hand what it is like to let go of an inauthentic identity - and step forward into a better/best version of myself that has core values, virtues, and character strengths as its defining features.

Lady Gaga’s approach reminds me of the connection between authenticity and authorship (they share the same Latin root). Where choosing to live authentically isn’t passively living out a prepackaged identity where you make no contribution - but rather, it’s an ongoing creative process (where we should be the author of our self-narrative).

Which gets us to the point of this particular Father’s Day exercise!

One of the powerful lessons from Lady Gaga’s interview that resonates with me - is how she set a course for who she wanted her future self to be - by establishing her alter-ego/aspirational identity from the inside out (i.e., by defining her future self in terms of the values, virtues, and character strengths that she wanted to internalize - and she wanted to do this through an outlet that she was intrinsically motivated by - all of which describes who she wanted to become on the inside).

I don’t know if Lady Gaga had a Coach or therapist giving her some guidance in how she established her aspirational identity - but - regardless of how she did this - it was a very effective and incredibly smart way that she went about this.

In fact, I have a powerful exercise that helps individuals define their Best Possible Future Self - that is integrated into my digital course - which guides participants through a proven framework to establish a Blueprint for holistic Authentic Growth.  I have used this exercise to define the type of dad, husband, and Coach I want my future self to be - and the impact of doing this has been extraordinary (there is something really powerful that happens when you identify your aspirational future identity - and have words, action phrases, values, emotions, etc., that so clearly point you in a the direction of who you want to become - it’s kind of like pinpointing a precise location in your internal GPS program).

So - this is where I want to challenge all dad’s as we enter the Father’s Day weekend - to channel your inner Lady Gaga - and put aside 25-30 minutes - so you can chart your course ahead for becoming the type of dad that your future self is going to be eternally grateful for.

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And this exercise is not designed only for individuals who are dissatisfied with their current dad identity and role.  This exercise is remarkable for even the dads who are crushing it in their dad role (when you are successful - does that necessitate that you stop growing??).

As all parents can appreciate - the skills that worked in one phase of child raising - do not necessarily apply to another phase.  So, it’s important - even critical - to keep refining your skills, mindset, and willingness to grow in harmony with your family.

For the dads who may not have received very good role modeling for what it means to be an Authentic dad - this exercise can be a game changer - as it challenges you to use your imagination and create a compelling and inspiring description of the type of dad you could become - when you release any limiting beliefs, choose to see beyond your past, and commit to defining who you will be from the inside out (with the way this exercise is constructed - it’s meant to tap into intrinsic motivation - which defines who you autonomously desire to be - regardless of the conditions or rewards involved - so that when you are in alignment with this dad identity - you will experience inner freedom, peace, fulfillment, and happiness).

And for any non-dads out there - I strongly encourage you to complete this exercise in whatever life roles that are important to you.  This exercise has some great research behind it - and it has consistently demonstrated life enhancing benefits that often last months - and even years after completing this.

Plus, it is a Flow state exercise - that helps set the conditions necessary to achieve Flow (peak happiness, performance, engagement, and fulfillment) in whatever roles you use this for (think of that for a moment - by taking 30 minutes to complete this - it could empower you to get into Flow state in your marriage, with your family, in your work, studies, exercise, hobbies, etc. - or - perhaps - in all of the roles that are important to you!!).

In conclusion - I hope we can all appreciate the contributions that Oprah and Gaga have made in inspiring us to establish a future self that is defined from the inside out (if you need help defining these internal qualities - that’s what we do!).  And for all of us dads - please stop putting on your Poker Face (did I even get that right - is that a Gaga song??) - and start stepping into your Authentic Dad self and purpose (I promise your future self and kids will all thank you for this!).

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DrAndy@ag-thrive.com
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