Taylor SwiftSunday night 60 Minutes did a special report about Taylor Swift. I am not a big country music fan–although I do admit to knowing almost all the words to every Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton song–but what fascinated me about Taylor was that she controls her life and sings about it at such a young age.

At the age of 13, Taylor had what most recording artists dream about, a recording contract with one of the largest record companies in the world. By the time she was 14 she didn’t renew the contract because RCA didn’t let her write and sing her own songs. She knew what she wanted and wouldn’t let anyone derail her ride.

Today, Taylor is her own manager. She controls everything. By 2010 Swift took home four Grammys, had a big screen debut in Valentines Day, and was on the cover of almost every major magazine including People and Rolling Stone. Now she is worth $70 million and ranked by Forbes as the 7th more powerful celebrity in the world. Not too bad for someone that just turned 21.

So, you may ask, what’s the point? Fair enough. Here’s someone, at the age of 13, that took control of their life, got rejected, fought big corporations and dealt with the same frustrations that you and I faced during the past few years but came out on top. She became the pilot of her life. She focused on one direction, and took advantage of every opportunity while handling rejections.

As I said, I am not a big fan of country music but there is always a message in the lyrics. They don’t yell at you, they don’t swear at you–what they usually do is guide you to a better understanding of what to do when you lose you dog, your job and your wife. So, as the old joke goes, play the song backwards and learn how to find the dog, reinvent your job and tell your wife you love her.

My favorite Kenny Rogers song is the “The Greatest”. I think the message today is still important. “He makes no excuses, He shows no fears, He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers.” 

It’s time for all of us to become #1…especially to ourselves. After all Shift Happens! even if you aren’t a 13 year old country singer superstar.

The Greatest