Career Lessons I Learned From A Disney Princess

Bao Art Photo

Today I’m sharing some inspiration from my improvisational theater class that you can use in your own career.

The assignment: One actor asks and gets everything she wants. The other actor gives it to her.

Suggestion from the audience: Disneyland.

First image that comes to my mind is ‘princess’.

 I demurely and apologetically ask my scene partner:

“This is a great dress. I couldn’t be princess without your help.”

“No, no, no!” Shouts my instructor off stage.  “You are a princess and you deserve everything your heart desires. Now ask for it!”

“I want gold ribbons. Get me gold ribbons!” I demand.

“Diamonds. Those ribbons aren’t enough. I want 56 karat diamonds!”. …..and the game ensues.


At the scene end my improv instructor asks me: “You have a hard time asking for things don’t you?”  Ugh! Me, who teaches how to ask for pay raises for a living, having a hard time asking for things!

Here are the career lessons I learned that day as a Disney Princess.

  1. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll get what you want, ask anyway. This does not come naturally to many of us including me. We are not a demanding bunch we readers of this blog post/email. Some of us take jobs for minimum wage (63% of min. wage earners are women) because we can’t imagine getting a higher paying job. Some of us earn small incomes because we work for non-profits. Our altruistic reasons for working for good is our excuse for our little paychecks. Some of us even give up our dreams so that our kids and husbands can fulfill theirs. Triple Ugh! Career lesson: Whether it’s a fast food restaurant, a cancer society or corporate headquarters at a fortune 500, ask for what you’re worth. You have my permission.
  2. Complements are hard to take sometimes but do take them.  Who am I to be so great? At the end of one of our exercises at improv class my instructor asked me to stand and soak in the applause that my classmates were instructed to shower upon me. I sheepishly tried to sneak off the stage. It was so awkward! But my instructor would have none of it. “Stay there, feel the applause.” Career lesson: When you get praises soak them in. Collect them in a file. The spotlight may be brief and you will forget about the great work you did as well as the applause you received. You will use these praises at your next performance review as proof of your good work.
  3. People will support you no matter what. My classmates were instructed to applaud for me and I them. And, it was a blast! I almost lost my voice hooting and hollering for my classmates. Career lesson: When you step up in your own career there will be people to support you too. You will never be alone.


The recap: Ask for what you want even if it scares you. Take in all the complements that are showered upon you. And, know there are always people to support you along your sometimes scary but always rewarding career path.

If you are ready to take center stage in your career and paycheck click here to set up a time to chat with Patty Tanji. You will get clear on your income targets. Find out what might hold you back from earning what you’re worth. You will finish our conversation knowing exactly what steps to take to move up and earn more.

Photo courtesy of Bao Art

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