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Business Lessons From Britney Spears

Britney Spears has recently convinced me that it’s 100% ok to be mega sensitive and emotional while working as a copywriter for website content.

A couple of weeks ago, I was travelling solo in Shanghai. It was my first weekend in China, my jetlag had finally cleared, and I was ready for a big ol’ explore.

In lieu of a pal to adventure alongside, I downloaded an audiobook for company. I settled on Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me (free on Spotify if you’ve got a Premium membership) and set out on my mission to see all of Shanghai’s sights in a single day (spoiler: this isn’t possible, Shanghai is massive).

 

Tourism and Inexplicable Curtsying


As I wandered among ancient temples I listened to Britney talking about her rise to fame, pausing only to buy street food via a series of hand gestures and inexplicable curtsying — a habit I got into while travelling to express politeness when my language skills failed me.

I strolled along The Bund waterfront and gawped at the gigantic skyscrapers while silently cursing all the folks that screwed Britney over, and messily ate soup dumplings while she spoke about her gratitude for the #FreeBritney campaign that helped end her conservatorship.

Skyscrapers on a riverfront in Shanghai
Shanghai’s The Bund waterfront serving dreamy skyscraper vistas

When I arrived back at my hotel that evening, I’d walked eight miles and listened to the entire audiobook. I found myself completely in love with Shanghai, and even more obsessed with Britney.

 

Wildly Emotional Women


See, as a millennial who was 11 when …Baby One More Time came out, I grew up wanting to be like Britney — a stretch for a chubby girl from Northern England who was in a chess club at the time. However, listening to her audiobook, I realised that grown-up Sophie does have something in common with grown-up Britney.

No, I’m not referring to the Instagram nudes (although I do have form for that), nor the well-documented run of disappointing romances (we definitely have that in common). I’m also not talking about that time I also sang I’m a Slave 4 U with an albino python draped over my shoulders (I genuinely did do this).

I’m referring to the fact that we are both wildly emotional women. We are impulsive, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, and we feel our feelings and those of the folks around us intensely.

I don’t wish to jump on the bandwagon of people non-consensually diagnosing Britney with stuff, but I reckon she’s HSP like me.

 

HSP and Being a Copywriter for Website Content


If you’re not au fait with HSP, it stands for highly sensitive person. A HSP is thought to have a deeper sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. If you have an aversion to noisy places, have ever cried at a TV commercial, or need to lock yourself in a dark room after a period of heavy socialising, you might be HSP. Some folks are quick to suggest that HSPs are too sensitive, but I actually think that it’s a strength.

In her book, Britney talks about how deeply she feels other people’s emotions. So much so that she practically takes them on as her own. She accidentally did this with her Crossroads character while filming and started walking differently in her non-filming life.

Britney notes that it can be exhausting, and I agree. I used to be a little embarrassed about it, too — it’s tricky going through life feeling like everyone sees you as being a little bit ‘extra’. But now that I fully embrace my big emotions, I’ve realised they’re not a negative thing. And actually, HSP is a massively useful characteristic for me to possess as a copywriter for website content.

 

A white woman in her 30s with glasses and brown hair stands in front of a building in Yu Garden, Shanghai, China
Pottering around China with Britney Spears in my ear for company

Walking & Talking Like My Clients


I’m not about to do a Britney and start walking like my clients — that would be impossible since most of my meetings are done on Google Meet and I don’t even know what my contacts look like in motion.

What I can do, however, is take on their voice. I find it mega easy to empathise with my clients. Their pain points become my own, and it’s as though I can feel how they’re feeling about their business. I can slip myself into their shoes and write from their perspective. Their tone of voice becomes my own, and I can sort of feel how I need to write for their potential customers to hear my words.

 

Are Your Emotions Making You Better at Your Job?


The point of my writing this post isn’t just an excuse to talk about Britney — it’s to say that big emotions aren’t a weakness or something you need to push down. This includes in your business or workplace. If, like me, you’ve been made to believe that being emotional about work is a negative thing, this brain dump is here to remind you that it absolutely isn’t.

Maybe massive feelings and empathy by the bucketload are actually making you better at your job? I’d be willing to bet that’s the case.

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