Career Lessons from Meerkat Queen, Liza Dixon Career Lessons from Meerkat Queen, Liza Dixon

Welcome to the second installment in our interview series supporting and highlighting strong women leaders.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Liza Dixon, Meerkat queen and unapologetic livestreaming introvert. I’ve been waiting for the relaunch of my website to share this with you and now the time has come. Are you ready to learn, embrace, and become instant BFF’s with Liza?

Interview-Liza-2016-01Learning is a strong component of success. How do you continue to learn and grow?

Liza Dixon: If I want to grow my knowledge on a subject or become inspired professionally, I head over to YouTube, TED or join in on a Blab/Meerkat/Periscope discussion. Being able to hear and see the passion in others gets me excited and helps me to be a better “sponge.”

Smartt tip: It’s effective (and encouraged) to learn in the styles that work best for you. If you learn best from listening and participating in discussion, I guarantee there is a community out there somewhere for you. Find things that inspire you, and pursue them.

What do you attribute your success to?

LD: Honesty and authenticity. Sure, there is strategy in negotiation and times/topics where it makes sense not to be fully transparent. The other 99% of the time, speaking openly, giving genuine feedback and being yourself will save time (and money) and earn you reverence.

Smartt tip: Being honest and authentic is easy. In fact, it’s much easier to be yourself than anyone else! The old mega-corporate starched suit method of interaction is on its way out, after decades of demonstrating that honest, authentic people do better work than those who are restricted to “stuffed shirt” behavior

What has been the biggest hurdle in your career?

LD: Location has been a challenge for me. I have always felt that in order to have the kind of job I want, working with interesting people and on projects with impact, I would have to live in a big city. Doing freelance, I’m thrilled to be able to work anywhere. It is so liberating and truly takes a huge stress off my plate. We have access to this phenomenal communications technology called The Internet and yet, people are still driving two hours to and from work on their own dime to do something they could have done at home.

Smartt tip: If you’re passionate about building something and are having trouble connecting with like-minded people in your area to help you get going, take to the internet. You can network (almost) as effectively online as at an in-person event. Start with LinkedIn. Join groups, and connect with people who share your passions.

What do you wish you could tell your 22 year old self?

LD: Stop worrying–whether you do or don’t, it doesn’t matter. Instead, focus on where you can make effective change. Remember, you have an opportunity at this stage in life that will likely not come again: no attachments, no commitments. It is not a scary thing but an exciting time full of possibility.

What is the best advice that shaped your career?

LD: Being a “Yes” person is just as important as being a “No” person. Respect yourself by knowing when to push back. Saying “No” will make you a more effective leader, co-worker, mother, wife, sister–whatever. You are more powerful when you do less, better.

Smartt tip: Learning to say no, and when to say it, can take time and practice. Once good place to start is to evaluate whether or not laziness is behind what someone else is asking you to do. Another is to determine if there’s any value to you in doing it. For those asks that fall short of one or both, say no. Next time, say no again. It gets easier.

What are you most proud of?

LD: I’m really proud of the feedback I have received from my livestream viewers. I have gotten messages from people all over the world who told me that I “made their day” or “made them laugh when they really needed it.” It is very rewarding to affect people positively who I otherwise may have never had the chance to meet. I see so much potential for social good in livestreaming. I have been actively streaming for about seven months now.

Smartt tip: If you are enthusiastic and excited about your subject, it’s infectious and others will take note. Be consistent and listen to your audience, bring them value with questions, useful information, and beautiful scenery–if you’re engaged, the opportunities are endless!

I’m grateful to Liza for the opportunity to speak with her, and excited to share this look into a rising star’s perspective. You can keep up with Meerkat Queen, Liza on twitter: @LizaDixon