Of the many emotions I expected to have watching Beyoncé’s Netflix documentary, “Homecoming,” which follows her 2018 Coachella concert, crying wasn’t among them.
But at various points during the two-hour presentation, I found a weird salty mixture on my face and a lump in my throat.
My best guess is that there’s no one other then music’s reigning queen who can make your average working mother feel seen while also wanting to do better. Whether you are an entertainer, journalist or long-term care administrator, there are some amazing examples of balance and leadership in the documentary.
Now, far more articulate writers than I have weighed in on Beyonce’s cultural impact, such as Kiana Fitzgerald’s piece “Beyoncé Is The 21st Century’s Master Of Leveling Up.” But the documentary itself has lessons for all of us, especially those in healthcare leadership.
Namely, it shows us how many months of work and rehearsal went into the final project. It might help if you, like me, are a huge lover of marching band performances. But even if you’re not, the music and dancing is spectacular. Part of marking it look effortless is putting in grueling hours.
“That’s why people don’t want to rehearse. You’ve got to be humble, and willing to listen, and be awkward,” she says.
At one point, Beyoncé talks about running between three sound stages to talk with her creative staff, dancers and musicians. She’d go from stage to stage, overseeing hundreds of members of a team, noting everyone was working to their limit. It’s clear that everyone involved wants to rise to her level. It’s not just a job: It’s a calling.
But it still means, like many of you, that she runs into roadblocks. We don’t see anyone in the documentary falling flat on their face, but we do see Beyonce’s frustration when elements are not clicking. She delivers a line I think should be emblazoned on every manager’s desk.
“Until I see some of my notes survive, it doesn’t make sense for me to make more,” Beyoncé says.
Let’s break that down for a moment for how often we do that in our day-to-day environments. How often do we repeat the same things to staff? How often do we want to bang our head against the wall because someone is not listening?
What Beyoncé gets across is that she doesn’t want to yell at her team, or even talk. She wants results.
“My goal is for everyone out there to feel what we feel,” she tells her team. She talks about prioritizing what people’s needs are, so we can be “done with having to talk so much.”
“That’s where I am,” she says firmly. “We’re halfway there but we have to make progress faster because we’re running out of time. Thank you, everybody. I know everybody’s working hard, so go get there.”
Then she leaves to celebrate her anniversary with Jay-Z, who looks at his wife throughout this piece with a mix of love and awe. Which brings us to the other meaningful part of the documentary, which is watching Beyonce balance being her career with being a wife and mother.
Certainly hearing Beyonce talk about having pre-eclampsia during her 2017 pregnancy with twins, and wanting to be with them and her 6-year-old, hit home on a personal level.
“What people don’t see is the sacrifice,” she says at one point. During rehearsals, she would go to her trailer and breastfeed! And bring her children when she could! On a diet that included no carbs, no alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, and no fish. She talks about having to rebuild her body after a very difficult pregnancy.
“My mind was not there. My mind wanted to be with my children,” she says. She notes that she doesn’t have the ability to rehearse 15-hour days anymore.
“I definitely pushed myself farther than I knew I could,” she says. “And I learned a very valuable lesson, which is I will never, never push myself that far again.”
Ultimately, we may not have the resources of Beyoncé, or her talent. But we do have the ability to see how far we can push ourselves in the pursuit of excellence. Because I have to tell you: The 2018 Coachella concert is one for the ages.
Follow Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman @TigerELN.