Imagine standing on a stage in front of a room full of people, completely naked.
No fig leaf.
No smoke machine.
Maude Davey doesn’t have to imagine, she does it.
Maude Davey is an Australian actor who’s worked in film and television, and who’s also performed cabaret and burlesque for the past 30 years. (If you watched Summer Heights High, you’ll remember her as the nurturing special-education teacher in Gumnut Cottage who patiently taught Jonah and his crew.)
In June this year, Maude again performed her hit theatre show, My Life in the Nude, a retrospective that weaves together all her best nude performances from the past three decades.
I knew nothing of Maude until I recently stumbled across an online interview. (I was intrigued, particularly because of Flying Solo’s connection with working in the nude!) As I watched the interview, I realised she had some insights and lessons that were relevant to all business owners. Here are three of them.
Know your purpose
Maude Davey doesn’t remove her clothes on stage because it’s unusually humid there, she de-robes for a reason: “My intention is to change the way people think about their own bodies. If you can think about your body for ten minutes after you’ve seen my show, great! That’s amazing!”
As she discussed her intention, Maude’s seemed to get emotional.
Purpose, will do that.
Purpose is your bubbling reason for doing what you’re doing.
In business, we read a lot about purpose, especially from Thought Leaders like Simon Sinek who believe that customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
A purpose is greater than working just for money, it’s working for a deeper reason; a reason that will be your compass in confusing times; your point of differentiation in a sea of competitors, your reassuring blanket during moments of insecurity, your unique way of giving back.
If you’re in business, try to have a purpose. Not sure what your purpose is? This article might help.
Feel the fear, do it anyway
Just because Maude Davey makes the choice to strip bare, doesn’t mean she feels no fear or vulnerability. In fact, she stopped her nude act a few years ago: “It takes too much out of me to prepare for the fear, to say, ‘I’m comfortable in my body’. I’m 55, you know, I’m not in bad nick, but I don’t look like I did when I was 20, so it takes more courage…”
Maude clearly harnessed her courage to do another round of performances in 2019. Ultimately, her purpose was more powerful than her fear. And as they say, courage isn’t the lack of fear, it’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
“Play to the crowd who wants to hear your story”
In this world of haters, negativity and unlimited criticism, Maude’s advice is highly relevant: “There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like it, who thinks, ‘Oh my God, put your clothes on!’ Why would I worry about that? Play to the crowd who wants to hear your story.”
Too true. If you try to please everyone, you’ll risk being paralysed with inaction forever. Please the people who matter.
The naked truth
Clothed or unclothed, I hope these three naked truths will help you throughout your business journey. Know your purpose, embrace your fear, and share your worthy message with those who are eager to hear it.