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How We Can Learn Success Skills from a TikTok Star

I am not cool enough to be up on the latest TikTok trends but happened to read New York Times and CNN articles about Khabane Lame. He is one of the most-followed people on TikTok and although the articles differed on his number of followers, they ranged from 65.6 million to 114 million.

What is the connection between this TikTok star and success skills?

He is an example of two specific skills: resilience and communication.

Sticking With It

Lame started his social media career after losing his factory job due to Covid. Lame is a Senegalese immigrant to Italy and still does not have his Italian citizenship after living there since age one. He doesn’t have a traditional resume of an internationally successful digital media creator but he certainly has found success that many would dream of having achieved.

So, what does resilience have to do with this story? In the New York Times article, Lame attributes his success to his frequent posting and said:

“The secret is endurance above all.”

We know that he didn’t get those 65.5 million followers after his first post. In fact, it was likely many posts until he reached that figure. And he was doing this under pressure from his family to find a more traditional job. Imagine if he had given up one week in, one month in, or one year in? He wouldn’t have managed this success without his ability to keep trying, or in this case, posting.

Is there anything you’re giving up on that could also lead to your success?

What is SMH?

The second lesson learned from Lame is the power of non-verbal communication. Although I appreciated the importance of non-verbal communication before the pandemic, I didn’t realize its true significance until I held training or teambuilding sessions on Zoom with no one on camera! Suddenly I couldn’t read the body language or facial expressions of my audience and couldn’t gauge how they were reacting to my sessions. It’s become my goal during this Zoom life to get as many people on camera as feel comfortable doing it.

We hear with our eyes as well as our ears.

In addition to me not being able to read my audience and adjust as needed, we also can’t fully hear someone’s message if we can’t see them. We don’t realize how much we communicate non-verbally so if we want our full message to be interpreted and understood correctly, we need to show our face.

Back to Lame, he is a wiz at non-verbal communication...

In fact, his communication with his audience is fully using gestures (i.e. body language) with no speaking. An example of this is SMH (shaking my head) which is a gesture that is not only understood in one language or culture. In fact, in the CNN article Christina Ferraz, a marketing specialist, commented that:

The lack of verbal communication allows the audience to focus only on his actions, and no other meaning can be applied other than what he is literally doing or expressing.

Are you paying attention to others’ non-verbal communication signals and are you cognizant of yours? Beware, even our non-verbal communication can be expressing more than we want it to as witnessed by this Instagram post!


* Actionable Success Steps

Use these Actionable Success Steps to strengthen the skills illustrated by Khabane Lame.

  1. Consider your resilience. Is there anything you’ve given up on or want to give up on that you should just keep doing?

  2. The next time you have a conversation with someone, do the following:

    1. insist that it be done over video or in-person

    2. note any non-verbal communication you notice the other person using

    3. consider your own facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc...what are they saying about you?

Learn More

There are ways that you can improve the same two success skills that Lame has, every single day. Growth Group Academy currently has two courses that will do exactly that. Learn more below!

Our Strengthening Effective Communication course is exactly the refresher you need to make sure your communication skills are on point and it’s also FREE using the code SUCCESS. Click here to sign up and learn more!

Our Sustaining Resilience course can bring out the resilience that innately lives inside of you so that you can use it to build your success. That course can be found here.


Here are the articles that sparked this blog post (and that I quoted from) if you want to check them out. I still don’t have a TikTok account but the links in these articles gave me a peek at his style.

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