A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
The Star Wars movies are the story of the rise, fall and redemption of one of Hollywood’s biggest characters. In anticipation of the Rogue One trailer release of Star Wars, I started to watch all the previous films of one of the biggest franchises. I love finding parallels between seemingly unrelated subjects. While watching them, (how they were released – because that is the best way to watch them!) I picked up a few dialogues that can help leaders today.
Darth Vader: Your powers are weak, old man.
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
We all have faced setbacks in our lives. If we are to be successful leaders we have to learn to bounce back from the mistakes. It is by standing up after we have fallen down that we become stronger. As leaders we have to train ourselves to see the opportunities in the adverse situations we face. With every obstacle we overcome we become tougher and more effective as a leader.
Sometimes we have to fall lower than we have to become stronger than we ever have been.
Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.
In the words of Gary Vaynerchuck, execution is everything. As leaders we have to learn to execute. It is a key difference in being an entrepreneur versus a business owner. All of us have great ideas all the time. A successful leader is one who executes on those ideas, maybe enlisting the help of others to ensure execution is done well. If we keep saying we will try and not execute we will not succeed as often as we like. Trying is giving us an easy exit. Trying is giving us permission to fail. Sometimes as leaders we underestimate our abilities to achieve great results.
Yoda: No more training do you require. Already know you, that which you need.
Luke: Then I am a Jedi.
Yoda: No. Not yet. One thing remains. Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.
We leaders will always face obstacles on the path to success. Sometimes those obstacles are external and sometimes they are the voices in our heads. We have to confront our fears we want to achieve the success we set out to accomplish. We grow as leader by constantly pushing our boundaries. No growth happens when we are always in our comfort zones.
Anakin: Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other.
With the social media revolution, the world seems to be mainly focused on me, me and me. If we have to be successful we have to be generous as leaders. We cannot make our businesses only self serving, we have to server our audience first. I learnt this from one of my mentors, Pat Flynn, who says that money you make is directly proportional to the people you help. We create value for ourselves by serving our audience.
Your success is directly proportional to the number of lives you have touched for the better – Vishwas Chavan.
Yoda: Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
The mind of a child is simply amazing. Seth Gordin say this beautifully in his new book, What to do when its your turn. We leaders should develop child like behaviours. However there is a difference between a childlike and childish behaviour. Childish behaviour is one of instant gratification, tantrums and short term attention. Child like behaviour on the other hand is constantly learning, curious, being enthusiastic and forgiving.
If we can be childlike and professional we can change the game – Seth Gordin on Entreleadership
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You have allowed this dark lord to twist your mind, until now, until now you’ve become the very thing you swore to destroy.
As leaders we set goals, and work hard to achieve them. Sometime we get so focused on the goals we loose track of the things around us that may have changed Guy Kawasaki says this in his Ted Talk. We have to serve our audience. The way in which we provide value is not important, but providing value essential. When we focus only of the method of which it is received by our audience we close ourselves to changes that are happening around us. Investing in our development is one way we can stay flexible enough to pivot when necessary.
Rey: [to Kylo Ren] You. You’re afraid. That you will never be as strong as Darth Vader.
Our comparison to the ones before us creates fear. We feel we will never be able to live up to their expectations. This I have found to be one of the fastest ways to stop us in our tracks. When we compare ourselves to people who are “ahead” of us, we loose focus on the progress we have made. Rather than see the effort, we get overwhelmed of how far we have to go. There will always be different paths to reach the same goal. We have to realise we are unique and will find our own way. If we keep comparing ourselves to others we will always be the second best, and will lose the things which make us, us.
Leadership is not only about the title we have but the actions we perform. We should not only focus on ourselves but also contribute in the growth of our teams. Organising the resources we have around us to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. We have to learn to hustle and be humble at the same time. Being a leader is tough, but worth the hardships we face. May the force be with you.