Finding leadership in Star Wars (New Trilogy)

Finding leadership in Star Wars (New Trilogy)

(Leia) would say, hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.
– Vice Admiral Holdo

The newest trilogy of Star Wars movies closes out the Skywalker Saga; a story told over nine movies and three generations. The final three movies introduce the group of heroes that are responsible for carrying on the mission set by those that came before them.

In a way, it reminds me of the newer two generations entering the workforce. Both are forced to deal with the success and failures of the generations before them as well. There are a few good takeaways that we can learn from these movies. 

Finding yourself


The latest trilogy dives into characters more than either trilogy before it with the story really focusing on Rey and Ben’s story of self-discovery. Who am I? What’s my purpose in this place? While Ben chases after identity without even realizing it, Rey is desperate to find out who she is and who her parents are. 

We all want to have a purpose in this life. We want life to mean something. Take time for yourself to Find your Calling (PTB Ep. 161). People sometimes miss this step in pursuit of a great job, career or relationship. Your identity as a person is not what you do or who you are with. Search your identity out. Take a vacation or time for yourself without distraction. Reconnect with your passion projects, causes, and hobbies. 

Understand your why and let it be the force that guides you in your journey. 

Do it your way


There is a very vocal minority out there that don’t like the newest movie. “That’s not how Luke is,” or “She’s shouldn’t have powers so fast.” These people are constantly putting the newest generation up in comparison to their own. Thinking that Luke’s generation is the gold standard, they find it almost impossible for anyone after them to live up to the task. 

Sound familiar? 

Do things your way. Rey’s training was not like Luke’s, but Luke’s was not like anyone else’s before him either. If you are part of the newer generations entering leadership, learn from those before you but be bold enough to do it your own way. You get to write your own story.  For those that have been around a while, be a good mentor and teacher to those coming after you. Give them the freedom to try new things and don’t quelch their creativity and uniqueness. 

Rey and her friends were victorious because they relied on each other and forged their own paths. 

Breaking Generational Sin 


The Skywalker Saga originally started out as the story of Luke and then shifted to his father. It then shifted to Darth Vader’s grandson in the third trilogy. Each generation of Skywalker dealt with the pull of the Dark Side with some being more successful than others. 

Emperor Palpatine is present throughout all three trilogies and can be seen as the embodiment of evil, tempting each generation of Skywalker to fall to the Dark Side. Darth Vader lost. Luke thought that he won. It wasn’t until the third generation that Palpatine (evil) was truly defeated.  

People struggle with generational sin. It can be difficult to step out of the shadows, traps, and habits of our parents. It is possible to defeat. Show determination. Get help. Stay accountable. You are not doomed to repeat the failures of those before you. Some past shows that can help you on this journey include:

How an accountability partner can help (EP 191)
My letter for the hurting leader (EP 158)
Stuck in the waiting room of life (EP 118)

Learn from the generations before you before they are gone, and break the cycle of generational sin while doing it in your own unique way. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Finding Leadership in Star Wars (Original Trilogy)

Finding Leadership in Star Wars (Original Trilogy)

Never tell me the odds!
-Han Solo

The Star Wars Saga is my favorite set of movies. I would lose a whole day during summer break watching all three of the original movies back to back and often played Star Wars in the backyard and the forests surrounding our house. You don’t have to be a huge Star Wars fan to understand and appreciate the leadership lessons that it provides. 

A story of true personal development 


Luke starts out as a naive and enthusiastic kid in the first movie. By the second movie, he has matured some but now carries a sense of overconfidence which costs him dearly in the end. As we meet Luke in the last movie, he is totally different from the first film. He’s now grounded, confident, but not cocky, and begins to show his wisdom. It’s a great reminder that we should always be looking to grow ourselves.

How have you changed in the last year? What are you working on to master or upgrade your skills and talent? What are you a Jedi in and what are you Apprentice at? 

A story of friends and teamwork


The victories had by the rebels would have not have been possible had they not looked out for and taken care of each other. The power of teamwork certainly shows in these movies. Without it, all of the rebels would have been killed in each movie. The Death Star wins. The movie ends after Hoth. The Death Star wins again.  It’s a very motivational story of odds that can be overcome with a small dedicated team focusing on a common goal. 

Your success and business lives and dies by the strength of your team. Take time to take care of them. Look out for them when they journey off on their own and fall into trouble. Don’t write people off. Give them the support and direction they need to be successful. Be willing to sacrifice important things for the betterment of the team. 

Be willing to ask for help


We sometimes let our lack of awareness of our skillset, overconfidence, and/or ego get in the way of asking for help.  The old jokes about men’s willingness to continue making mistakes before asking for directions or reading the instructions are funny because they are often true. The main characters thankfully do not have this same character hangup and it often saved them as a result. 

Leia- Sent the droids to Obi-Wan to ask for help in the rebellion. She’s a princess and a general but knows when she needs assistance. 

Luke- Asked Obi-Wan to train him. He reached out to Leia to help him after losing his battle with Darth Vader. He went to Yoda twice looking for help in growing his skills as a Jedi. 

Han- Even the headstrong and cocky space smuggler asked for help. He asked for help when blinded from being frozen and reached out to the cute Ewoks to help take down the mighty Empire. 

Let go of the things that keep you from reaching out for help from others. I’ve seen it set back and destroy careers because a person never asked for help and then continued to dig themselves further into trouble. No one thinks less of you if you need a hand. We all do from time to time. 

Do or do not. There is no try. 


Sometimes people want to know every little detail before they make a decision and then beat themselves up with second-guessing after they do. Learn as much as you can to minimize risk in a reasonable amount of time. Then make the choice to do something. Something is always going to be going on at work and in life and there is no perfect time to put your plan into place. 

Destroying both Death Stars, the group getting saved at Cloud City, and escaping from Hoth all came from last-minute decisions that were put into action. The group would not have survived any of those encounters otherwise. 

Be brave and bold in your decision-making. Rally your team and work towards the agreed-upon destination. 

Take care of your friends and teammates. Invest in yourself, let go of ego and become decisive. Once you harness that power, never let someone tell you the odds. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Finding leadership in running

Finding leadership in running

Being an athlete is a state of mind which is not bound by age, performance or place in the running pack. 
-Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway is a world-famous runner and coach who popularized interval training, or the Run, Walk, Run method as he calls it. We have become great friends over the years and I’ve had the honor to run several races with him and his wife Barbara. No matter if we are at mile one, or mile 12 he leads himself well and encourages everyone that he comes in contact with. 

I love Jeff’s quote because it captures the right thought process and mindset for runners and athletes. You could also easily replace a few words and see how it applies to our leadership walk. 

 Being a leader is a state of mind which is not bound by age, what others do or your place in the organization. 

There are several leadership lessons that we can learn from running. 

Patience leads to strength

It seems like all things worth doing are at least a little bit challenging to start, otherwise, everyone would do it.  It might feel discouraging after your first couple of runs. Keep at it and your strength will increase. It may also feel discouraging when you are in a new role and things aren’t happening as fast as you wanted them to. Keep at it and remain confident that your work is going to pay off.  

Consistency is key

I ran over 100 races between 2016-2018. It got to the point where I was running so many races that I didn’t need to run very often between events and I still could perform well. It culminated with my second ultra marathon. (Passing the Baton podcast #128: What 37.5 miles taught me) I did two things after that race.  #1 I stopped running. #2 I ate everything in sight. That pattern went on for five months. I gained about 20lbs and needed to get back in the swing of things to get my health back where I wanted it. 

My first run was a beautiful 56 degrees in Atlanta.  I should have had a great run but instead, I got ripped to pieces. My legs were killing me, my foot injury flared up and I clocked my slowest time in over 4 years. I knew I was going to be off my A-game, but I didn’t realize it would be that much. 

Your leadership is the same way. You are going to pay some type of consequence if you let off of your standard, stop pushing yourself for growth, or fail to hold your team accountable. The consequence could be as small as some missed sales with customers or as large as being passed over for the promotion that you always wanted. Stay consistent to avoid the pains of ramping back up to your standard. It’s definitely easier to keep it going than it is to start all over. 

It is what you make it

Your enjoyment of running is exactly what you make of it. If you find some running friends or make it about the journey, you get a much more fulfilling experience. If you only focus on the negatives, (pain, tiredness, time investment, etc) then you’ll never like it and you won’t perform well. Likewise in your leadership and life walk, if you only focus on the excuses and circumstances that hold you back, you will never have fun or reach your greatest potential. 

Know who you are

Too many people think that because they aren’t “fast” that it means that they are not runners. If you are getting out there and hitting the road, trail, or treadmill, you are a runner. It’s a state of mind, just as Jeff said.  You don’t have to lead 100 people to be called a leader. Do you lead yourself well? Do you try to help by being a great example for others? Then you are a leader. You don’t need a title before you can become a leader any more than a runner needs a medal before they call themselves a runner.

Running can teach us patience, the ability to find joy in the journey, and how we can build strength through our consistency. Enjoy your run and your role as a leader. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

*You can catch some of the race recaps of my runs with Jeff and Barbara over at Thedisneyrunner.com

Finding leadership in video games

Finding leadership in video games

We don’t get to choose how we start in this life. Real greatness is what you do with the hand that you’ve been dealt. 
-Victor Sullivan

(Character from Uncharted video game series)

It’s safe to say that video games have firmly established themselves in most people’s lives in some form. The latest PlayStation console has sold nearly 100 million units. Games dominate the sales in Apple’s app store and people make a living by recording themselves playing games. Gaming has become a serious business.

Leadership and gaming don’t naturally go hand in hand. In fact, while doing research on the topic, I found many open debates among the gaming community about the value that a game has on your leadership abilities. While there is not currently a “leadership game” there are several benefits that gaming can give us as we grow our leadership. 

It pays to be organized and notice the small things

Games have become so much more complex than the Donkey Kong days. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been one of the most popular games of the last year. In the game, you play as a cowboy as you struggle with life living in a posse.  That’s a deceptively simple concept. To get everything, you have to keep up an extensive list of animals that you kill, parts that you collect and then you have to find items and other secrets. I had to write out a list while playing it just to keep track of it all.

Games can teach us the value of organization and to look and enjoy the small things in life. My favorite moments in Red Dead Redemption 2 are the small details that you only see if you slow down long enough and look. It’s a great lesson for us as we all try to hurry through the day and week. 

Solid teamwork saves the day

By far the most popular online team battle game out there is Fortnite. With over 200 million downloads, you can play with three other people in a team to defeat the other players and win the game. You have to have great teamwork and coordination in order to have any chance at a win. It’s easy to spot the teams that work together in the game. They stick together and support each other. Most teams split up, do their own individual thing, and get picked off.

Just as in real life, playing on a great team is fun and rewarding. It takes work, effort, sacrifice, and communication. You learn those lessons as you get better in team-based games. 

Other benefits

  • Decision-making skills. Many games change as you make decisions along the way. Your game could end dramatically different than mine because of the choices that we made as we played. Many games will show you the benefits and consequences of the choices that you make. 
  • Being a great winner/loser. A gamer needs the self-awareness here to grow, but games can help us be better winners and losers in life. No one likes a sore winner or loser. Don’t gloat in the win and don’t throw a fit if you lose. 

The longer you play, the higher the difficulty

Every game out there increases in difficulty the longer that you play it. It’s the continuing challenge and the story that makes a game great. What you do early on prepares you for the next chapter or level. Isn’t life the same way?  You start off carefree, with little responsibility and you become stronger and wiser as life goes on. Your circumstances certainly become more complicated, and you use the lessons and relationships that you built earlier to help you make it through your current challenge.  

You may not walk away from a game and become an instant high-performing leader. You can, however, learn little life lessons along the way that you can transfer to how you lead yourself and your team. Just be sure to avoid putting “I won Victory Royale 5 times in Fortnite” on your resume or college application. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Finding leadership in puzzles

Finding leadership in puzzles

My family really enjoys doing puzzles. It gives us an activity that we can all work on together and separately that doesn’t involve technology. Sometimes it’s a very passive activity. We’ll work on it for a few minutes and walk away. Other times it’s the three of us going at it for a 30-minute session.  I realized that puzzles can teach us a bit about leadership during my most recent puzzle session with my wife. 

Sometimes in leadership, you walk into a mess

When you first open the box to a new puzzle, it’s a chaotic mess.  The fun of puzzles is putting it all back together and establishing order where there was chaos. Life in your leadership walk will be exactly the same. Sometimes you’ll walk into a 250 piece puzzle size mess that you can easily put back together and other times it will be a 3,000 piece monster that takes a team effort to accomplish. 

Knowing that problems are going to happen and embracing them instead of focusing on how they impact you, will help you get the puzzle together quicker. 

Be clear on your starting points

You’ve got all the pieces spilled out onto the table. Now what? You’ve got to pick a clear starting point and go from there. My wife loves to knock out the edge first and doesn’t like to even look at anything else until that is done. Only after the edge is put together does she then plan what her next focus point will be. 

It can be overwhelming when you walk into a very complex challenge or problem. Assess the situation, and chose what you feel is the most logical and impactful starting point. Communicate the plan to the team so that they can be effective in their work towards the common goal. 

As much as you may want to, you can’t do everything at once. Sharon often reminds me of this point as we work on our puzzles together. (And that’s how this topic came to be!)

Embrace other people’s styles

We all have our own unique styles and ways that we go about accomplishing a goal. Make sure to embrace other people’s styles as you work toward the goal. Sharon and I are very different in our approach to how we work on our puzzle. She pulls out the pieces, organizes, and works on sections. I have the odd ability to look at the pile and pull out individual pieces and know where they fit.  Together we make a pretty good combination in reaching our goal. 

If we bickered about our different approaches, we would become very ineffective to the point that it could impact our relationship. Instead of fighting someone’s unique style, look for ways that the person can contribute in a positive way to your team’s effort. 

There are no easy walks for a good leader. Be prepared for those times when you walk into a mess. Formulate your plan, embrace your team’s unique makeup and have fun along the way. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH