I know why we’re here. A rescue op, save the dinosaurs from an island that’s about to explode. What could go wrong? -Owen (Chris Pratt)
Jurassic World is one of the highest grossest movies ever made and for good reason. It’s got a relatable hero, action, drama, and of course dinosaurs. Through two movies (and an upcoming third), we see Owen and the gang navigate all sorts of dangers while strengthening their relationships with each other. There are a few leadership lessons that we can learn from a dinosaur trainer.
Calm under pressure
Owen is certainly a leader that remains calm under pressure. You see this at the beginning of the first movie as he is training the velociraptors and then continue to see it play out over the next two movies. In several scenes, Owen stays calm under chaos and lives as a result, while those around him that can’t handle the pressure and don’t make it out alive.
Being level-headed in tough situations will serve you well. Understand where your strengths and weaknesses are in regard to your reaction in challenging situations. For me, it’s easy to remain calm in crisis situations while I have to be more mindful while dealing with people who are generally angry and lash out at others.
Remember that being a calm person doesn’t mean you have to be a bump on a log with no personality. Owen is witty, sarcastic, and funny. Be yourself and keep calm when the pressure mounts.
People who fail to learn from the past often repeat it
The underlying principle in Jurassic World is people repeat their failures when they don’t learn from them. Strip away some of the fluff and Jurrasic World is exactly like the original Jurassic Park. Nice park, everything looks great, an evil person tries to steal Dinosaur IP, Dinos get loose, run for your life.
Failure is needed for you to grow as a person and for your company to grow. It shows that you are trying new things and continuing to push forward in your journey of growth. We sometimes have a tendency to be ashamed of those failures and quickly try to sweep them under the rug and move on.
Take time to reflect on the whys and reasons behind the failure. It will teach you valuable lessons and help you move forward in a healthy way.
Don’t celebrate too early
A classic scene in all of the Jurassic movies is the early celebration. It’s like the helicopter pilot in Jurrasic World who thinks he made it out only to be eaten by a giant dinosaur in the end. Make sure that you celebrate your wins with your team and yourself, just not too early. It’s cost athletes their win, companies their lead, and embarrassment for others.
Make sure it’s a done deal and then party.
Leaders have to put themselves between danger and their team
Videos that show people putting themselves in harm’s way to save or help someone else regularly go viral on the internet. Almost always, it’s a regular person and complete stranger to the one that needs assistance. We love a good hero that sacrifices their safety for those of others.
Owen puts himself between his friends and danger constantly in the new Jurassic World movies. His concern is obviously higher for those he cares about above himself. What monsters out there have you have thrown yourself in front of to protect your friends, family, and co-workers? Maybe it’s not a killer dinosaur, but perhaps it was a bully, a safety issue, or a tough conversation in a meeting. I often see my role as a leader as a shield to keep as much of the garbage from hitting my team as possible. A good leader does what needs to be done to protect their team.
Live your life like a good dinosaur trainer. Be brave, level-headed, and learn from your mistakes. Step up to help others and celebrate after you’ve accomplished your goal.
There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more. -Nick Fury
The Avengers have fully taken over the world. Their universe in TV and film has spanned over 10 years and amassed billions in ticket sales alone. It seems we can’t have enough of our beloved heroes. Underneath all the space travel, intergalactic wars, and Avenger-level threats lie several leadership lessons we can take away and apply in the real world.
Ordinary people, extraordinary powers
If you look at the Avengers, most of them are ordinary people who came across extraordinary power along their journey. It’s the reason why we relate to these characters so well.
Spider-man: High school kid bit by a spider.
Captain America: Underweight Army soldier injected with super serum.
Hulk: Scientist covered in gamma radiation.
Star-Lord: Regular guy who grew up in space.
Ant-Man: Nerdy ex-con who uses a shrinking suit.
Captain Marvel, Black Widow, War Machine, Winter Soldier: Military personnel.
Black Panther: Leader of his country Wakanda.
Sure the suits and accessories are cool, but it’s their character that gives them true power. They are inspiring, brave, and bold all the while carrying the human flaws that we have. Let your character be your superpower. Be bold as you help others achieve success. Be brave in those though moments of decision making and leadership moments. Be humble as you lead others.
Continual learners and leaders of development
Every character that has been around the Marvel Universe for a while now has shown some type of character and personal development. Perhaps the greatest of those is Tony Stark.
Tony is the first character from the universe that we meet. He’s incredibly cocky, naive to the collateral damage he creates, and can’t hold down a meaningful relationship. Over 10 years, you see Tony become a true hero both inside and outside of the suit. He’s grown to be a caring man, understands the values of relationships, and is certainly sacrificial. Ironman didn’t stop growing as a person once he had the suit, although he could have.
He is a great reminder for us to continue on in our own journey. Maybe you are building the next great thing. Perhaps you just got that job you always wanted. Don’t stop there. Keep growing and investing in yourself.
Even the greatest heroes fail
Marvel movies are filled with our favorite heroes failing. From Captain America failing to bring Bucky back to the good side to the whole team’s failure to save the universe in Infinity War. If you think about Thor, he fails about as much as he succeeds.
Some stay down longer after a defeat than others, but they all bounce back and face their failures head-on. They learn lessons from their experience and use that to help them come back stronger than ever.
It’s ok to fail. As a leader, you need some level of failure in your life. It keeps you grounded and shows that you are trying new things. Don’t let those lessons destroy you. Learn what you can, sit on the sidelines for a minute to regain yourself, and jump back into the action.
You cant hold onto it forever
Several of the original Avengers have come, and are continuing to, realize that you can’t hold on to your spot forever, no matter how much you enjoy doing it. They built in their own succession plans in friends, family, and colleagues. Yes, the Avengers know the value of passing the baton.
Plan your time in leadership and life like it is short. In all likelihood, it’s already shorter than you think it is. Grow the next generation to take on the legacy that you have built.
Learn these lessons and assemble a great leadership reputation.
(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.
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.
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:
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.
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