I’m a rule breaker. Well, maybe more of a bender. I believe in spirit and intent, as sometimes rules take time to catch up with reality.
Going into this past weekend, I was really looking forward to Captain America: Civil War. I’ve long said I am Iron Man, and identify with Tony Stark as someone who has had to figure out how to lead without the suit. However, when it comes to Team Iron Man or Team Cap, I’ve been Team Cap all the way.
While I say I’m a rule bender (Tony frequently bends, shapes or ignores rules as he sees fit), I have a firm grasp of what I see as right and wrong. I understand the rules – all the nuances of the rules – to make sure I don’t put a toe past them.
If Tony and Cap are each on one side, then I know Cap is going to be squarely on the side of right. That’s just what he does. In effect, he’s the balance Tony needs.
At least that was my position going into the weekend. The reality, as expected, is murkier than a strict definition of right and wrong.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you may want to stop here. Spoilers ahead.
Ever since I started this writing journey, Star Wars has been a part of it.
With the new movie, there are new stories, characters and learnings to absorb and share. Good and bad examples of how to lead ourselves and others.
If you have not seen the movie, and plan to, please stop here. It’s been a month and the initial frenzy has passed. Go, enjoy, and I’ll see you afterwards.
If you’re still with me…what a ride! For me, the movie was reminiscent of the originals I grew up with, yet still offered a fresh story of heroes and villains.
Watching the movie (again and again), I was struck by how much the paths of both character types were influenced by mentors. By the resulting impact mentors can have on our choices and development.
As a young girl, I grew up watching Roger Moore as James Bond. My parents had been Connery fans before him and continued watching 007 suave his way through trouble during the course of my upbringing.
For almost half a decade, that was the way of James Bond. Beautiful women with catchy names, campy innuendos, and action sequences that suspended belief. What more could you ask for?
When it was time to replace Pierce Brosnan in 2005, the expectation was that the next Bond would be an attractive brunette with the ability to deliver bad pickup lines with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.
Instead, we got Daniel Craig and the world as we know it imploded. A blonde? Never, in all the imaginings of Ian Fleming’s writings, was James – martini drinking, gadget-laden car driving, women seducing – Bond ever to be THAT of all things.
A decade later, we all have a different view of Daniel and 007. Following the Spectre release this month, I told my friends “James Bond has my day job and Daniel Craig is my hero.”
Well, I doubt I’ll become a gun-toting spy anytime soon, but as a leader, Daniel has accomplished three feats that I aspire to replicate. Might we all have his abilities.
1. Be the unexpected
The bar was high and expectations low that Daniel could fill the 007 shoes.
And then came Casino Royale. Do you remember the opening scene? The frog-like man flying around town, trying to escape James’ clutches? And James, in Indiana Jones-like fashion, getting battered and bruised along the way, but still going because that’s what a good agent does?
Suddenly, we did not just have a new Bond. We had a NEW BOND.
If you’ve been reading my articles for more than five minutes, you probably know I’m a movie nut. And I absolutely love series movies that tell a story over time.
It all started with my mom’s crush on Captain Kirk. She had a thing for William Shatner. The one with the fake tan, eyeliner and a bevy of green girls.
She loved the original Star Trek TV show and my brother and I watched all the episodes. When the movies came out, the family was expected to go – even when it became uncool to go to the movies with your parents.
As with most stories, it has only been in the last few years that I see the characters I grew up with as more than their fiction. As flawed entities working together to overcome adversity. As potential leaders that make good choices and bad, but always for something more than themselves.
Running through the alley, the sounds of footsteps echo behind me. Breathless, I am quickly being pushed to my physical limits, but I am not frightened. I know he’s looking out for me.
A day at the office is not nearly as suspenseful (we hope) as in books or movies. That said, it can feel like deadlines are looming, the amount of work we are expected to do is overwhelming, and that our mental endurance might fail us along the way. Strong and supportive leaders help us get through the “dark times” – the doubt we might have regarding our ability to succeed or complete an assignment. We want to deliver for them – will push ourselves – knowing that if we stumble or fall, they will be there to help us get back up again.
Great leaders abound in writing and in film. One that stands out in both is Jason Bourne*. Yes, he’s an assassin for the US government. By definition, he should be a loner – detached and impersonal. Yet he rails against that definition and demonstrates strength of character and interpersonal connection that defy the word “assassin.” Looking past his day job – a minor detail – he has leadership skills that would inspire many to follow him.