Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Hopefully that picture got your attention.
As we wind down the year, are you awash in soul-numbing leadership or be-your-best-self shoulds for 2021? Or worse, inundated with top 10 tips pablum on how to build a life or advance your career? All of which somehow has a framework of what that "best self" might be in the opinion of others around us? That's a yard stick no one should bother using.
What I love about storytelling (be it harvesting wisdom from our own personal myths, pop culture or classic literature) as a go-to for learning, is each hero solves their problems THEIR OWN WAY...not according to some academic model or expert-generated schematic they use to defend their choices in the face of board scrutiny.
Take Lloyd Dobbler, the humble hero in the X-er fave, ironical rom com, Say Anything. On the surface, this guy is never going to make it anywhere. Heck, even his name tells us the writers intended us to understand him to be a long shot.
But like all of us, he's got that spark inside of him pushing, dreaming, agitating to want more, urging him to be true to himself in getting it. Our everyman hero, Lloyd, is connected to that spark, connected enough to be unabashedly transparent about being on a true journey, about not knowing. He gets smacked around constantly for being different, for not playing the game others expect of him, but still, he persists. What a #gamechanger.
Lloyd says, "How many of them really know what they want, though? I mean, a lot of them think they have to know, right? But inside they don’t really know, so… I don’t know, but I know that I don’t know." In that not knowing, Lloyd's life is the essential quest for discovering.
If this is bringing up some nostalgia for you about Say Anything, great. I urge you to find it and watch it again because it is chock full of you do you urgings, the kind of wisdom no one else can surface for you, that voice within that you probably hear a lot of the time. Maybe you noticed the wisdom whoppers whenever you first saw it (if you saw it), but along the lines of The Catcher in the Rye, revisiting with adult perspective is a completely different ride.
If the thought of 90 minutes in front of a screen with angsty Xer teenagers is enough to gag you with a spoon, in addition to countless blogs and articles dedicated to the wisdom in this little sleeper gem, there are countless wisdom teachers from EVERY tradition and medium that exhort us all to listen devotedly to the voice within. The question is how often are we acting?
Even little actions count. While Lloyd said, "I'm looking for a 'dare to be great' situation", he didn't wait for those monumental moments to arrive. Instead he exercised his greatness through small actions like the iconographic moment captured in the photo above.
Like him, I'm a big fan of integrating truth into every day life, what I call "light lifts" as practice for those big events. To me, all of life is an Arena in which we show our mettle, in moments both small and private, perhaps transactional with the cashier or passerby, or obviously monumental such as doing the right thing in a way that has broad repercussions. In every moment, we define our lives by either showing up truly or half-effort dialing it in.
Whether it's saying what you really think at a meeting or interacting with loved ones with greater transparency, the spirit of Say Anything is really to speak - and act - on your truth. As one teacher reminded me, "how you do anything is how you do everything".
Your truth is your greatness. No matter the doubters around you, it's never too late to live in alignment with it. In the closing scene of the movie, the two lead characters, Lloyd and
Diane, exchange these sentiments:
Diane: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
Lloyd: No. You just described every great success story.
Here's to your great success story.
Want to strengthen your truth muscle? Get a great jumpstart with my book, The Game-Changers Guide to Radical Success.
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