Personal Growth Lessons from Toy Story 4
For those who may not have been reading my articles before today, about two months ago I took a day to go to the movies. While I enjoy movies enough to just watch them, on this day I took time to look for and track leadership lessons.
If you would like to see previous articles from The Lion King you can find them here.
Today we will begin to look at Toy Story 4. As usual, I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but sometimes it is inevitable.
Lesson 1: Coming from trash, doesn’t make you trash.
Everyone has a past, an origin story. For some, home was great, you had lots of opportunities. You may have even done well at most things. For many however, your past comes with struggles. Maybe you were raised by a single parent. Maybe you were raised in poverty. Perhaps your home was great, but you made a major mistake or two that sent you on a difficult journey.
No matter where you come from, today is a new day. You have the ability to choose a different path for yourself. However, you will only go as far as your belief. As my coach, Kary Oberbrunner says, “You will never exceed your internal set point.” You must believe you are more than the trash you came from or you will keep going back to it.
So, what can you do to change your “set point.” Start with this statement when defining your past, “Up until now…” This mindset gives you the freedom to change the story. It is a turning point when you choose to make it one.
Next, let yourself be loved. Sometimes we run from those who care for us, because our own beliefs get in the way of our being loved. Yet, when you realize that someone else’s willingness to love you is a blessing to them, you discover value goes beyond your beliefs about yourself.
Lesson 2: Be who you are right now.
Throughout the Toy Story series, we find out that value comes from bringing joy to others. Sometimes we fail to bring joy to others because we believe we only have one gift. The truth is that you are who you are right now, and who you are is enough to bring joy to others. You may not be perfect, you may even be broken, but being willing to just be you is the best way to lead.
Craig Groeschel, leader of the largest church in North America, says, “People would rather follow a leader who is always real, than one who is always right.”
Your glory days are not behind you, and you don’t have to be what others expect of you, just be your best you, and you will find your place to help others. Your life will be measured in relationships, and relationships are made up of broken people who need each other. So, be yourself and bring others joy.
Lesson 3: Don’t sit on the shelf, go find your kid.
Too many people are waiting around for someone to give them purpose. Purpose is found in doing, in serving, in sacrificing. Among Millennials and Generation Z, suicide rates are on the rise. As I have been learning from leaders around this issue, I have come to a conclusion: the lack of known purpose is leaving too many people empty.
I have heard the good news that Millennials want a bigger purpose than a paycheck. The problem is most jobs aren’t bringing them the fulfillment for which they had hoped. If this is you, please, keep reading.
Fulfillment will not come through your work, most of the time. What is the old saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” HOGWASH! The best jobs in the world require work, that is why they call them jobs.
I do believe that work can be fulfilling and profitable, and you should look for a job that has you working from your “zone of genius” as much as possible, but it will still be work. But for some people, many people even, a job is just a paycheck, but that is not necessarily a reason for despair.
I spent the better part of my life in full-time vocational ministry, and I loved it. However, there were periods in my life when I worked another job, so I could stay in ministry. In fact, I spent several years selling furniture in order to be able to lead a wonderful group of people into deeper relationship with Jesus.
At one point I was offered a very good promotion, that would have paid a much higher salary, but required more hours and commitment. I told my boss, “Thank you, but I cannot accept the promotion. You see I am a pastor. I do this so I can do that. I cannot give more to this at the expense of that.”
I know of artists, musicians, and writers who all love to create, but they don’t want their art to have to pay their bills, so they have jobs they like, that pay well enough to let them create without pressure.
Sometimes purpose is found beyond the workplace and that is ok. Still, purpose is not found by accident. We find purpose when we go looking for it. No one needs to give you purpose, and it may to work to find it, but you will only discover your meaning and fulfillment by getting out and serving others in different ways until something clicks.
Here is the best news of all, if you spend your whole life, looking for others to serve, and you never figure out exactly what your purpose is, you will still have had a fulfilling life.
So, go find life, stop sitting on the shelf waiting for it to find you.