I recently was interviewed by a good friend and mentor of mine, Renee Giarrusso. In her first book, Limitless Leadership, she uses a beautiful metaphor throughout her book to bring her concepts to life: her favourite movie, Wizard of Oz. We often use metaphors in conversation to help us make meaning of something: to bring a concept to life or to help the other person ‘experience’ what we’re talking about. The reason why they’re effective is that they're simple: they simplify the complex and evoke emotion which ultimately helps us really connect to the experience. There is a whole lot of brain science that explains why this happens, but I’ll spare you the detail. The point is, metaphors provide us with meaning and it's important we recognise their value in our careers.
Is your thing sport? One of my clients is the Executive General Manager of Risk at a high growth public company. He needed to articulate the role of risk within organisation and he decided to tell the growth story of the British tennis player, Andy Murray. Specifically, how Andy Murray engaged a holistic team of specialists around him to improve his performance. So that when he returned to the court, he was transformed into a different tennis player and a different man. He had won Wimbledon. The Olympics in London. The US Open. My client explained that Andy Murray’s physiotherapy (physio) team was a little like his Risk team. Sure, a physio’s traditional role is to help sports people recover from injury, but in fact, high performance physios’ roles are to prepare the body to move faster and harder for longer without injury. This was the role of my client’s Risk team.
Is your thing movies? I went away to the south coast of NSW with my family recently: we rented a beautiful house on the water with sweeping views from every room. On Saturday night, while cooking dinner we had the tunes going. As the mum of two young daughters, we decided to listen to one of our favourite Spotify playlists which includes songs from 2 of my favourite movies, The Greatest Showman and Moana. As we were singing away to the lyrics, I noticed I started to get tingles in my heart and goosebumps on my arms. It was like I was the character in the movies, singing those songs, experiencing those emotions.
And here’s why: both of these movies have true meaning to me. The Greatest Showman is about how Hugh Jackman’s character shifts possibilities and creates a new definition of success for him and his circus friends. Moana, is about an island girl finding her identity and strength through her purpose. These are two of the biggest components of my work for Leaders in Finance.
What does that mean?
Meaning matters and is the conduit to purpose. When you connect to purpose, you show up with greater confidence and conviction that you know what you’re doing. When you walk into a room, people look up. When you speak, people listen. When you’re leading people, you radiate an energy that invites people to connect with you and follow you, so you can achieve greater things. When purpose led leaders support each other, they create opportunities for greatness they never saw possible. This is the power in your purpose.
So what? When you notice something that brings about a physiological reaction in your body, pay attention to it. I can be hard to identify your purpose and integrate it into your work: no one really likes holding up a mirror to themselves. But use your physical triggers to help you create meaning and identify what is meaningful to you: this is when you are on your way to finding the power in your purpose. So let me ask you this: it’s a safe space. What is your favourite movie(s)? What is it about these movies you love? Why do you think this has meaning to you? Now I understand this is a little bit intimate, but I'd love to hear what you discover. I also understand that this may be the first time you're doing this work and so if you need the time and space to sit with this idea, then that’s okay, too.
Please know my invitation to talk is there. Ultimately, I hope you find this meaningful for you. I invite you to find the power in your purpose.