People need leaders, and they follow the ones who get involved and inspire them with purpose, direction and trust.
Peter Pan is near the bottom of my list as far as favorite Disney productions. Peter’s a bratty-little boy who encourages innocent children to follow him to his little kingdom so he can turn them into warriors in order to fight his own stupid battles. (Hmmmm, now there’s a political conversation just waiting for someone to run with.) Not only was his green costume annoying, but so were all the plays my mother brought me to over the years, thinking that I actually enjoyed watching him pretend to fly around while attached to a wire. It was so fake I was insulted that adults tried to pull that one over me.
It wasn’t until the movie HOOK which came out in the early 90’s that I had an interest in learning more about the Pan. I really don’t know why; perhaps because it was the cast of characters; I’m a Robin Williams fan (and so sad he’s not with us in the physical realm) –and who doesn’t like Dustin Hoffman or Julia Roberts? Now there’s a Tink I could aspire to become.
Fast forward twenty years…I found myself attaching the theme of Peter Pan to one of my leadership retreats and writing about his story, Tink, and Happy Thoughts in a leadership book. (Crazy, right?)
In the movie HOOK, Peter Banning and his family (Peter Pan all grown up -with no recollection of his youth) visit Wendy in London, who has aged into a graceful grandmother. Captain Hook, still living in Neverland, kidnaps Peter’s children, holding them ransom until the battle resumes between Hook and Peter Pan. Peter turns to the police for help while Granny Wendy turns to an old book on her nightstand with a young boy dressed in green tights on the cover. She shows Peter the picture who becomes annoyed with the timing of her distraction. Granny glared into his eyes and said, “Peter, don’t you know who you are?”
What happens to our whimsical youth of wonder? Childlike attitudes used to absorb our perceptions and imaginations. A dishtowel around our shoulders transformed us into Superman. Crayon drawings of lions jumped from the page with ear-piercing ROARS. Our two-bedroom homes were mansions in disguise with secret doors leading to secret gardens and hiding places.
When did a dishtowel become a dishtowel? What happened to the secret doors that lead us into spectacular gardens? What happened to the giggles and uncontrollable belly laughs? When did the sense of adventure leave our soul? When did we turn out to be the same, having the same struggles of being over-worked and over-whelmed? I wonder at what age I was considered a grownup, and banned from Neverland. Was it an age, or an attitude?
“There are different kinds of bravery and Mr. Darling put away many dreams.” Michael asked his mother, “Where does he put them?” Mrs. Darling replied, “In a drawer. Sometimes we take them out at night, but it gets harder to close the drawer; that’s bravery.” –Peter Pan, the book
In my opinion, that’s sad. I don’t know where you are in your life, but I can bet you have a drawer full of dreams and adventures. When was the last time you opened it to let one fly out?
We are all Lost Boys, orphans in the wild terrains of life. When we live outside of our joy for any length of time, we wander and sometimes we can’t find our way home. Retreats provide the atmosphere to reclaim our identity. They are opportunities for inner perspective, adventure, and growth. What defines us is strengthened by the love buried in our hearts. Retreats reveal our buried treasure.
Peter lost his joy and didn’t have a clue how to get it back, but Tink, the encourager did. She took him on a retreat.
Fairies are so cool!
So are team leaders.
“Children know such a lot now. Soon they don’t believe. And every time a child says, “I don’t believe in fairies, there’s a fairy someplace that falls down dead.” –Tink
Tink falls as a result of Peter’s boisterous claim that he doesn’t believe in fairies. Tink tells Peter to keep clapping, louder and louder because it’s the only thing that will save her.
Being an encourager is a natural attribute for humans, but even leaders can forget how to ‘be a fan’. We love applause, but sometimes leaders forget how to clap.
During a professional sports game there are occasional lulls of silence in the stands. Player lift and wave their arms, spurring for more noise. What happens? An explosion of cheer rises from the crowd! Fans come alive, subsequently roaring the team to life! Leaders are fans who believe in their team.
Leaders are responsible for production and hold the key to motivation. However, motivation can’t happen, or last for very long, without the power of momentum. People need leaders and they follow the ones who get involved and inspire them with purpose, direction and trust. When leaders put themselves into the game, it’s a powerful play.
Have you ever considered leadership or team retreats? Retreats provide a welcoming atmosphere where momentum is triggered. They can be effective at helping people believe again. They’re an opportunity for leaders to stimulate momentum, teams to become motivated, and businesses to flourish!
Peter’s true values became clear again when he took the time to see them. Become the kind of leader who helps your team to see theirs, too.
For more about using leadership to build momentum, The Momentum Factor launches December 2, 2014 and the Kindle version is only $0.99 for one day only.
Photo: Flickr/inger maaike