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Personal Growth & Leadership Lessons from Hidden Figures

I don’t always extract profound lessons while watching movies but when I do… I am compelled to write about them! ?

Personal Growth & Leadership Lessons from Hidden Figures

hidden figures

In addition to its entertainment value, Hidden Figures contained intellectually stimulating and powerful life lessons.

The movie focused on three brilliant black women who each play an important role during the early years of NASA’s space program.

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Leaders, Help People Widen Their Lane

Tracy and I had just eclipsed the three hour mark of our two hour scheduled meeting and we were just getting warmed up. What began as a video shoot for a blog post I was helping her produce turned into a thought provoking discussion on my self-limiting beliefs.

The subject was simply leadership. But the implications of what a leader is and does began to expose what I defined as focus to being narrow-mindedness. 

According to my definition, I would use words like “wisdom” “focus” or my “one degree” to explain how and I why I justified labeling opportunities as distractions when they didn’t align with my current priorities.

But Tracy told me that everyone has a filter in which they use to process and sort information. And this filter is shaped by our individual beliefs, experiences and self-talk. 

She said, one of the functions of a true leader is to recognize when another person’s filter is so narrow or tainted that it’s more of a hinderance than a provision.

When I explained to her, how I learned to focus in order to make progress she commended me on my dedication but also said something like, “growth will happen as you widen your lane or enlarge your filter.”

Tracy explained, “Arvell, you can focus all you want, and you should always be very clear about the end results that you are working towards. But you can’t assume you know how it’s all going to happen.”

“Therefore, your focus should be…say… 80% of your time and energy, but you need to be open to experiment with the 20%.”

She went on, “A life that’s growing involves risk. And you need to able to take a few chances as things come your way. Not everything will work out but you can and you should quickly abandon them to get back on your path.” 

“But you need to start paying attention… It’s not about opportunities you pursue, but to the opportunities that pursue you. I’ve noticed that when things or coincidences happen… and then happen again and again, that those are the things I need to take a chance on and look deeper into.”

“By giving yourself to this process, your narrow road or your focus or whatever you call it, will widen. Your filter will change and then you’ll be open to many more opportunities because you’ll realize that more is possible.”

Wow!

That conversation made my day and I hope you’ll get something out of it as well. 

Have great weekend.