Don't Feed the Ewoks
I remember as a kid, lazy Saturday afternoon summers, my mother, as so many did at the time, chasing us out of the house, on to our bikes and shooing us down the street in a way we can't with our kids today. All the neighbors counted on to watch us. It took a village, a village we had. As the summer turned to fall, which tends to happen, leaves fall, the chill creeps up, bikes are ridden less and a few afternoons here are there, on particularly blustery days, those bikes traded for a TV, and on that tv?
One of the few stories that could be picked up and put down at any point, both because we’ve seen it that many times & of course, George Lucas, started the story with episode IV. It had all the elements of so many great stories before & after. Like Tolkien in the fellowship of the ring, or Gidion of the Bible, it had an unassuming backwater plucky youth. It took all the way through Empire for him to get the straw out of his hair. It had a Cowboy (Han Solo). It had a princess, shooting the new ones Ewan McGregor was quoted saying he wanted to play Princess Leia because he wanted a part in a movie he could wear over-sized cinnamon roles on his head. Thirty years later we all knew what he was talking about. It had gangsters (The Hutts). Space ships. The Force. Hope.
It taught a generation, my generation, how to live, how to love, about failure, success, redemption and never losing hope or oneself.
The Best Star Wars Movie? Hotly debated and definitely a topic for another day. I will say while showing a home recently I over heard a conversation by my client stating Episode III Revenge of the Sith was a superior move to Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Yes my friends, I did stop that house showing dead in it's tracks and had a what-fer with him, A great debate for a different day. Today is for star wars quotes. Not all of them, and many of them not used in context or for what they originally meant. My personal favorites I live by and what they mean to me.
After looking through this list tell me what I missed, what those mean to you. If the ones I stated mean something different to you let me know. And as always, May the Force Be With You.
Do. Or do not. There is no Try --- Yoda
So iconic, probably the most well known quote of all of Star Wars. Repeated so many times, in so many places and yet as true today as it was when Luke Skywalker first heard his Jedi Master say it to break through his doubt during his training as a Jedi on Dagobah. After losing an X-Wing to the bog, Yoda delivers this key business and life truism.
Doubt, fear, being overwhelmed, too much to do in too little time, and all of that wrapped in impossibly large to do lists & impossibly large tasks. Tray then becomes the enemy of do. It's the escape, the excuse. Don't allow doubt to hijack us and hold us ransom. Just take a step, conquer a part of a part of a task. Rise up and meet that challenge, and as Nike said when it repackaged this Yoda Quote: Just Do It.
Never tell me the odds. - - - Han Solo
Han Solo tells this to C3PO when they encounter an asteroid field with very poor prospects of navigating through it without hitting a few, or all of them. Han grits his teeth, says "Never tell me the odds" and heads straight for it (and they do get a bump here and a few bruises there).
Have you ever seen someone (this is especially true in sales) nail a deal they shouldn't have? The first man that ran a 4 minute mile, the odds were greatly against. Never going to happen, until it did. Then happened again by over 100 other people in 12 months. The reality is, odds are merely odds. They don't take into account confidence, experience, and most importantly Grit (for more on Grit: The difference between those that must and those that don't click here).
Odds don't matter. You letting it affect you matters.
In my experience there is no such thing is luck - - - Obi-Was Kenobi
On the Millennium Falcon Luke is practicing with his recently acquired lightsaber, working to not get hit by a laser shooting training droid. It's not going so well for him. Obi-Wan encourages him to reach out with the force to feel and better anticipate what's coming. Calm your mind, set it to the task at hand. He improves. Han believes this to be luck, however Obi-Wan is a believer luck plays no part in it, or more aptly put today, luck is created, earned, taken but never given,
I see people in life, the universe and everything that SEEM to get on easily. Success is easy, skills just come to people, other people are just "lucky". That is not the case. Look at Michael Phelps. His "luck" is the culmination of decades getting to the gym before dawn, working against the pain, frustration and suffering, to break on through to the other side where the wins and accomplishments are. We see the 60 second race, not the 60 hours per week of training for years and years and years. Luck is created not given.
Sometimes we must let go of our pride and do what is requested of us - - - Anakin Skywalker
Then Senator, soon to be Queen, Padme Amidala, played by Natalie Portman whose breakout role was The Professional, is told to go into hiding for her own safety during a clone attack. She wants to stand her ground, fight. Cooler heads prevail, namely Anakin Skywalker, her assigned protector, reminding her there are duties far larger than "her" that she's responsible for.
The correlating saying Pride comes before the Fall is an apt rephrase of this. Pride, stubbornness, selfishness and more often are peoples undoing. It creates untenable, no win situations. Close mindedness and unwillingness to listen to all sides of a situation and reason. In business, coming from a place of service, and being altruistic, has served well every captain of industry I look up to. A great book that expands on this topic is Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf. Also check out more books on Leadership, business, and more here with The Perna Team Must Reads.
There is always a bigger fish - - - Qui-Gon Jinn
After narrowly escaping a fish large enough to eat their craft Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jar Jar Binks (the movie could have been narrowly saved if the craft had an ejector seat and Jar Jar was shot out to be eaten, just one mans opinion) that very large fish gets eaten by another quite a bit larger fish. Literally meaning, there's always a bigger fish. Literally.
In business unless your Jeff Bezos, there IS always a larger fish. If there isn't? You've narrowed your pond too far. Example: I may be the "biggest fish" in Oakland, Wayne & Macomb counties for selling homes, however if I widen my view just a little to a national level, I'm ranked in the mid 60's. There are over 60 "bigger fish" to learn from and aspire to. To stop growing and learning is to begin dying and regressing.
Pass on what you have learned - - - Yoda
Yoda passes this bit of wisdom onto Luke toward the end of his training, knowing to rebuild the Jedi Order he can't keep all the information to himself. The stronger the allies that believe in the Jedi vision are, the more likely that vision is to become a reality.
One of the great truisms of business. To often we horde information, we protect it, consider it ours and ours alone. Pour into the people that work with and for you. Could they leave? Yes. However they're much less likely to do so if you're helping them improve themselves. Pour into your clients. After 18 years in real estate I can say unequivocally an informed and knowledgeable home buyer or seller is a far better and happier one. They'll make better choices for themselves and their families. Make better selling choices, and also better buying choices. . . . . with 70% of our business repeat and referral I have to come back and sell that home in the future, may as well help the buyer choose an easy one to sell!
The ability to speak does not make you intelligent - - - Qui-Gon Jinn
Woof, that's a hard line told to Jar Jar Binks by Qui-Gon. The only way the line could've been harder is if it was "I will find you and I will . . . ." you know the rest.
There's great wisdom in this line. God gave us 2 ears, 2 eyes, and one mouth. Improvement comes from taking in information, learning, growing, and connecting the dots on said information. It doesn't happen by expelling it randomly and without purpose. A correlating quote is Brevity is the Soul of Wit. How many conversations have we walked out of and thought "I have no idea what that person was saying, but they said a lot of it!" I've been both the victim and the perpetrator of releasing a boat of of irrelevant information. Today? I work to try to reduce my word count down to the absolute lowest possible to convey an idea or direction. It avoids confusion, increases retention and frames it as important. Great business lesson.
You can't stop change anymore than you can stop the sun from setting - - -Shmi Skywalker
Or the only constant IS change. Anakin is faced with the ultimate in change. Changing his predetermined future (from being a slave to free), changing/leaving the only family he knows (his mum). CHANGING PLANETS. All needed to reach his potential as a potential Jedi. Though we all know how that turned out, the change was inevitable.
Before 2006 were there smartphones? Sure, however HP & Dell, who owned 96% of of that market, was only .4% of the total phone market. Now smartphones account for over 90% of all phones. We can order and receive just about anything in 48 hours from the comfort of our couch. We're in a world today where we're just a few short years away from fully automated cars and trucks, and my own truck today is mostly automated (it has level 3 automation for all the car guys out there). Go back further in time, Wrigley's. We all think gum, however what is now the largest gum company in the world, started as a soap company. Soon Wrigley, who inherited the family multi-generational soap business, found that buyers were paying a premium for their soap to get their gum. The change? Willing to take a risk and toss our the entire family business and start again from the ground up on a produced that previously had a zero market. He was willing to face the change and adapt, while hundreds of other soap companies simply went out of business as the market constricted. Change is inevitable, however it can be used to our advantage when we can overcome our fears and face it with courage.
Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine - - - Obi-Wan Kenobi
Early in the first (fourth?) movie Obi-Wan Kenobi is defeated by Darth Vader in a duel. Obi-Wan isn't afraid of this because of the time put into Luke Skywalker and the belief that he will not only carry on the Jedi religion, but further, the act of striking Obi-Wan down itself solidifies Luke against him.
Treat everyone with respect. Always. Further, act like everyone is watching, because they are. Expanding on that. What this quote means to me is I and my business can rise or fall based on how I treat my clients, family, coworkers, friends, the teller at the bank, the person at the counter at the pharmacy. I see many people in this world that go about it acting disrespectfully toward others and all meet the same end Failure. We can't control outside forces that happen to us, or the people that let us down or work against us, we can always control our reaction to it. Be the change you want to see in the world, if that change is the light side of the force. If you're team dark side? Carry on, just carry on away from me.
Fear is the path to the dark side - - - Yoda
Young Anakin Skywalker is fearful of what is happening back on Tatooine to his mother due to a series of nightmares, later we find out, are influenced by who will become the emperor, but isn't yet. Follow all of that?
Yoda warns that fear and the reaction to fear is the path to the dark side and once gone down, nothing can stop it.
I find this myself in business. When I decided to hire my first assistant all those years ago I was apprehensive. I was paralyzed for months, dwelling on the thought "what happens if I don't sell any homes? How am I going to pay this person I'm responsible for? Their future and families future are in my hands!" Finally seeing that I could give MUCH better service to my clients by jumping in and making the hire I overcame the fear and made the hire. Since then I've always had that fear, every time I signed a lease (5 years and 300,000 in payments!) made a hire, deciding on a new marketing directive. All of it. Although I still carry the what if with me, I work through it much more rapidly, logically and with a system, keying back into the very first quote here from Yoda. Do, or do not, it's fear that causes us only to try. Then we can look back on a failure and use the excuse "I knew it wouldn't work" instead of "I gave it my everything.
Great Kid. Don't get cocky - - - Han Solo
Han Solo yells this to Luke Skywalker when he shoots his first Tie Fighter . . . . . and there are still three to go. Wins are great, celebrate them, then move on. There's work to be done.
On the team we start each month at zero. The last day of a month we could have helped a ton of families, gotten great reviews and crushed our goals. The next day? The first day of the month? We're starting at 0 again.
Your focus determines your reality. - - - Qui-Gon Jinn
In KW world we have the bold laws, and another way to put this is: What you focus on expands. You have to say to to a lot a the wrong things to say yes to the right ones. Shiny objects and silver bullets abound in business. Clear the clutter. Focus on your 20% and keep that focus through discipline.
Anakin, you're breaking my heart! You're going down a path I cannot follow! - - - Queen Padme Amidala
Anakin is making his way toward the dark side of the force. He may not even realize it at this point, but he is. Padme can't go down that path as she's been a relentless fighter for what is good and just.
Things get rough in business. Sometimes there are shortcut options presented that toe up to and cross the lines of not only ethics, but also morals. When the chips are down, and our back is against the wall, it may look like the only path. This is incorrect. Not only is it not the only path, it's the only path we shall resist with everything we have. Once walking down the far side of morals, your company may be saved. For a time. Long term, the people that love you, respect you and follow you will leave. This is not about unintentional mistakes, this is intentional unethical behavior. If things are bad, everyone knows it. Better to be honest about it, hit it on the head and move on.
Be mindful of your thoughts, Anakin. They will betray you - - - Obi-Wan Kenobi
This one always rang true to me two ways. My thoughts allow my own limiting beliefs to creep in and become the reason I can't. I start to become insecure, and ultimately sabotage my own success.
Second meaning: This idea, the one that's so great. For a product, meeting, post. Pretty much anything. Seems great on the surface but have you done the research? Who else has done or tried this? What were their results? Were those their intended results? What would they change next time? Be mindful of your thoughts.
Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope - - - Princess Leia Organa
Half of leadership is being vulnerable enough to ask for help. Find the people that know more, or can do a job better and get them on board. Steve Jobs both failed and crushed this. The first time he led Apple he believed he had all the answers, was the smartest person in the room . . . . and drove it into the ground. The second time, quite a different story. He realized he was not the best supply chain manager, so he went and poached Tim Apple (Time Cook) from HP/Compaq, who was in fact the greatest supply chain manager in the world. And the best user interface designer, the best chip-set engineers and so on. Get help. Great leaders do. The rest are just managers with titles that start with L.
Trust goes both ways - - - Jyn Erso
If we don't trust our teams, we can't expect trust given those in leadership in return. Trust is a two way street and best preserved at all cost.
I made a choice - Finn Calrissian (Rumored Last Name)
As the Rush song says - If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. Not all choices are easy, not all are right. In leadership, all must be made. Then we own them, good, bad or otherwise.
The longing you seek is not behind you. It is in front of you. - - - Maz Kanata
There are definitely some good days in the past. Great ones. It's easy to romanticize about the past being our best days and a lot of us, I especially, keep a lot of sentimental reminders of days gone. If we choose it, our best days are a head of us. If we choose it.
If all you do is fight for your own life, then your life is worth nothing. - - - Hera Syndulla
Leadership is about being in the service of others, helping achieve their goals, their dreams, their aspirations. One of my favorites Zig Zigler said: Help enough people get what they want and you'll get what you want. No truer words have been spoken.
Let go of your hate. - - - Luke Skywalker
Lead from your heart. Work with the passion of loving the people, loving the positive impact we have on those around us. Hate: A person, competitor etc. There is no place for this and will eventually lead to self destruction.
Chewy, we're home - - - Han Solo
What is home? Who is home? Home is family, people, experiences and definitely NOT our office. It could be a spaceship that makes .5 past light speed.
That's no moon - - - Obi-Wan Kanobi
There is no limit to what the entrepreneurial spirit can accomplish. Think big. Then think bigger. For the dreamers and doer's this quickens the pulse, gets our minds and hearts racing.
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy - - - Obi-Wan Kenobi
And whose in that Mos Eisley cantina? Salespeople! It's widely thought the purpose of an entrepreneur is to make money. . . . at any cost. This is not the case. Many may use suspect means of making money, borderline on corrupt. Rise above it. Stick to your principles. If "Do the Right Thing" isn't one of your core beliefs, get our, we don't want you.
You already know what you need to know - - - Yoda
Dr. Seuss said this one best: You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one that will decide where to go.
Whose the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him? - - - Obi-Wan Kenobi
For the entrepreneur this mean don't follow the latest trend because there is a latest trend and one should always follow the latest trend, because people are following the latest trend. Stick to the tried and true methods that work. Branch out, but only rarely, and with great trepidation. When doing so, hold those results highly accountable.
Named your fear must be, before banish it you can. - - - Yoda
Everyone has a fear. As a business owner I have many, but they're all named, managed, and now have plans around it. When those fears are realized? I have other plans for that too.
Always in motion the future is. - - - Yoda
The future is never set, and to assume that everything will go according to plan is . . . well, we know what assumption are. Be able to adapt quickly, stay nimble and evolve to the need of every situation. Then you'll be ready for any situation.
I find your lack of faith disturbing - - - Darth Vader
The plan may change, the people may change, but always have faith in what your doing, yourself and your value.
(Luke) I can't believe it (Yoda) That is why you fail. - - - Luke Skywalker & Yoda
Believe in yourself. Or fail.
Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. - - - Yoda
Success lies on the other side of boredom and frustration. Keep on keeping on. Stay the course. Too many people give up way before success could show up, and isn't there when it does.
You must unlearn what you have learned - - - Yoda
All the things we've learned as kids on leadership, managing people, and frankly money in general are probably not true. As it turns out leading is a pulling action, pulling people into your vision, while managing is a pushing action. Pushing people to do what you need them to do, mostly unwillingly. Money? The successful know there is a stark difference between rich and wealthy. Poor and broke. Rich and brook are bank statements, temporary, changeable. Wealthy and poor are mindsets. If the mindset is in opposite of reality? Reality won't stay that way for long.
Watch your mouth kid, or you'll find yourself floating home - - - Han Solo
This one is pretty much speaks for itself. We've all seen politicians, ceo's, company owners and more stick their foot in their mouth. Sometimes costing a few sales, sometimes costing entire careers. Use yer noggin before, not after, opening your mouth.
What a piece of junk! - - - Luke Skywalker
On one side, don't judge a book by it's cover. For the marker, covers are everything. Luke didn't care the Millennium Falcon went point five past light speed. Didn't care it made the Kessel run in twelve parsec's (did anyone else notice they made an ENTIRE MOVIE to explain that statement Han made forty years ago?!) I digest. Luke wanted a different ship. Check and double check your online brand, Your competitor is only a few clicks away.
This is some rescue. You came in here and you didn't have a plan for getting out? - - - Princess Leia
Begin with the end in mind. Make a plan, stick to the plan. Change it only when needed. But have a plan
Aaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggghhh!!!!!!!!!! - - - Chewbacca
What? What was that exactly? Can you write that down please? Chewbacca was highly intelligent, had the wisdom of the ages, AND came up with half the great plans. But unless your Han, good luck getting that wisdom to be anything but jibberish. Know your audience, always bear in mind whom your speaking with. Go to them, don't try to get them to move to you. Don't make them focus on the message, to forsake the meaning.
R2-D2! You know better than to trust a strange computer! - - - C-3PO
Some people you're thinking of hiring are amazing! Some are amazing at interviewing. Don't skip the reference checks. Ever.
If you end your training now-if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did-you will become an agent of evil. - - - Yoda
Hard work and always learning, seeking new knowledge IS the short cut. All else are just leading us down a poor path.
I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe - - - Jango Fett
Keep the focus, the goals small. The plans simple. Success is simple, not easy.
You're not not the only one who lost everything. Some of us just decided to do something about it. - - -Cassian Andor
Down is not out. Things will happen, fortunes won, lost and won again. We've all lost a lot, how we deal with it defines who we are.
We take the next chance. And the next. On on on until we win . . . or the chances are spent. - - - Jyn Erso
Never give up! Never surrender! There are opportunities and wins, and as Al Pacino would say, inches, all around us. And at the end of it? Did we take every chance? Did we push as hard as we can push? Only you can answer that question.
In the end, after all is said and done Star Wars helped a generation to decipher right from wrong. Good from evil. Light from dark, as all great stories of it's kind does. That said . . . . Jar Jar Binks didn't have to make it through the first movie.