Be Bold: Business & Leadership Insights from the Hamilton Movie
Well, after much heaviness over the past few months, today I thought I’d lighten things up with a few insights from the movie Hamilton.
Did you watch it? Or maybe you’re a lucky one who saw the live stage version. Personally, I’ve done both. And since I paid for Disney+ for a month, I’m planning to watch it again.
Although the story takes place hundreds of years ago, there are business and leadership insights to gain about being bold that are still relevant. Here are the three I picked out for today:
- Don’t throw away your shot
- Write yourself back into the narrative
- There is room for everyone
Don’t Throw Away Your Shot
In the catchy tune My Shot, (tune in here) Hamilton sings:
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot
Hamilton had big plans and lots of things he wanted to do. This theme runs through the show. Now, you may or may not be young, scrappy and hungry, but do you have ideas and things you want to do? Are you taking your shot or throwing it away?
- Mindlessly scrolling through social media
- Tuning in to a Zoom meeting only to tune out
- Giving a webinar or workshop without getting curious about how to rock it online
- Insert other time wasters here
How can you use that time to take real action towards things that bring you joy and health and fulfillment? Like…
- Reaching out to make a meaningful connection with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
- Attending that Zoom networking event I keep inviting you to 😀
- Figuring out how to turn boring presentations into engaging ones
- Insert the action you want to take here
Yes, the world is still uncertain and unsettled. Yet, there are still opportunities to make a difference.
So, repeat boldly after me, “I am not throwing away my shot!”
Write Yourself Back into the Narrative
In the song Burn, Eliza Hamilton, Alexander’s wife, sings:
I’m erasing myself from the narrative
Let future historians wonder how Eliza
When you broke her heart
As she sings (watch the video here), Eliza burns her husband’s letters so no one knows the story.
By the end, though, she sees a new way and writes herself back into the narrative singing,
I put myself back in the narrative
I stop wasting time on tears
I live another fifty years
It’s not enough
She talks about how she interviews his friends/soldiers who fought in the war, makes sense of his writings, raised money for the Washington Monument, speaks out against slavery and creates the first private orphanage in New York City. (And she still wonders if that’s enough.)
Bold action from a woman in her time.
Have you ever pulled back when times got tough? Like in a pandemic? (Here I am raising my hand) It may feel OK for a short while yet in the long run it’s not. In my experience, retreating fuels anger and resentment. You take away control to tell your own story.
It’s never too late to write yourself back into the narrative. Do your work. Tell your story. Write a new story. Whatever it takes. Be bold. Now, more than ever, the world needs it.
The World Was Wide Enough for Hamilton and Me
These are the words Aaron Burr sings after he shot Hamilton in a duel (listen to the end here). The duel that cost him his reputation.
So, remember, there may be other folks doing what you do, but they’re not doing it YOUR way. Your story, service or ideas matter. Share them in the only way you know how.
Also remember everyone has ideas. So if you’re working with clients or in a meeting with employees, make sure everyone has a chance to share their thoughts, ideas, insights. Be a leader who cares and gives everyone a voice. Be curious. Be bold. Together we can rise up and create a new, better, story.
There is room for everyone.
Write yourself into the narrative.
Take your shot.
Your voice matters. Keep shining.
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