Be your own Mocking jay

I will use the Hunger Games novels / movies as reference to begin a post that is very dear to my heart on this very special day that is meant to celebrate women and their contributions achievements. Mind you I am going to use a scene from the movie that lasts all but a few minutes in the 9+ hours of films so I am, you may rightfully say, taking things a bit out of porpotion perhaps but bear with me as I am trying to make a point here 🙂.

In this trilogy the main character is played by a woman who perseveres, going against a series of life-threatening obstacles, all in the pursuit of the simple things in life – the ability to live unthreatened, close to the people she loves.

So why this character and why this reference ? The heroine of the movie didn’t set out to be a hero, nor a leader and she accepted the role very relunctantly after having already proved that she can unite the people. The main thing that strikes me as the biggest truth in the plot of this trilogy is that the heroine almost completely and entirely failed in her leadership role once she officially accepted it. And why was that ?

The main reason was that she was trying to do as she was told – bending her character and beliefs to what was expected from her instead of being true to what she had so clearly demonstrated was already able to do. And this rings true to me at so many different levels.

🎬 Let’s set the scene

So what did our heroine do to actually become the heroine in this series?

(for any fans out there: some of these may be slightly out of order in the movie)

First things first – she was not afraid to put herself forward and fight for what she believed in. Having a strong belief that this was the thing that she wanted/needed to do sets her off in the path to become a leader.

Next comes the part of training and getting ready. Our heroine understands the value of being prepared, understand the rules of the game and understand where she needed to improve if she wanted to be successful aka survive the entire process.

Getting alies and building relationships, whilst being kind to others. At several points in the trilogy we see the heroine being kind and empathetic, working with others and recognising the unique skills that other people bring.

More importantly though not being afraid of the unknown, not doing what was prescribed and speaking her own mind when there was no script to follow were some of the things that set our heroine apart.

How does this map to real life ?

In the past 16-18 years of working professionally as a software engineer, tech lead, teacher and trainer I have come across the following trend.

A fear of the unknown and of not being 100% aware of what is expected of a role, project, team or situation. And yes it’s not irrational to be afraid – it’s fine to be worried about the things that you don’t know and is great to listen to how others are doing things.

But . . .

Even if you try to repeat, to the letter, what somebody else has done you won’t have the same success, even if you try to follow someone’s foosteps you won’t go on the same journey and even if you do exactly what everyone tells you to do, exactly as they ask you to you won’t grow to your full potential.

And why is that you ask ?

As with our scene 🎦 from the movie, our heroine was a heroine only when she was being herself. Everyone trying to shape her to be something they thought she needed to be was just taking away the independent, thoughfull, inspiring person she truly was. She could only trully live up to her role when she was carving her own path through the uncertainty of the world.

🐦So why be your own Mocking Jay ?

Being your own Mocking jay to me means to not be afraid – fear should not stop you from pursuing your dreams.

Don’t be afraid to be you , don’t be afraid to go for it, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to fail and own it, don’t be afraid to learn and start again. Don’t be afraid to hear what others have to say and don’t be afraid to be the one who is right every now and then 😉.

Most importantly recognise from time to time the things that you are doing right and the things that you bring to the table, be thankful for feedback and be ready to honestly assess and evaluate it before you go out of your way to change.

Nothing comes with an exact manual and the best way to learn is to pursuit those opportunities that will allow you to grow, if you can do that alongside great people that you can learn from the better but don’t be afraid to be the first of your kind – even if you need to discover things on your own!

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