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Thanksgiving was lovely. The Ina Garten recipe I used to make the turkey and stuffing turned out beautifully, the weather was gorgeous and I had the chance to indulge in one of my favorite past times – watching a great story told on film. The Hunger Games Catching Fire box office sales reportedly topped $200 million in its first six days, and nine of those dollars were mine.
At first I was caught up in the real story. Katniss Everdeen, who had survived the Hunger Games in book one is now suffering posttraumatic stress syndrome. In a twist of fate, she must join her faux love interest Peeta, to go back into the game and kill or be killed. When I replayed the movie in my head on the drive home, it came to me that her survival skills could work just as well in our everyday work lives.
It’s difficult to kill people once you know them: Woody Harrelson plays Haymitch Abernathy, a hard-liquor drinking, yoda-like mentor who tells Katniss that she better form an alliance with a couple of the other more experienced players or she’ll surely be killed. This is smart advice right? The world runs on relationships. What if we employed Katniss’s strategy at work, by sharing more of our authentic self with the people with whom we work. Or giving compassion to people we know are struggling to avoid the poison fog. It would cause people to pause. There might be better teamwork, less blaming, more fun and less stress. If you had to choose someone to get to know better at work, who would it be?
Prepare to fight but refuse to shoot first: In one scene, Katniss draws her bow and arrow on a fellow fighter who pleads with her not to shoot him by saying, “Remember who the real enemy is.” She had honed her skills and could take him down, but instead lowers her bow. Showing restraint and emotional intelligence when things are tense is one of the most sought after skills in business. Are you as empowered and confident as Katniss? If not, whom can you trust to help you develop this skill?
Beware of the baboons: I just had to mention the baboons. At one point I embarrassed myself by screaming like a little girl when one of the raging creatures charged our heroine. But beyond my fear of angry monkeys, a message is buried here. Fear is way too common in the workplace. We fear failure. We fear the people we report to. We fear we’re not smart enough. We fear someone will find out we are imposters. What’s your personal baboon? What fear is keeping you from peak performance at work, or finding contentment and happiness?
Remember the lightening strikes at noon and midnight: Toward the end of the movie we discover that the lightening is a signal that a threat is coming. You know, the regular stuff…blood rain, floods, angry baboons. But our fighters also figure out that there is a pattern – that the lightening strikes at specific intervals of time. Being able to recognize patterns and respond to them is a skill that helped Katniss survive. Managing change and having hope, even when times are uncertain, is as necessary for our survival at work as the bow was to Katniss. How well do you deal with change? What techniques can you use to better manage stress?
Take time to relax, spend time with friends and family, and take in some entertainment over the holidays. If you watched the Hunger Games or took in another movie, share your review below along with your name. Five lucky people will win two tickets each to Edwards Theater at River Park.