A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

24 March 2010

Life Lessons from the Movies, episode 2

In just two viewings of "The Princess and the Frog," Tiana has become my favorite Disney princess. Any Disney aficionado, or anyone with daughters, knows there are a myriad of young two-dimensional ladies to choose from in that pantheon. In most cases, two-dimensional doesn't only describe their appearance.

Tiana is different. For starters, she's not a princess. And in a refreshingly modern twist, she has no particular desire to be a princess. She has a different kind of dream, driven by her family ties and her personal values, and she spends her life in relentless, focused pursuit of it. Tiana is no shrinking violet, tempted by evil sorcerers and in need of rescuing by any knight in shining armor. Interestingly enough, in this story, the prince is by far the more helpless of the two.

Like all good mythic heroes, Tiana has disadvantages. She is a minimum-wage earning minority woman in a time and place where such people rarely rise above that station. She has a tragic flaw -- that of being out of balance. She loses someone important to her, and she faces temptation, hardship, and injustice. Of course, this is a Disney story, so in the end, the good guys prevail and "happily ever after" comes right on cue. What's unique about this story is that the fairy godmother (you're going to love this!) is basically a coach. Rather than intercede on Tiana's behalf, she simply asks the right questions and points out the flaws in our heroes' strategies, that they might find within themselves the needed resources to solve their own problems. In the end, they prevail by realizing, and then being true to, what is most important to them.

Here are the questions Tiana needed to resolve. Do any of them resonate with you?
  1. How is what I want different from what I need?
  2. What's my real reason for doing what I am doing?
  3. What motivates the people who are in a position to help me?
  4. What am I willing to sacrifice for what is most important to me?
  5. What am I missing out on as I pursue my goals, and is that OK with me? If not, what do I need to do differently?
Two things Tiana really had right were that she had a plan, and she had an affirmation. Do you have both of those things? If not, drop me a line. I can help.

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