Inspiration for blogs comes in the strangest of ways sometimes. I was at the cinema on Saturday, gripped by Marvel Avengers Endgame. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know that Thor has something of a tough time in this movie, suffering from depression and grief. He quits the team, starts drinking, and tries to lose himself. He becomes fat, drunk Thor.

At some point, he ends up on his home world in a different time, and is able to have a conversation with his mother. She turns to him and says: “The measure of a person, a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” The line struck me with such force that it had me scrabbling for my phone in the middle of the cinema to email myself the quote so I could write about it.

Work-Me or Home-Me?

The most common question I’m asked by clients in the context of Leadership is “I’m not sure who to be.” We try and box off Work-Me and Home-Me, keep them separate. And the problems start when Work-Me is a step too far from Authentic-Me, as your team members and colleagues will already have a sense of who your Authentic-Me is and will then detect the dissonance when you aren’t being authentic.

So a simple leadership conversation can become a deeper examination and discovery of Authentic-Me. If you are going to shine as a leader, then being aware of and comfortable with every aspect of your personality is vital. Having an expectation that leaders are perfect is a thwarted expectation. So being able to acknowledge the good, bad and the ugly to yourself and your colleagues is an important behaviour.

Hero’s Journey

Let’s get back to Thor. He’s a leader and a hero. And this check-in from his mother (perhaps a mentor in a leadership context) enables him to get back into the game. But as the Thor he is now rather than who he was before. He’s been on his own hero’s journey which ended with the death of some colleagues, and at the end of this journey he needs to embrace that he is different. And his reality has changed. I can share more about the hero’s journey with you if you aren’t familiar with it (it’s also a very useful little coaching tool too…).

Sometimes it’s easier to use a role model that you believe shares your values and approach if you are struggling to articulate your own. I’ve had clients tell me they are Yoda, or Olivia Pope for example. They print off pictures of their characters and keep them visible at work. This enables them to access and step into the desired behaviours of their role model. And if you step into the new behaviours again and again, you are modelling and forming new habits. Evolving.

I downloaded the picture of the smiling lady as she looks so happy, so at ease, comfortable with herself. It seems to me she’s being successful at who she is.

Executive Coach Meriel Swain is particularly interested in helping people who are at some sort of crossroads in their life. Meriel works using a lot of intuition and at quite a deep emotional level.