The West Wing, whether you are interested in politics or not, is one of the best shows of all time in my opinion. You may not care which party wins the election, but The West Wing is about more than that. It’s about how you navigate through the world, where there is politics involved in nearly everything. The writing is exceptional, and the cast is perfect. It appeals to both mind and heart, and to look at the higher level, it’s about how to have ideals, how to dream big, and then work to make them happen in the real world which is inevitably full of constraints.
There were numerous lessons to be learned, but here I want to share with you the five main lessons that jumped out at me:
There is always enough time to live your purpose.
Bartlett and his staff manage to make decisions about a nation, attend parties, play chess, do press briefings, write speeches, read memos and God knows what. That’s fictional. But the same thing applies to Presidents and Prime Ministers all around the world. Leaders like Gandhi and Mandela who made a difference. CEOs of ground-breaking companies who get stuff done. Yes, they all have staff, but any manager with half-decent skills will tell you that motivating and managing people is a job in itself. All of these people have the same time as you do. So how is that some of these guys manage to run a country in 24 hours, but some people don’t have time for that book they always wanted to write?
Everyone needs a support system
No one has all the skills. Your weakness is someone else’s speciality. Get the right people in the right roles, and let them get on with it. Don’t just create a team of people who agree with you. Create a team of people who believe in your purpose. Those are the guys you want on your side. They will challenge you, they will disagree with you, they might even yell at you….but the results will be better because of it.
Be Authentically Passionate
Authenticity gives credibility to passionate expression. When you speak about something that you wholeheartedly believe in, it shows up through fire in your eyes and enthusiasm in your voice.
Everyone has to compromise
Know when to accept defeat gracefully. The price of authenticity is that everyone has the same right, and as people are not the same, opinions differ. Your opinion will not always win. Your cause is not the only just cause.
Don’t be with people who block you
They don’t have to help you, but they shouldn’t hinder you. If you are driven to do something, then you shouldn’t have to give that up because someone wants you home at 5 pm. If that fire within you isn’t used towards your purpose, it will consume you.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Which one of these five lessons you need to work on the most? Journal about how you can do that? What steps will you take? Create your action plan.