Over the weekend I had the opportunity to watch a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the blockbuster hit, Frozen. I love musicals and Frozen quickly became one of my favorites when it was first released.
Maybe it’s because I have leadership on the brain at the moment; but, as I watched the documentary (and, of course, the movie again), I was struck by how much Elsa’s story applies to women leaders.
Like Elsa, so many women leaders find themselves trying to be who others say they should be and hiding who they really are. They are bound up by other people’s fears and expectations.
Elsa was eventually able to find freedom and I believe her story reveals three ways women leaders can find that same freedom.
Don’t Fear Who You Are
Elsa was taught to be afraid of herself and, as a result, she did not trust herself. Every decision she made, from the time she was a small child, was based in fear rather than from a place of trusting her instinct. She found freedom only as she let go of that fear and embraced everything about herself.
As a leader (and as a woman in general), you can’t afford to let anyone get inside your head telling you what you “should” do or how you “should” be. Don’t let anyone convince you that who you really are is too much or not enough. Don’t buy into the lie that you have to fear some part of yourself because it might sabotage your leadership.
Your instincts are one of your greatest assets as a woman. Trust them. Trust yourself. Trust that who you are, as you are, is exactly what is needed in the position that you hold. Trust that you are here because who you are, everything about you, is needed.
Don’t Hide Your Gifts
Elsa’s gift was the thing about her that made her unique. But, her uniqueness was forced into hiding because of someone else’s fears. She embraced those fears and viewed her powers as a curse rather than as a gift. In the end, she saw the beauty in her gift and used it to bring joy to those in her kingdom.
I know so many women leaders who view their gifts as a curse. Whether it is their strong personalities, their confidence, their way with words, or their ability to empathize with others, women are wishing away the parts of them that make them stand out.
Those you lead and influence need your gift. If you go into hiding, they miss out. This includes hiding or attempting to soften your femininity so you can “fit in”. You don’t need to hide your gifts to be a better leader. Bring them out of hiding because you will actually be a better leader if you allow your gifts to be fully expressed.
Let Go of Perfection
Throughout her life, Elsa strove to be perfect, to be “the good girl she always had to be”. She bottled up everything about her that she decided wasn’t good, stuffed it inside and wore an image of someone who was perfect. She thought this would bring her what she wanted. But it was when she learned to let go of that need to be perfect, that she ultimately found real freedom.
It’s okay to want to do your best; but, when your best gets equated to perfection, then we have a problem. Perfection is not a human option. If you’re striving to be the perfect leader, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
Things are going to go wrong, plans won’t be well executed, and some goals won’t be met. If you’re anything like me, you can quickly spiral into a negative place with a lot of harsh words aimed at yourself and the people around you, which is counterproductive all the way around.
Learn to let go of that need to have everything be perfect. Be kinder to yourself and in the process you might discover some unexpected inspiration.
Leadership is hard enough without adding the pressure of trying to follow someone else’s rules about who should be as a leader. Rule following that doesn’t honor who you are only leads to you feeling trapped. And you can’t thrive if you’re trapped.
Learn from Elsa and rise into your own personal greatness as a leader.
From my heart to yours,
If you’re ready to let go of other people’s expectations and become the leader you know you are meant to be, click here to schedule a complimentary coaching call to see how I can support you as you lead. You are meant for more! Don’t let fear keep you from stepping fully into all you are. Schedule your session now.