How Leaders Become Real – Lessons from Pinocchio
Pinocchio was a block of wood until Geppetto shaped him into a marionette that eventually become a real boy.
Pinocchio was alive but he wasn’t real.
You never become real by yourself.
Pinocchio is first shaped by Geppetto. The cricket tried to guide Pinocchio, but Pinocchio killed him.
The Dolphin appeared and pointed Pinocchio in the right direction.
We don’t become real as long as distractions seem like advantages.
Evil guides distract puppets with promises of ease, pleasure, and wealth.
On his way to wealth in the ‘Field of Wonders’ the path gets dark, “He walked on, not knowing where he was going,” pg 33.
When Pinocchio arrives at the Island of Busy Bees he says, “This is no place for me! I was not born for work.” (pg. 66) But the path to becoming real is never about ease.
Pinocchio heads to the ‘Land of Toys.’ But instead of becoming real, the pursuit of superficial pleasure turns puppets into jackasses. (pg. 91ff)
If you need ease, pleasure, and wealth to be real, you’re probably a jackass.
Don’t kill the cricket.
Reliable guides offend puppets. The cricket calls Pinocchio a wooden head. Pinocchio kills him with a hammer. (pg. 11)
The thing you don’t want to hear may protect you from becoming a jackass.
Advice that confirms makes you more of who you already are. Disconfirming advice reflects who you might become.
Someday a wise person will offend you. Don’t silence them with a hammer.
Pinocchio becomes a real boy only after he saves his father from the belly of the shark.
While Pinocchio served himself, he was a jackass. Genuine service turns puppets into real girls and boys.
Who has helped you along the path of becoming a real boy or girl?
How do leaders move from blocks of wood to becoming real?
To be brief, I was helped along my path by a few authentic leaders and mentors who saw and shaped my potential (and that of numerous others) like an expert woodcarver envisions and creates the work of art concealed inside a rough block of wood. Their example and instruction influenced my development as a professional, a leader and a man throughout my career and continuing even today. Building on the solid foundation established by my parents, church, school and community, they helped me avoid many distractions and false paths, corrected me when I erred, and taught me that there are no shortcuts to excellence. I honor these men and women by striving daily to live up to the standards they established and the example they set, hoping they would not be disappointed by the way their work turned out.
Thanks Jim. There are people who see what we could be and help us get there. The gift of seeing something in others is like a light in darkness.
I see Jim nailed many of the individual’s we are touched by through lives journey. I would add our ” Leaders of faith that find the way in to our souls and lead us not into temptations”, helping on on the the path of rightful journeys.
Remember today as “we are the land of the free because of the brave”.
Thanks Tim. You are so right. There have been many faith-filled leaders who impacted my journey as well.
It seems that we often don’t appreciate these people until we get a few years under our belt. Perhaps one of the best things they do for us is they let us know we matter.
Perhaps a spoiler alert the next time. In the book the cricket dies and returns as a ghost guide but to most of us Jimmie Cricket from the Disney movie lives on forever!
Thanks Brad. Yes, I found it interesting that the Cricket does come back. It seemed to be an essential part of Pinocchio himself. But, there was no room to explore the cricket in this short post. I’m certainly glad you brought him up.
Here’s a thing – to me, I would have said he was real (he exists, he’s a solid block of wood) but he isn’t alive.
Thanks Mitch. I’d be disappointed if you didn’t see things the other way. I see what you mean. However, I think it’s best to use the term “real” like the author of Pinocchio used it.
“How ridiculous I was as a Marionette! And how
happy I am, now that I have become a real boy!”
Just wondering – Why is it that as a culture we pay so much attention and recognition to the “wooden heads” and “jack-ass” big ego types instead of the “real” people who actually are making the world a better place? What happens when the concept of service and hard work are perceived as foolish or worse, a wasted life?