I am a huge Star Wars fan, and for almost all of my 4 decades much of my daydreaming time has been spent in a galaxy far, far away. The instant that tickets went on sale for the upcoming new film, Rogue One, I was online purchasing them for myself and for my kids─ and we will be heading to the theater in Force on opening night. Unlike all of the previous Star Wars movies, which have focused on the Skywalker family and their epic heroism, this one is different. This movie will instead star the rebels, the role players, and the misfits who chose to “go rogue” behind the scenes to set the stage for one of the most profoundly heroic moments in movie history. We all know the tale of Luke Skywalker, who started the original Star Wars movie as a simple farmboy on a remote, desert planet, and ended it receiving a medal after mystically destroying the most intimidating battle station ever built… the Death Star. A small but important part of the backstory of that tale was that a small band of rebels risked everything to go undercover and to steal the plans for this Death Star that ultimately enabled Luke Skywalker to complete his amazing adventure. Rogue One tells their story.
When I first learned of this film, I was excited but also skeptical. Much of what I have loved about Star Wars from my youth has been that dream of rising from obscurity, learning of some unique magical powers, and ultimately becoming the hero who saves the universe. I think in life, we all yearn for some of that… to have some untapped superpower unleashed and to be the one standing on the podium receiving a medal at the end of the story. So a movie about the “common folks”, those not named Skywalker or Solo, is a much different endeavor. We know that this band of rebels won’t be the ones to actually destroy the Death Star, to defeat the Empire, and to ultimately become legends in the universe. However… if not for their roles in the saga, then none of the iconic, legendary stories that we all know and love would have ever come to be.
When I wrote my book, Agents of Change, I was inspired by finding ways to unleash the untapped superpowers within individuals and within organizations… in many cases to help them to “Go Rogue”. It is easy to get caught up in dreaming of and judging ourselves against those medal-wearing, Death Star-exploding moments that are so few and far between. We may, at times, feel like failures, even in the midst of an otherwise successful life and career, because we don’t see ourselves as the heroes that we had dreamed of becoming. We judge ourselves by the medals, the acclaim, and the celebrity that we fail to achieve and glaze over all of the scrappy hard work, human impact, and unsung accomplishments that we do achieve. That is not to say that we should cease in striving for epic success. Rather, we should more deliberately focus our passion, our energy, and our powers on finding our unique adventures… and Forcefully throw ourselves into them. Instead of holding ourselves back because of the superpowers and the opportunities that we don’t have, we should unleash and leverage the ones that we do.
And in truly realizing our own full potentials, we must embrace the fact that we will likely need to “Go Rogue”. When we get caught up in judging ourselves by the expectations of society, parents, organizational norms, friends, social media, etc., we can put our own dreams and superpowers aside and attempt to be what is expected rather than what is inherent. We can find ourselves reaching for goals that others deem to be important rather than fulfilling our own passions and ideals. We can get bogged down and constrained by rules and restrictions that we are too scared to break or to fly around. It takes courage and strength to veer from this path of least resistance, but only in doing so can we fully deliver the role in the universe that we are uniquely designed to play. I have previously written that the three key barriers that stand in the way of our achieving our missions and our legacies are Ego, Clutter, and Fear of Failure. We need to rebel against these barriers and place our mission above our ego, focus on what truly matters most, and risk failure in order to find true success. And in doing so, maybe we will be THE hero at the end of the story or maybe not. But we certainly will endeavor upon the adventures for which we were made, help some others to reach their own podiums, and unleash our full Force on the world. And… we will better learn to appreciate those behind-the-scenes role players in our own lives who help us along our own adventures and successes.
So as I sit and watch Rogue One on Opening Night, I look forward to celebrating the story of the rebels who paved the way for my favorite “superhero” of all time, Luke Skywalker, to rise from obscurity and to save the universe. And while I may never become a Jedi Knight myself (although I haven’t yet given up hope), I will continue to strive to go rogue and to focus on my role in this epic adventure of life.