Most of us would have to have been stranded on a deserted island to miss the fact that last week the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise was released, and it broke every record for box office gross on opening day. However, what many people don’t realize is this movie means the end of an era; an era in which we learned that the power of one unemployed British author’s mind was enough to create a story that has captured the hearts of people worldwide.
The story of the boy wizard and his friends also touched me. As I watched the final epic, I couldn’t help but remember the first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I picked up the book on the recommendation of my son, who is a voracious reader, and after about 200 pages, I was hooked. I went on to read many of the others, but it wasn’t until now that I realized what Harry Potter really teaches us, and how we can use it.
Looking back, Harry went through a number of travails in his quest to save the world and find peace and happiness. He was treated poorly by his extended family (remember the closet where he had to live?), and it wasn’t until he got to Hogwarts that he began to enjoy life and discover himself. While Hogwarts was supposed to be a safe haven for Harry, he still faced obstacles there including:
- Being forced to rise above his peers and adversaries on many occasions, something all of us have to do in our everyday personal and professional lives.
- Apply his tenacity and persistence to overcome his challenges to claim victory, but not without cost (which were, perhaps, and thankfully, quite a bit more evil than the challenges we face. Really, who would want to go up against Lord Voldemort?).
- Over the years, many of Harry’s classmates were left behind, and despite the circumstances, he still focused on being a leader. This is something we all must do, in a literal sense.
Harry’s drive and determination to never give up are all noble characteristics, and can guide us in how we live our lives.
While we tend to use a few hours in a darkened theater to “escape” from our lives into other places and times, but upon the closing of a chapter as significant as Harry Potter, it’s worth considering the lessons we can learn from “the boy under the stairs.”
What do you think of Harry Potter’s role as a leader? Please share your ideas and any leadership “magic” you’ve gained.
There is another lesson learned from that series. It's that some people you think are your enemies are really your friends and some people you think are friends are really enemies. The challenge is always discovering who is who.