change your work life, wonder woman style
Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? The film grossed over $100 million in the first three days after its release. It debuted as the best ever opening for a female-directed film, and has garnished impressive reviews around the globe. Maybe this is unsurprising—after all, superhero movies are all the rage nowadays. But there’s an incredible success story here—of a mythical being saving the world, of a sword beating machine guns, and of a female lead thriving in an action movie. The movie was a risk worth taking, and a show worth seeing (for those of you who have yet to go watch).
Our biggest takeaway from Wonder Woman? Diana Prince’s superpowers aren’t reserved for her alone. She is a superhero we can all embody at work to make our lives easier and our professional development more successful. Read on and see if you agree—here’s a superhero whose powers anyone can tap into.
Know your roots. Throughout the course of the movie, although Diana is far away from home, she never forgets who she is or where she came from. Her Amazonian training is key to her mindset and her abilities. She is true to herself and her background. Be true to who you are and what you are working towards professionally. And, like Diana, don’t forget what makes you unique and the skills and abilities only you can bring to the table. Everyone can contribute uniquely—after all, you were hired for a reason. Find your secret weapon and stick with it, whether you’re a fantastic programmer, a detail-oriented writer, or a manager who knows how to engage and inspire even the most exhausted teams.
Trust the team. No one else on the mission has Diana’s super strength—but without them, she wouldn’t have gotten far. They teach her how to blend in so that she isn’t too recognizable, they launch her into the air for an epic scene where she takes out a villain, and they lend support when she is confused or discouraged. “Teamwork makes the dream work” is not just a superhero movie mantra, either. It’s true. Diverse, engaged, passionate teams go far. As Stanford Business School reports, diverse opinions and backgrounds really make a difference for teams trying to go the extra mile. “In fact, the worst kind of group for an organization that wants to be innovative and creative is one in which everyone is alike and gets along too well,” says researcher Margaret A. Neale. Without challenges to your thinking and your outlook, you won’t have the same creative opportunities to grow.
Be mission-driven. At one point in the movie, Diana and Steve are walking around London when he tells her he needs to run an errand. (For spoilers’ sake, we won’t reveal what the errand is). Diana stops in her tracks, sword and shield in hand. She demands that Steve take her to the war—immediately. Diana reminds Steve that she left Themyscira to fight, and she’s not willing to waste time. She’s driven by her mission to save the world, and that tenacity and big-picture vision keeps Diana on track throughout the movie. Her drive is what propels the story forward. Teams who are mission-driven report the same thing—goals get accomplished, roadblocks are overturned, and projects evolve into incredible innovations when people keep the big picture in mind. Get mission-driven. Whatever it is you’re working towards, keep it top-of-mind. You’ll be impressed at how much a dedicated mission can change your outlook and work habits once you commit to it.
Get out of your element. Diana was a great warrior even among the Amazons, but she didn’t discover her true potential until she left Themyscira and joined Steve’s efforts to stop the war. Getting out of her comfort zone pushed Diana to new strengths, and she discovered she was more powerful than she’d ever known. Research shows gaining a new perspective can give you near-superpowers in real life, too. People who innovate new products and processes benefit hugely from leaving the office to gain firsthand experience with an issue. In fact, professionals who step in the thick of the action to observe, explore, and interact are 17 times more passionate about finding innovative solutions than peers who stay at their desk. That’s a wonder statistic if we’ve ever heard one. Next time you are assigned a project that veers into new territory, take the opportunity to learn something new. Don’t ask for others’ data until you’ve seen for yourself. Your personal perspective will make all the difference.
Of course we wished we had Diana’s superhuman ability to dodge bullets or lift tanks. But put the superpowers listed above in your back pocket, and see what happens. Your inner hero just might reveal itself.
This post was originally published on Forbes.