“If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead.” —
Disney produced a movie a few years ago in their shortest time frame ever. A mere 18 months.
That in itself is pretty amazing.
But the real kicker is that they struggled for the first 6 months to get the storyline right.
They worked out multiple different options, but none of them seemed to jive.
Usually, at the end of the initial screening for a Disney movie, there are cheers, tears, and people “whooping” their hearts out.
But after Frozen’s screening, there was nothing.
In the beginning, Elsa was vindictive against her sister, Prince Hauns simply disappeared and Anna searched for him. Olaf was a charter that no one liked, one Disney employee even scribbled in her notes “I F***ing hate Olaf, KILL HIM!”
So the top people of Disney sat the team down and told them what they liked about their ideas, then told them, “This simply isn’t going to work, we need to change it so people can relate to the story.”
They finished their meeting by telling everyone, “We know that will be great! Take all the time you need to make it GREAT, but it would be good if you did it soon.” then they got up and walked out of the room.
The team had some hard decisions to make. They needed to start making them, NOW
There are many things that happened shortly after that meeting.
1. The director who knew the video wasn’t what he wanted, had to let go of some of the ideas that he really wanted.
2. The people who were writing had to dig even deeper into their own personal experiences to get the raw emotions so that the film could connect with people on a personal level.
3. The whole team had to work together and make MASSIVE changes to their storyline.
The whole team worked for weeks trying to create a new theme. They worked through over 40 different variations of the theme
But none of them seemed to fit.
Then one day, as 2 teammates were walking through the park talking about their childhood, they wrote the song Let it Go. Well, most of the song.
The next day they presented the song to the team, and everyone loved it. After hearing that the director went back and changed the enter first ⅓ of the film. As the team worked on the other ⅔rds of it.
You might be wondering why are we talking about a kid’s film?
There are some keys here that we can all learn from.
1. The first is that when things don’t work the way we feel they should, don’t get upset, mad, or frustrated. Go to your inner circle and ask them for help.
When the director knew that the film wasn’t going the way he thought it should he could have just kept working. Instead, he asked for help.
2. The second thing is that we need to work as a team.
Do you think that the space shuttle made it to the moon with just one man? Or that America was discovered, colonized, and broke out on her own because of one person?
It takes a team to accomplish anything that is great.
There are many SOLOpreneurs out there that think, “No one can do this as good as I can. So I’ll just do it on my own.”
That might work for a little while, but you will never truly succeed if you are trying to do everything on your own.
3. The third is that sometimes you have to be willing to let go of almost everything you know to move forward.
When the director of Frozen listened to the song Let it Go, he knew that most of what he had worked on for so many hours was all wrong.
I mean could you imagine a frozen where Elsa hated Anna because Anna was going to be named Queen and she wasn’t? Or one where Olaf was mean, had teeth, and was Elsa’s protector, starting a war between sisters?
The truth is that as people, we get invested in things. We pump our heart into something for so long that we struggle to change how we look at it.
Another great example was when I was asked to be the DOT manager for Crossfire. The owner met with me and said, “Dan we are in trouble, and I know that you can fix it.”
He didn’t tell me how to fix it, because he had already tried and it wasn’t working. He knew that they needed a change, a new set of eyes to see issues that they couldn’t.
Not only that but someone new on the team to find innovative solutions.
4. Sometimes to find the answer you have to slow down. As an entrepreneur and a very driven person, I struggle with slowing down.
To be real honest, I have a hard time stopping to watch a movie with my family. My brain is in constant motion.
That isn’t always a bad thing.
Recently I took a few hours for a few days to get back into leathercraft, a skill that I learned as a child from my dad, mom, her dad, and her grandma.
When I first said I was going to do this project, my mind went crazy!
I told myself, “You don’t have time for this.” “Think of all the time you are going to waste.”
After the first hour of working on it, my hands hurt from tooling, my back hurt from bending over the table, and my eyes were starting to hurt from the light.
Then I went down the second afternoon, I did something that I haven’t done in forever. I turned on some music from back when I was in high school, and went to work.
Two hours passed and everything was tooled.
I had 3 new ideas of how to improve what we do for our customers and how to get a few new clients.
Because I relaxed and stopped thinking about how much I had to do, I was able to find solutions to answers that I have been working on MONTHS.
By the end of the 4th afternoon, my projects were finished and I had more than 10 solutions to issues that I have been putting hours and hours into trying to find the right solution.
All I had to do was slow down and let my mind relax.
5. They scored BIG time when they shook things up!
One thing that I didn’t mention above was, just before Let It Go was written, Disney could see that the Frozen Team was spinning (Not getting anywhere, they were stuck). So they decided to shake up the dynamics of the team slightly. They moved the Head Writer into the Co-Directors chair.
The team members didn’t change at all. To be honest, the head writer is pretty much the same as the director. They simply changed her title.
Sometimes all we need to get our team moving is slightly changing the dynamics.
Next time you see that your team is stuck try taking the person who is heading it up and making them a “team sponsor”.
I’m not saying that they pay for everything, simply that they are the person who leads the meetings, the one who is going to take charge of the process.
Then you go and join the team and add your valuable input as a team member instead of as the leader.
There are so many things that we can learn from watching others.
Today I want to encourage you to take Walt Disney’s lead and go out there and make memories that will last a lifetime!