Disney has been busy. Last month the company launched their Disney+ streaming service. This month, they opened Rise of the Resistance—the new Star Wars themed ride at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. And this week, they release the much-anticipated final installment of the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies, The Rise of Skywalker.
Each of those endeavors involved risk and was accompanied by criticism. But Disney is a company whose foundation is built on risk and the acceptance of inevitable criticism. The origins of this mentality can be traced back to the company’s founder and namesake.
Biographers frequently cite the tremendous criticism Walt Disney received for his creative ventures. Nobody will ever watch a cartoon about a giant mouse. People will never sit through a feature length animated film. That may work on the big screen, but it’ll never work on television. You can’t build a theme park in the middle of a swamp.
Walt Disney wasn’t deterred by his critics, but he wasn’t motivated by them, either. This is one of the most fascinating elements of his career.
So many of us go through life with a proverbial chip on our shoulders. Someone slighted us or doubted our abilities and we use that criticism as our motivation. We become driven to prove our critics wrong.
Walt Disney was an incredibly driven person. However, the source of Walt Disney’s drive wasn’t proving his critics wrong. He understood that criticism accompanies creativity. Taking risks draws the unavoidable attention of doubters. Walt Disney took risks because he believed them to be necessary. His motivation was the enjoyment of turning his ideas into reality—not proving his critics wrong.
Good teammates operate similarly. The impetus for their actions is never due to slight or doubt. Good teammates don’t have, nor need, a chip on their shoulder. They are motivated exclusively by their unquenchable desire to serve the needs of their team.
If taking a risk is the best way to serve their team, then the risk is taken. If making a sacrifice is the best way to serve their team, then the sacrifice is made.
It’s worth noting that good teammates don’t ignore criticism. They acknowledge and listen to it. Criticism is viewed as feedback and provides them with invaluable insight. To good teammates, criticism isn’t a deterrent nor a source of motivation, it’s an opportunity to discover how others view their choices.
Being motivated by slight or doubt is as fleeting as being motivated by fear. Individuals who allow themselves to be motivated by a chip on their shoulder limit their potential. When you are motivated by purpose, however, your potential is limitless.
Service leads to purpose. Purpose leads to happiness. Happiness leads to being receptive to the sort of inspiration and risk taking that creates the impossible. In the words of Walt Disney, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.