So I had been hearing about the movie “Hidden Figures” since the first trailer hit the airwaves. Why? Well my Mentor in my Mind and Cousin in my Head, Taraji P. Henson is in it of course. And you have to support family right?
Well the movie came out on Christmas Day and I didn’t go see it. Then a week passed, then two weeks and finally three weeks had passed. I was hearing countless stories of how amazing it was and that it was simply a MUST SEE. So why hadn’t I gone to see it? Life, business, work… do you know what it’s like to get busy working towards a goal knowing that something’s missing? That was me, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Then I discovered what I was waiting for me in this movie. The VERY movie I had been putting off! Sound familiar? So on Monday, January 16, 2017 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I went to see the movie and I went ALONE! So that I could REALLY see it and connect with what I was watching. And I'm sooooo glad I did, I learned so many lessons. But I'll spare you ALL of them here (if you really want them all, because they're all pretty awesome, you can get them HERE). Here are 3 of the lessons I learned from watching "Hidden Figures". But before I jump in there's one disclaimer. This article is full of spoilers. Because I can't share my lessons without sharing the scenes that taught them to me. So this is your warning if you haven't seen the movie yet. Now onto the lessons.... 1. Don't Be Afraid of Your Own Genius: Bottom line without a doubt Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) is a mathematical genius! At a very early age she had a special gift when it came to numbers and everything math. In the movie it shows her get assigned to checking the numbers of the white men of the Space Test Group. As a black woman in 1961 that's a miracle within itself.
But that's not the moment I'm referring to. I'm talking about when she goes above Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) and tells Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) that she needs to be in the meetings with the military and the astronauts. While in the meeting she's faced with the decision to embrace her genius or shrink. She embraces her genius and refuses despite being in a room that no one believed she deserved to be in. We must be willing to do the same. No matter what area your genius is in, embrace it and don't be afraid to own it.
We all have a unique Zone of Genius. The problem is that most of us don't own it or walk in it. What if Katherine had not owned her genius? We might not have had a man orbit the Earth or walk on the moon. At the very least it would have been delayed. What are you delaying by not owning your genius?
2. Be a Platform Creator For Others Gifts: This is probably my favorite lesson of all that I learned. Well I should say favorite lesson that I got confirmed. It resonated most with me because I AM a Platform Creator and probably the one thing that has never scared me about my Entrepreneur Journey. It is however one that most entrepreneurs don't learn. I know what you're saying......What platform was created in this movie?
Well let me tell you! When Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer) was visionary enough to know that the IBM mainframe was the future. Instead of being upset and just taking whatever happened. She decided to teach herself about the machine. She could have easily kept what she learned to herself, BUT SHE DIDN'T! Not only did she prepare the other ladies within her department by teaching them how to use the machine too. But when the opportunity presented itself for her to go to the IBM department on permanent assignment as supervisor (something she'd been working towards), she refused to go without the other ladies. Thus creating a platform for them all to showcase their gifts. Gifts that she helped them cultivate by sharing her knowledge.
So in what ways can you create a platform for others to shine? That's what true leaders do. We live in an abundant world. Don't allow the attitude of lack to make you hoard your knowledge. Be willing to share the spotlight when necessary. There's enough stage for everyone that believes that. What do you believe?
Final lesson I'll share here is..... 3. Be Willing to FIGHT to Operate On & In Purpose: This lesson was beautifully orchestrated by Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe). Her dream was to be the 1st African American Woman Engineer at NASA. Her purpose was to serve as an inspiration for the pursuit of your dreams. She fought for both. Not only did she fight, she was strategic like an Army General. When she was presented with the obstacle of needing a class that was only offered at the all white Hampton High School in at the time segregated Virginia, she fought to be there.
Not only did she decide to petition the court, she approached her battle strategically. I wonder if she read Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”? During the scene when she went to court she had researched the judge and was strategic in the words she used and even in how she asked to approach the bench.
And just as her fight was NOT in vain neither will yours be. But the real question is are you willing to fight? And not only fight but fight strategically. No one said that pursing purpose would be easy. Nor will liberating your voice be a cake walk. But, when you are aligned with your divine purpose you're guaranteed to be the victor in your fight.
So let's understand there's a huge difference between building a business and birthing a brand. It's time to open your mouth and own your movement. Each of these women used their voices, gifts, and talents to impact the world. What will you do with yous?
Walking into that theater and watching the story of these 3 mighty women was like throwing gasoline on an already raging fire. For more lessons that I learned from this movie go to my diary and check them out. As for me, I'm thankful that they owned their genius and walked out their purposes to us all 56 years later that we can do the same. What will your legacy be teaching the world 56 years from now?