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Dementors, Courage, and Making a Way


The Young Turk is a fairly recent Harry Potter devotee. We are reading through each book at night and watching SOME of the movies. (Voldemort’s appearance in the graveyard gives ME nightmares. I’m not about to let him watch that part – yet.)

As always, I am struck by the deep insight into the real world that J.K Rowling deftly illustrates through her magical characters.

“There are dark days ahead, Harry “days when we will be forced to choose between what is right and what is easy.” ~ Albus Dumbledore

And is there any greater harbinger for “dark days” than the utterly horrifying dementors?

For those of you unfamiliar with the world of Harry Potter, here is the description of a dementor:

Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.
—Remus Lupin

The reason I find these creatures so completely terrifying is that I’ve been around very real people who are like this.

In fact, I was surrounded by them during my very last gig in the employ of someone other than myself over 10 years ago.

I’d been called in to turn around an organization that had crashed and burned. Poor management, little revenue and blinding egos had driven this entity into the ground. So much so, that the parent company fired the local team and brought me in the re-build.

Now here is a critical fact you need to know: the mission of this organization was to help an incredibly vulnerable and under-served group of people. The organization existed to provide resources, support, direction, and most of all, hope.

When I came in, I certainly did not expect any help or support from the former employees – they got fired after all. The thing that surprised me is that they used their connections and influence to make sure I got no help from anyone else either.

Their position was something like this: if we couldn’t make it succeed, we are going to make damn sure she doesn’t succeed either. They became thoroughly and completely invested in my failure and the failure of an organization designed to do something good in the world.

They were not interested in the vulnerable population they were harming. This group was willing to suck the peace, hope and happiness out of these weary lives in their hunger to be right.

I wish I could say this experience was an isolated incident. Sadly, I see  these kinds of people every single day. They are so blinded by their own egos that they become committed to seeing other people fail. They become committed to draining the world of something that could be wonderful and bright and good.

I say this not to frighten you. I say this because I don’t want you to be surprised when they show up. 🙂

How do you fight real live dementors? (Sadly, I have yet to put together a decent Patronus Charm.)

There are two things they cannot stand: 1) courage and 2) tenacity.

Dig down deep and tap into the well of courage that I know you have and then throw in the audacious tenacity to make a way in spite of all. Stand firm in spite of the dementors and all the fear and doubt they want to spread.

Make a way.

Is this easy? Not at all.

“There are dark days ahead, Harry “days when we will be forced to choose between what is right and what is easy.” ~ Albus Dumbledore

If you are doing the right thing, you know what choices to make.

Oh – and in case you’re wondering how my story turned out, I quickly reached out to a whole different group of people to help me turn the organization into the beacon I knew it could be.  In two short years, our revenues were up 200% and we were helping twenty times more people than had ever been helped before.

And the dementors were dumbfounded.

As always, I’m intensely curious about your thoughts and experiences, so I hope you will share them in the comments. 🙂

P.S. If you want to continue this conversation about Courage, I would love for you to join me for a special call tomorrow:

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