Finding your Inner Dumbledore
This past summer, I devoured all seven books in the Harry Potter series for the first time. Yes, I’m forty-two-years-old and only getting around to them now. I’m a bit late to the party, what can I say? I’ve been so focused on my own growth as a coach, that I haven’t read anything off the topic of self-improvement in years. But this summer I just wanted to read something fun. As is the case with many coaches though, I couldn’t simply take the books at face value. I had to analyse the characters as I went.
The first thing that struck me was what an amazing writer J.K. Rowling is. What skill this woman has for detail. I could picture everything that happened in the books, see exactly what she wanted me to see. It struck me as an incredible display of a person’s talent, and reminded me how powerful it is when people use their own.
The next person I couldn’t stop analyzing was Dumbledore. And I’ve since decided I want to be like him. I aspire to have his calm demeanor, and to move through catastrophes with total ease. Throughout the entire series, whenever somebody was having an emotional outburst around him, Dumbledore just sat quietly and allowed people to express themselves as they saw fit. Even when Harry is in a rage and smashing everything in Dumbledore’s office, all he says is, “By all means continue destroying my possessions. I daresay I have too many!”
However, reaching the pinnacle of calm doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone. There is a common misconception that only with age comes that Dumbledore-esque acceptance. And sometimes it does happen that way, but I started asking myself, why should we wait until then? How old do you really need to be to realize that you WILL make it through everything life hands you, and that it’s easier to do so trusting it will work out, rather than getting overly stressed. Our minds don’t work well when they are stressed anyway.
But being old, wise and accepting doesn’t mean there’s no margin for error. There is a beautiful moment in the book when Dumbledore realizes he’s made a mistake. He goes to Harry (a teenage boy), apologizes, and then admits the error of his ways. This is one of the only times in the books Dumbledore shows emotion. And yet, even at his age, and with his status, his ego doesn’t stop him from admitting his mistakes and seeking forgiveness from a young boy. He remains humble and honest with himself and those around him. Dumbledore also explains to Harry that no matter how hard we all try, we never stop making mistakes. They are inevitable. Oh, that we could truly know and accept that fact, allowing others to do the same.
Another thing I noticed was how clear Dumbledore was when he made the decision to talk to Harry. Dumbledore trusted his instincts and his own innate knowledge. He took the time to think things through without dwelling on them, and then took action.
Thus, my motto right now is: find your inner Dumbledore. And it’s really been working. When I start to feel stressed, I take a moment, breath and think, “How would Dumbledore handle this?” The thought initially makes me laugh, because I’m trying to think like a fictional character, but laughter is what I need to get my mind back to a place of creativity. Once I’m there, I can look more open-mindedly at my problem. Then I’m able to recognize whether I’ve made a mistake that needs to be rectified, or if I can simply move forward with the clarity of a 100-year-old Wizard. 😉