“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” ~ Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass)
Unfortunately, when we are young, we tend to pay more heed to what others say than what we may know about ourselves, our abilities and our desires. We want to be liked, accepted and part of a group almost as much as we want to realize our dreams. Belonging is integral to our well-being.
Although we should always listen to sound advice, it is important to remember that not everyone around us is supportive or even encouraging. In fact, there are those who create roadblocks in our sub consciousness, intentional or not. They are the naysayers who tell us what we can/not or should/not do.
Too often, we listen because these naysayers may be our closest friends and relatives–we trust them. So, their opinions begin to rent space in our heads, and we end up taking their message to heart. Doubt creeps in. We may become insecure about our abilities. We may even become self-conscious and feel foolish stepping beyond a certain point. We become afraid to reach for our goals. We fear ridicule, failure, embarrassment. We back away from our fondest dreams and possibly never reach our fullest potential.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can learn how to pursue our goals and handle the cynics if we are secure in ourselves. Those voices and our resultant feelings do not have to dictate our decisions. Like Alice in Wonderland, we can fight our Jabberwocky, conquer it and celebrate our very own Frabjous Day!
Part I – Alice’s Story
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is a not only a visual feast for the moviegoer, but it also touches on some very interesting aspects of human behavior, primarily fear and doubt. For Alice, Wonderland was far removed from the civilized and comfortable familiar world in which she lived. It was a mind-blowing, almost ridiculous, land that challenged all aspects of normality.
Alice was challenged from the start. She was alternatively too tall and then too short. She was questioned repeatedly about her identity. Every creature seemed to have an opinion about what she should do, who she was and her place in the grander scheme of things. At first blush, Alice appears to be quite out of place, a human girl in a land of weird creatures and characters. Then the curtain is pulled back and we begin to see that Alice is rather unconventional herself.
In fact, Wonderland was to be revealed as a familiar, yet forgotten, part of herself–a part that had been safely relegated to a land of dreams. After all, the stuff of dreams was not welcome back home. There were certain obligations and expectations to meet.
As Alice ventures through Wonderland, she slowly dispenses with doubt about who she is and begins to accept her unique destiny. She develops self confidence and takes back the reins of her destiny from those around her. Most importantly, Alice gets back what the Mad Hatter describes as her “muchness” and slays the Jabberwocky.
Alice enters Wonderland as a normal girl but exits as the conqueror and heroine. More importantly, she manages to not only survive in this strange foreign land, but overcome her fears, thrive and reenter her own world, not as merely as dreamer, but a bold doer. In the end, we find that Wonderland is not a problem to be solved. It is a place that can be embraced for its possibilities. It is the abode of dreamers like scientists, writers, artists and entrepreneurs. It is merely the jabberwocky (the fear) that needs to be slain. You can do the same in the here and now.
As Associate Director of Employer Experience for Wake Forest University, Lisa’s passion is connecting employers with student talent and creating a positive experience for both. She leads a university-wide Employer Experience team which is responsible for all aspects of recruiting, retention, and systems for the graduate business school. Her strengths include relationship management, networking, social media engagement, information aggregation, process facilitation and communication. Lisa has been employed at Wake Forest since the fall of 2002. She has over 20 years of work experience in various roles. Prior to arriving at Wake Forest, she was an entrepreneur, venturing into web-based international sales and marketing of salvage automotive parts and accessories. Before that, she was a trust officer in the Employee Benefit Trust area of Wachovia Bank. Lisa is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. Lisa earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Rollins College and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Wake Forest. Visit Lisa’s blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect via LinkedIn.