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Nala and the Lesson of the Supporting Role

Many of you are familiar with the Disney Story the Lion King. Instead of focusing on the main character, Simba, I want to focus on the strong supporting character of Nala. Nala is Simba’s best friend since childhood and after the death of Mufasa, becomes the one Simba needs the most though he doesn’t realize that. Because Nala is not the main character of the story her importance is often overlooked yet I think she is one of  the most important characters of the story and provides an important lesson. That lesson is the importance of knowing what role you are needed for in various situations. Sometimes you are the hero and sometimes you are needed in a supporting role.  It is  about the importance of supporting those you believe in even when they don’t believe in themselves or try pushing you away. It is about accepting their past, helping them carry their baggage and helping them overcome whatever obstacles are placed in front of them to help them succeed. Keep in mind, Nala maybe a supporting role to Simba in order to help him realize his potential to be King but she is also Queen of the Pride, a main character and hero in her own right. Her strength came from knowing when to be in which role to be the most effective in helping the pride.

The supporting role in movies as in life, is not often given the value it needs and deserves. It is not a position that requires nor warrants the spotlight, that is saved for the hero, but the role is just as important as the hero. Without the support from those around the them, the hero would never be able to reach their potential.  Many people want to be the hero of the story, the one who saves the day, the one who receives praise for a job well done, the one who goes on the journey to become the hero. But how far would the hero get without the support from those around him / her? The heroes could not be the hero if they didn’t have the support and guidance they needed on their journey.

Sometimes the most important role you can have is a supporting one. It may not be easy being the one in a supporting role when you may be yearning to be the hero, but don’t undermine the importance of the role. The supporting role is one that is not to be taken lightly. It is a role that requires strength, compassion, empathy, faith, the ability to see one’s potential and regardless of the obstacles, the will to push forward and support what you believe in. The role of the supporter is one that is all guts and no glory. It is a role that is so needed but rarely recognized. But true supporters are not in this role for the limelight or recognition, they are in it for what they believe in, both the person and the cause. That is what leadership is all about, supporting the people in your life when they may not realize they need it, pushing them to go further, helping them unlock their potential and uncover who they were meant to be.  When I say leadership that goes for both your professional and personal life. Think about where you are in life? How did you get there? Think about the people that made the most impact on your life? The people who mean the most to you? Parents, coaches, friends, coworkers, bosses, etc.  Why are they important? Are they important because they are the hero or because they pushed and supported you through your journey to be the hero.

Go forth this week not trying to be the hero, but being in a supporting role to the heroes around you. Know that without you, the hero would not get as far, be as strong and make the world a better place if it wasn’t for you.  Take pride in your role and know that some day your calling to be the hero will come, and you will need supporters to complete your journey.

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