Why I Told The Monk Not To (Rude Word) With Mickey

Wrestling Possums // Mickey MouseMonks are generally gentle and peace loving people. So why was I paralyzed with fear when I looked the monk in the eyes and said: “OK- I will start very slowly – but beware- whatever you do, don’t (rude word) with Mickey.”? Here’s why.

The story begins a few years earlier when a Walt Disney CEO, who when advised by a consultant to refresh the Disney logo, very bluntly said: “Don’t (rude word) with Mickey.” The Mickey logo was sacrosanct – a proven winner and well-loved symbol of everything the company stood for – and was never to be tampered with.

And that was equally true with what the monk wanted to do to me that day, and I just wasn’t having any of it. This is what he wanted to do to me.

He wanted to help me learn and grow…. to help me change and evolve.

Outrageous!  “Look,” I said to him. “What I do and the way I am is a proven package that I have developed and fine-tuned in a 30 year career. It works. It has given me a degree of professional success and helped me achieve many of my goals. So while I am kind of ok to have you to teach me new stuff, I’ll do it only if you don’t tamper with the proven package that is the ‘Chris at work’ me. Don’t (rude word) with Mickey.”

The monk (well- he used to be a monk; now he’s an inspiring leadership coach and teacher, and a close friend of STW’s…) replied: “Chris- you sound like Winston Churchill, who said something like: I am keen to learn, but am a very reluctant student.” Point is- I was petrified that somehow I’d change and be less effective.

Doug Smollan, the Chairman of our field marketing partner Smollan Group and one of the world’s most insightful and generous human beings,  gave me the confidence to embrace learning again. Doug’s mantra is this:

If you’re green you grow; if you’re ripe you rot.

People who are content with who they are and what they bring are often arrogant. “Arrogance and ego is the start of ripeness and the beginning of the rot,” Doug says. “Stay Green- physically, mentally, spiritually, and in your relationships.”

The point is- you can’t help others reach their highest potential until you’re in the process of reaching for yours. Lead yourself first. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.

Be addicted to learning. I spent about 15 years in the darkness of arrogance and ego, thinking I knew it all. I didn’t. I don’t. My Mickey needs continually redesign and refreshing. My eyes were opened by Doug. I have confronted my fears, and now- as I move deeper into my 50s- my entire focus and passion is about learning new stuff. It inspires and energizes me. And I am having the time of my life!

Remember- If You Are Green You Grow; If You’re Ripe You Rot.

And your Mickey will thank you for regular tampering- promise. Give it a go!

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4 Responses to Why I Told The Monk Not To (Rude Word) With Mickey

  1. Donald April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Chris, we are never to old to learn; it keeps you thinking young. A very good reminder to us all.

    • Chris Savage April 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks Donald- thinking young…I like that thought. Chris

  2. Richard Robertson April 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Thanks Chris,
    After two years as a copy writer with an STW company and after a career as a freelance journo/writer, as a 50-something I’ve just set out on my own and started an RV magazine and an organic skincare and perfume company (long story). I feel as green as a young tomato and more alive than I was at 18. It’s proving a wild ride and it has only just begun. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Chris Savage April 5, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Thanks Richard … Good luck with the new venture. Chris

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