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LIGHTS, CAMERA, CRUCIBLES: That’s a Wrap! #130

Warwick Fairfax

September 1, 2022

This week we tie a bow on the package that has been our special summer series, LIGHTS, CAMERA, CRUCIBLES: What Our Favorite Movie Heroes Can Teach Us About Overcoming Setbacks and Failure. Host Warwick Fairfax and cohost Gary Schneeberger discuss five key learnings from the eight episodes that comprised the series – spotlighting such highlights as Captain America’s oft-repeated mantra of “I could do this all day” as he faces challenges to John McClane’s never losing his sense of humor as he encounters an endless barrage of crucibles in DIE HARD.

Added into the conversational mix are additional stories that spotlight the takeaways from the series with some examples from prior podcast guests and Warwick’s and Gary’s own experiences.

Highlights

  • How the films came alive in a fresh way as we watched them through a Crucible Leadership lens (2:37)
  • We all have secret identities of some sort  (5:26)
  • Why we spent 8 weeks talking about movie heroes (9:24)
  • Heroes produce “elevation: in us (9:56)
  • Heroes can heal our psychic wounds (12:55)
  • Heroes nourish our connections with other people (15:36)
  • Heroes show us how to transform our lives, turning us into heroes ourselves (20:01)
  • Lesson 1: Develop perseverance like Captain America did (25:53)
  • Podcast guest Lucy Westlake: a model of perseverance (31:35)
  • Lesson 2: Find a team of fellow travelers like Iron Man did  (38:50)
  • Warwick’s own journey of finding a team of fellow travelers to help him achieve his vision  (46:04)
  • Lessons 3: Live life on purpose, dedicated to serving others, like Spider-Man did (50:20)
  • Podcast guest Nancy Volpe Beringer found her calling as a fashion designer serving others (56:32)
  •  Lesson 4: Don’s lose sight of your vision, or the values that undergird it, as Roy Hobbs did momentarily in THE NATURAL (1:02:38)
  • Podcast guest Hank McLarty rebuilt his business after learning this critical lesson after a steep cost  (1:08:21)
  • Lesson 5: Keep your sense of humor, as John McClane does in DIE HARD (1:13:10)
  • Gary’s example of delving into humor delivering his eulogy for his father (1:17:18)
  • Warwick’s own experience of using humor to navigate his crucible (1:20:01)
  • Warwick’s message of hope to wrap up the series (1:23:05)
  • Reflection questions (1:26:44)

Transcript

Warwick Fairfax:

Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax, the founder of Crucible Leadership.

 

Speaker 1:

Who are you under there? What are you hiding?

 

Speaker 2:

My son dreamt of a better world. That’s why he saved me.

 

Speaker 3:

You can go to any timeline, any universe. Why fight to save this one?

 

Speaker 4:

What could be greater than a king? The hero.

 

Speaker 5:

I just got goosebumps.

 

Speaker 6:

If we don’t stand up, no one will.

 

Speaker 7:

Come with us. It’s a glorious world out there waiting for you.

 

Speaker 8:

Are you in?

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Are you in? Perfect question to ask this week as we tie a bow on the package that has been our special summer series, Lights, Camera, Crucibles: what our favorite movie heroes can teach us about overcoming setbacks and failure.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Hi, I’m Gary Schneeberger, co-host of this show. This week, Warwick and I discuss five key learnings from the eight episodes that have comprised the series, spotlighting such highlights as Captain America’s oft-repeated mantra of, “I could do this all day,” as he faces challenges, to John McClane’s never losing his sense of humor as he encounters an endless barrage of crucibles in Die Hard. We add into our conversational mix additional stories that spotlight the takeaways from the series with some examples from prior podcast guests and our own experiences. It all adds up to a discussion we hope is as rousing and inspirational as that clip we played at the top, focused on the superhero films already released or coming soon from DC films this year. We’re in and we hope you are too.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

We did eight episodes in Lights, Camera, Crucibles, of eight movies featuring heroes. Just to run through them, they were superheroes, action heroes and sports heroes. Let’s see if I can recall all eight, Warwick. There was Spider-Man, there was Captain America, they’re here. There was Ironman, there was The Natural Roy Hobbs, there was Robin Hood, there was Batman, there was Die Hard, John McClane. And there’s one more that was eight. There was… I’m missing one that is falling out of my brain.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Was that, have you already got Hoosiers?

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Hoosiers! That was the last one we did. You’d think I’d remember that. So yes, Hoosiers and Norman Dale, the coach in Hoosiers who’s a great redemption story. So those are the folks that we tugged on for insights in equipping you, listener, for how to overcome crucibles. And there were a bunch of lessons and we’re going to hit on some of those here, but before we get into the nitty gritty, the meat and potatoes of this, Warwick, one of the things we both said during the series was that these are all movies that we love. These are all movies that we’ve seen more than one time in most cases. And yet, watching them with this lens on, for Beyond the Crucible, made them richer than they had been before just watching them as popcorn entertainment, having some chuckles while you’re watching the movie. Watching them to pull out actionable lessons for how to move beyond the crucible and lead a life of significance. These movies came alive in fresh ways, didn’t they?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

They really did, Gary. Typically, as you say, when you watch a movie it’s to be entertained. You don’t watch Ironman saying, “What are the leadership and life lessons that can help me lead and be a better human being?” whether it’s The Natural in Roy Hobbs or Robin Hood. So watching all these movies and just trying to understand what are the drops of redemption, the lessons learned, the character of growth in all of these heroes. It was really instructive. There’s a lot of lessons.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

When you look at movies with superheroes, it’s easy to think, “What can I learn from the superhero? Because I’m not a superhero.” But often the lessons we learn is how they dealt with human emotions, with loss, with their own agenda and aggrandizement versus serving others. These are all lessons that all of us can learn, so it was really fun looking at it through a different lens.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And it’s interesting, one of the things that never came to me until right now when you said that through any of the eight episodes that we’ve done before this one, this wrap up one, was, for superheroes in particular, most of them have “secret identities.” There’s what the public knows of them on one sense as the individual and then as the hero.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And that’s sometimes our stories too. We have inner lives that maybe other people don’t know about and that can be in itself a challenge to navigate as we’re walking through a crucible. People expect, perhaps, we’re going to react in a certain way because they don’t quite know our secret identity, what’s roiling around in our heart.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Is that fair? That sometimes what makes crucibles difficult is that what we project to the world may not be how we’re living inside.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. That is always one of the challenges. We might seem to be confident, outgoing, we’ve got it all together and inside we’re broken or in bad cases dying inside. So yeah, it’s an interesting thought that a lot of these superheroes have secret identities. We might have a secret identity inside and the secret identity might be I feel like a loser, I’m messed up, I’m broken. You shouldn’t love me. You shouldn’t care for me if you had any common sense.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

So yeah, I think we all need to deal with the inside because the inside that negative self talk can damage our ability to lead, can damage our ability to live. So yeah, the inner demons, the inner conversations we need to deal with, certainly. And most of these superheroes have inner demons, have inner challenges. It’s hard to think of any superhero that doesn’t have inner challenges.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And not just the superheroes that we talked about, but also the other heroes, who talked about inner demons, talked about problems. Norman Dale, the coach in Hoosiers, this sort of hidden thing where he assaulted one of his players in college and got banned from the NCAA. John McClane who has troubles with his wife and his family is falling apart. There are things going on in life that if I’ve heard you say it once, I’ve heard you say it a 100 times, we have to do the soul work that is required of bouncing back from a crucible as well as some of the practical work. That, it’s fascinating to me that this is the ninth time we’ve talked about movie heroes and that just popped up into my head, is that’s something else that we have to learn from this process, that we can’t always keep our secret identity secret. Right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. I think we can’t help others until we help ourselves. I think in the faith-based world, they talk about evangelism begins at home. You’ve got to preach to yourself before you even contemplate preaching to others. And so, getting beyond a crucible, which is the title of this podcast, typically means doing a lot of soul work. Until you deal with your inner demons, your inner issues, you won’t be able to help anybody because you’ll be weighed down. It’s like trying to run a marathon with five tons on your back. You won’t get very far. You will just stop on your tracks.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

So yeah, for all those people out there, I’m a very reflective person but lot of people aren’t. It’s like, “I don’t want to do this inner stuff. I’m too busy. I want to help a bunch of other people.” You want to help other people? You need to help yourself. Otherwise, you’re not going to help anybody. That should motivate even those non-reflective people out there.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Amen. And that’s a good thing, right? That’s one of the great things about this series has been the things that come to our minds as we’re talking through this, that was a point that we had not planned to make. And look at that, we made that point.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But listener, you may be wondering in a fuller sense why did we spend eight weeks? Why did Beyond the Crucible spend eight weeks talking about movie heroes, superheroes, sports heroes and action heroes? And just to level-set us as we get going and talk about what we’re calling Five Ways to Transform Into a Crucible Busting Hero, that’s the theme of the episode today. But before we get there, we’re going to do a little crop dusting here with just some ideas about why we’re talking about heroes at all.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And we’re going to revisit something we talked about in the first episode, not in depth, but just to give you an idea of why we chose these types of movie characters. And that comes from a Psychology Today article about how heroes can improve our lives. What is it about heroes that improves our lives? And the first point of that article was that they produce in us an emotion called elevation.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

It goes back to an article in 2014 which says that research suggests heroes and heroic action evoke a unique emotional response that scientists have labeled “elevation.” Thomas Jefferson used to talk about this as the way people felt moral elevation when they read great literature.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

How do heroes elevate us in that sense, Warwick? How do you think that plays out?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

I think heroes, they kind of sweep us along in this sort of tide of, I don’t know if it’s euphoria or encouragement, they really just lift us up. They inspire us. They make us think, “That’s who I want to be, that kind of save the day, help people.” They appeal to our better angels. You’ve obviously got Spider-Man who rescues Mary Jane as he defeats the Green Goblin. Batman, obviously in the movie that we looked at, saves Gotham City from the Joker who is terrorizing everybody. And obviously, poor John McClane is going out to the coast to have some fun with his wife.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And a few laughs, yeah.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Have a few laughs and ends up having to combat terrorists at Nakatomi Plaza. With all of these, we tend to see ourselves in the role of hero in the sense of, “I’d like to be the one to save the day even in a small way to do something good for my family, friends, coworkers. I’d like to do something right for a change.” So there is this sense that it elevates ourselves, it elevates the sights and how we look at ourselves. So yeah, I think the heroic movies can have really great effect on us.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

It’s kind of like the clip that we played at the beginning of the show, which is the trailer for 2022 from DC Films, the people who do Batman, Aquaman, The Flash, this idea that the world needs heroes. There’s a sense of awe when you encounter heroes, when you see what heroes do that just can’t help make you feel elevated. Can’t help but make you stand up and cheer. And that’s an important thing for us, especially as we’re battling a crucible, is to just have this sense of having your spirits lifted.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

That’s the first point of why we dug deeply into heroes for this series. Second one is that heroes can heal our psychic wounds. I thought this was fascinating, that this article in Psychology Today talked about how in ancient cultures tribe members huddled around a big campfire together at the end of the day. They gathered for warmth because they didn’t have heat in their caves. They gathered for warmth, but they also did something else: they told stories. The physical warmth of huddling together was lifesaving, but in some ways, life enriching the stories that they told, it made life more attractive, easier to get through. It inspired them.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Again, going back to the first point, there was awe in those stories, there was exhilaration, there was elevation in those stories. That worked out again in what we talked about here and the films that we addressed on this show, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah, absolutely. Cultures for thousands and thousands of years have talked about heroes. I don’t think there’s ever been a culture in the history of the world that doesn’t have heroes, that people will gather around the campfire telling stories. Obviously, one that we’ve spoken about is Robin Hood that goes back to, I don’t know, 1100-1200s. And people have been telling stories about Robin Hood that is a mythic person and the stories have changed from original Robin Hood was Robin Long Stride, a common man, a common yeoman. Then later, a few hundred years later, it became a Saxon noble that was oppressed by the Normans that controlled England at the time.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

But Robin Hood has been around for hundreds of years as this guy that would defend the defenseless, the oppressed, the poor, the common man, the common woman against the tyranny of Prince John and his henchmen. So there is something about just telling stories of heroic figures, it just touches us. I think back to the ancient Greek heroes of Odysseus and the Trojan Wars taking 10 years to get back from Troy to his native Greece, and Achilles and Agamemnon, all of these great heroes. Greeks have been telling stories about the ancient Greek and heroes for thousands of years. So it’s a part of our culture, part of every culture of just telling stories of heroes. It’s healing, it’s soothing. We all love doing it.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Our third point from the Psychology Today article, again, which we’re not getting into in any depth, we’re just doing a drive-by with it. But the third point is heroes nourish our connections with other people. “Storytelling,” the article says, “is a community-building activity. The sense of connectivity it builds is critical to human emotional wellbeing. Hero stories create a strong sense of social identity.”

 

Gary Schneeberger:

I haven’t shared this with you, Warwick, because I just got it yesterday. By yesterday I mean the day before we’re recording this episode. And if you remember, listener and Warwick, when we talked about Ironman, I made reference to watching that movie and the funeral of Tony Stark in that film. And I mentioned how my nephew, a young man in his twenties, late twenties, was so moved by that experience. I did not tell him I mentioned him in the podcast, but yesterday he sent this text to me. Listen to what he wrote in light of what I just said, “Storytelling is a community building activity, a sense of connectivity. It’s critical to human emotional wellbeing.”

 

Gary Schneeberger:

This is what my nephew Luke wrote me, “You know, every now and again I will see videos people took in theaters during Avengers End Game at the end when all the Avengers come together and how everyone just loses it.” In other words, there are videos going around about everybody crying when all the Avengers come together during Tony Stark’s funeral. And my nephew says further, “I remember being very depressed at that time and unmotivated to really do or enjoy anything and that you invited me along opening weekend to see it. I got to experience that. And every time I get to look back at these kinds of videos, I still feel the rush of excitement and how groundbreaking that movie was and that everyone who enjoyed the MCU got to experience it together. It’s one of my most treasured memories.” That is the power of social connection, the power of emotional connectivity that can come from hero movies, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It really can. I think in heroes in general, it’s funny, just as you were saying that, talking about your nephew, the way that my father and I connected was through stories about heroes. That was the language that he communicated love to me. We were living in England when I was about, I don’t know, six or seven or so. He read me a book speaking of Greek heroes, like a, I don’t know, 1800’s book called The Heroes by Charles Kingsley. It talked about all the Greek heroes, Perseus, Theseus, just some different mythical folks.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

When I was small, I would say, “Daddy, just tell me some history.” I didn’t care what it was, just some historical story. And he was like an encyclopedia, he’d read every… About every hero he loved, British heroes in particular. So there’d be stories of Admiral Horacio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar 1805 and Duke of Wellington and Waterloo in 1815. That’s the way we communicated.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And with these movies, you and I obviously talked about how much we like The Natural and Captain America and Hoosiers, one of the all-time favorite sports movies with Norman Dale and that sense of redemption, as you mentioned, after getting banned from basketball. So yeah, it’s a source of connection. When you talk about the heroes that you love. It’s a way of creating bonds between father and son, mother and daughter, brothers, sisters. It’s a point of connection.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

That text that I just read from my nephew, that he says going to Avengers End Game with the family, with my immediate family, was a treasured memory. That text from him is a treasured memory. That’s a connection between the two of us.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

The fourth point in that article, which is the natural progression. If we’re elevated, if we’re in community, if we’re feeling connected, at the end of the day then heroes show us how to transform our lives, turning us into heroes ourselves. And if you’ve been with us, listener/viewer from the beginning, if you’ve watched Beyond the Crucible you know that I’m not adverse to wearing outfits. So because it’s true that heroes turn us into heroes ourselves, I’ve worn a hero shirt today that says Super Step-Dad.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Oh, that’s-

 

Gary Schneeberger:

You see it behind my microphone.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

That is awesome.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But there it is. That was a gift for my stepchildren for Christmas a couple years ago. These movies do encourage us to become in some ways heroes in our own spheres of influence.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell said in 1988 that all of us undergo a hero-like journey throughout our lives. It’s only by having the courage and faith to risk change and growth in our own lives that we reach our own potential. And it’s nearly impossible to watch any of these movies that we’re discussing and not feel that. Not feel that pull to heroism and all different kind of shades of it. It’s impossible. It was impossible for us to watch these movies, it’s been impossible for all audiences to watch these kinds of movies without feeling the pull to wanting to do that yourself.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

For me, as I mentioned, I grow up just hearing about heroes from my dad and figures in history. And so I would obviously watch heroic movies, read books about a few English kings and queens as well as American heroes. I’ve always loved American history. So reading books about Franklin Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln, and it would inspire me.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Just one example, Franklin Roosevelt was somebody that in one sense I identified with because I grew up, as listeners know, in a very privileged 150 years old family media business in Australia, and Franklin Roosevelt grew up in sort of New York state aristocracy, if you will. The Roosevelts were prominent folks. He transformed his character to being maybe this fun loving party guy, a man about town. And over time he became somebody that was concerned about others, becoming one of the great presidents in the Depression, World War II.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

So I would look at Franklin Roosevelt, not so much that I could ever be Franklin Roosevelt, but if somebody from a background like mine, which was wealthy and privileged, could actually focus on others, then maybe I also could transform myself and be focused on helping others, not just about money, power, or fame, or what have you. So heroes can inspire us to be better than ourselves and transform ourselves.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And I had not thought about this again until you just said that, but Franklin Roosevelt in some ways early in his life, was a little Tony Stark early in his life, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yes.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He was that guy who had everything to live for, but not really much to live with. No one was as hedonistic as Tony Stark, but there were some similar beats there. You had some of the same background perhaps, but you maybe channeled that more into Batman, not the dark parts of Batman, but Batman is never really depicted as a playboy, as a guy who spends his money on himself, he’s always dedicated to helping others.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

So that’s just kind of a fascinating way of it’s interesting how a lot of the heroes that we talked about, at least a couple of them here, came from means, and yet they went in different directions, kind of starting out, landed in the same place, which is the goal of why we’re doing this series is to get everybody from the origin story to the life of significance at the end. That’s what we’re hoping to bring to you, listener, as we talk about these things.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. And just a brief point on Roosevelt and Iron Man, and we’ll get into this later, Iron Man gets captured by folks and it sort of changes his character in a way from hedonistic to maybe caring for others. While the equivalent of that for Franklin Roosevelt, as listeners would know, in the early 20s, he got polio, which was very rare for adults. And back in those days, if you got polio your political career was over, you were meant to stay home.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It was almost like this social disease, not just a physical disease, it was almost shameful, which is ridiculous. It’s not your fault. And so he had to fight through that and both Iron Man and Roosevelt went through different tragedies that transformed their characters. So sometimes real life, R-E-A-L and R-E-E-L can imitate each other.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Right. Absolutely. That’s one of the things that makes movies like that so resonant is that they do have their beats in the real life, R-E-A-L experience that we know of. And sometimes we have ourselves.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

All right, we’re going to pivot now and get into the meat of what we’re going to talk about today. And that’s just to put a bow on the package that was Lights, Camera, Crucibles. And that is this idea of here are five ways to transform into a crucible busting hero, using examples from, and we’re going to do it interestingly, I think, we’re going to do it from R-E-E-L life and also R-E-A-L life.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

So we’re going to touch on, talk about what we learned from the heroes we went through, but then we’re going to comb back through the archives of some podcast episodes, tell some personal stories to kind of emphasize, put an exclamation point on the points that the heroes teach us.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

So here’s the first of those five ways to transform into a crucible busting hero that comes out of our series Lights, Camera, Crucibles. And then number one is to develop perseverance.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Captain America does a great job of spotlighting this need. It tells the story of Steve Rogers who’s a slight sickly guy, young man, we meet at the outset of the film. It’s during World War II and he wants desperately to go to war. He wants to fight for America because he can’t stand bullies and he sees the Nazis as exactly what they were, bullies, but he gets turned down because he is so small and he is so sickly.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Every time he actually breaks some rules about going to different recruiting stations, trying to get into the war effort. But one of the times he gets rejected, a doctor sees him from the shadows, a guy named Dr. Erskine sees him. He is trying to find a soldier to give this Super Soldier Drug he’s developed, which if it’s successful, can then be given to all people, all men in the military and that’s going to help us win the war.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

What he sees, what Dr. Erskine sees, in this Brooklyn kid is a kindness and humility and a never say die attitude. He refuses to take the military’s no for an answer. And that’s one of the reasons why Dr. Erskine gives it to him. But we as viewers, Warwick, see a scene with Steve Rogers earlier than that, when he gets in a fight, because he wants to hear the reels at the movie theater that he’s at, he wants to hear these news reels talking about the war effort. And these guys are making a lot of noise while that’s going on. And he gets in an argument with one of them. The bully takes him outside. What happens at that point that really hammers home, this idea of developing perseverance?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

They start kind of attacking him and beating him up. And at the time he is just this relatively slight, short, slim of build, and they just keep beating him up and he keeps getting back up and is bloodied. And he says, “I could do this all day.” It’s like he won’t quit. He’s getting pounded, but he just won’t quit. That’s just amazing. Is he going to win that battle? It’s hard to see how he could, pre-serum, but he just won’t quit. He just keeps getting back up.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

The bully from the theater, who the first time we hear, “I could do this all day,” from Steve Rogers, the bully in the theater says to him, as he keeps punching him and Steve keeps getting up, “You just don’t know when to give up, do you?” And that’s when he says, “No, I could do this all day.” And that is a critical thing that we see throughout the movie from him. And not just in this movie throughout, that line, if you’re a familiar with Captain America’s arc through all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he says it more than once.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He actually says it to himself one time when he travels back in time and he gets in a fight with Captain America of several years earlier, who’s trying to beat him up and he’s like, “Stay down.” He’s like, “I could do this all day.” That in some ways, as we watch the arc of Steve Rogers, that attitude of, “I could do this all day,” even more than the strength and agility he gets from the Super Soldier Serum is one of the things that qualifies him as a hero. Isn’t it?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. It’s fascinating how Dr. Erskine chose Steve Rogers. It was this what fueled his, “I could do this all day” attitude. He was humble. He hated bullies. He just had this sense of righteousness, this desire to defend the defenseless. And Dr. Erskine said a strong man, somebody who’s had all the gifts. He’s not necessarily going to have your sense of compassion, your sense of caring for others.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And so Dr. Erskine shows character first. And really when you think about what fuels Steve Rogers’ perseverance post serum, when he is a strong, powerful guy it’s because it’s not about him. It’s about this humble attitude of serving others. It’s set in World War II. So it’s defeating Nazi Germany.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It’s he could do this all day because people are counting on him, people are counting on him and his team, and he will never quit because quitting would mean letting down the defenseless. He will never let the defenseless down. He will always take the bullies on. So really his character is what fuels his perseverance.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And that is such an excellent point. And it’s the reason why you’re the host of the show and I’m the cohost of the show because that’s pulling meat out of what’s going on there. That’s exactly right. Never once does Steve Rogers, Captain America say, “I could do this all day just to win a fight.” It’s always to win a fight that has a purpose at the end of it. There’s always a grander purpose than just being victorious for him.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Here’s now where we’re going to transition from reel life, R-E-E-L to real life, R-E-A-L. And we’re going to, as I was kind of preparing for how we were going to go about this discussion, one of the past guests from this podcast popped into my head as a great example of, “I could do this all day,” even though she never said those words that way.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And that guest was Lucy Westlake, a young girl, young woman, who was 17 at the time we talked to her who we featured in our Harnessing Resilience series. She already holds a world record. She’s the youngest female to ever scale the highest peaks in every US state think about that. She climbed mountains that sometimes stretch more than 20,000 feet into the sky. And to do that, you’ve got to have kind of a purpose and a vision, and you’ve got to be able to deal with some setbacks.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

In fact Lucy Westlake encountered some crucibles and some setbacks, and she needed to muster, in her own way this idea of, “I could do this all day,” didn’t she?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. Here she is desiring to climb all the peaks in all 50 states, and one of the hardest is Denali in Alaska. And at age 13 she went to climb that. And I think with her dad at the time, she didn’t make it. The wind was just massive. It was a lot tougher, the weather than she had hoped, and she would not do it. And it was four years before she was able to successfully climb it, which was age 17, which was relatively recent.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

But she has this phrase, I guess the equivalent of Steve Rogers’, “I could do this all day.” And she says, “Failure is inevitable. How you react to it is what matters.”

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah, that’s great.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

She did not give up. It’s like, “Okay, you’re going to fail. Sometimes the weather is horrendous and what are you going to do? It happens. Try again. Don’t give up.” Maybe it will be several years later, but she was not defeated by that defeat, if you will. It was a temporary setback, not a defining defeat. And she was not going to give up. For somebody so young, it is so inspiring.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And again, what she was after was not just personal aggrandizement. She had a goal, a vision, a mission to accomplish this thing, to prove to herself that she could do it. And so the takeaway here, listener, from both Steve Rogers, Captain America, and Lucy Westlake is this idea of perseverance of, “I could do this all day.” This idea that, “Failure is inevitable, how you react to it is what matters.”

 

Gary Schneeberger:

That’s what Warwick talks about in his book, Crucible Leadership. It’s what this podcast is built around. This idea that failures and setbacks don’t define you. They’re not the end of your story. They can be the beginning of your story. And Steve Rogers getting beaten up in an alley was the beginning of his story, of his life of significance. And Lucy Westlake not getting to the top of Denali at 13 was just a midpoint in her story that has then moved on to world record status. Pretty impressive, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. And while we’re speaking of Lucy Westlake, I’m reminded of Lisa Blair, and she was the Australian woman that we had on the podcast who sailed around Antarctica. She wanted to be the first woman to sail around Antarctica and break the record for the fastest trip around.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And what’s interesting is she did do that, but she was trying to do it uninterrupted. And at one point I think a mast fell and she had to go north out of the lane, so to speak, that was going around Antarctica and head to Cape Town South Africa for repairs. And what’s interesting is a few years later, I think it might have been even earlier this year, she finally completed it. And she has this great phrase which is, “Failure is not trying.” It’s very similar to Lucy. Westlake’s, “Failure is inevitable. How you react to it is what matters.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It’s very similar notions and what’s remarkable about Lisa Blair, as she puts it, is she is not particularly tall, not particularly athletic, and this is her perspective, she would say she’s an every woman. She’d say, “There’s nothing special about me. I’m just like any other woman.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

But what’s special about her and what’s special about Lucy Westlake is their character, their perseverance, they never say die. That’s their superpower. It’s not physical or any other particular attribute, physical attribute anyway, it’s more internal. It’s that sense of, “Never say die. Failure is not trying. You’ve just got to keep going.” They’re similar stories, but they’re remarkably motivating.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And when you say that, Warwick, what that triggers in my mind, go back to the Captain America episode. What impressed you so much about his fight, Captain America’s fight with the Red Skull? Who also had received that serum and it made bad worse. It made him evil. And he was, tell the story. What was he trying to get out of Captain America about why he had the Super Serum too?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. Well Red Skull was saying, “Well, why you? You’re aren’t the strongest, the best, the smartest, the whatever that America has to offer.” And he said, “I’m nothing special. There’s nothing special about me. I’m just like any guy.” And it just floored Red Skull because he was meant to be this super Aryan German who took it before from Dr. Erskine back when he was sort of trapped in Germany and just without Dr. Erskine’s blessing, he just couldn’t understand how, this super Aryan guy, “Of course I should have it. I’m the best of the best. I’m the best, the most German of the Germans. Who’s this guy? Some kid who’s nothing special?” He just couldn’t process that from Steve Rogers.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Right. So Steve Rogers and Lisa Blair both talk about themselves as just average everyday people and Lucy Westlake would do the same thing. And that’s the takeaway here, listener. You can learn this idea of never say die, failure is only if you don’t try, and I could do this all day. That’s the takeaway. You’re going to hit crucibles, have that attitude, and that will help you become a crucible busting hero.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Point two from our R-E-E-L life that we talked about is find a team of fellow travelers. And you talk about this a lot in Crucible Leadership, Warwick, the importance of having a team of advisors who don’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. And early on in Iron Man, when Tony Stark is sort of depicted, his backstory is depicted, Tony Stark doesn’t have a whole lot of fellow travelers who are anything more than admirers.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

They’re not a lot of people speaking truth into his life, but then he’s attacked while demonstrating some of his weapons in Afghanistan, he’s a weapon’s manufacturer. Some of his missiles get fired upon where he’s at. He suffers a very traumatic injury and his life is saved while he is in captivity by another man who’s in captivity, a fellow scientist named Ho Yinsen, puts a magnet in his chest to keep the shrapnel from going in his chest.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But Ho Yinsen does a lot more than that for Tony, does a lot more than just save Tony Stark’s life. He actually makes it worth saving. How does he do that?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

He saves his life physically, but he saves his life spiritually, emotionally. In a sense, he saves his soul and he does what maybe nobody has done before to Tony Stark, he’s in captivity, he’s in a dark vulnerable place. Maybe he’s in a place where he would listen as opposed to before he is going to parties, drinking, gambling, driving fast cars, it’s all about, “Hey, I’m making money. I’m making money out of weapons. Who cares? It’s all about me.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

When you think of superheroes, it’s hard to think of anybody more narcissistic than a pre-captivity’s Tony Stark. He gets the gold medal for narcissist, I think. Ho Yinsen, his fellow prisoners says, “Basically you can be more than this. Is this all you’re going to be, just making weapons and Mr. Party guy? Is this what you want your legacy to be? Is this what you want your life to be? You could be so much more than this. You could use your money for so much more.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

He just really puts a knife in his soul. Yes, he’s got this new heart from technology, but in a sense, not only does he give him a heart transplant, for the technology, he gives him a soul transplant. He just puts a knife into his soul and it doesn’t make Tony Stark a perfect altruistic human being but he makes a significant change in his character from that moment.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And he begins to realize, “I’m using all my technological engineering brilliance to make weapons that in some cases are coming back to kill Americans, because it’s hard to control where weapons end up and maybe I should use technology to save the planet, to make the world a better place.” So that fellow traveler, that’s speaking truth to power, took a lot of courage, and it changed his life. And in a sense helped redeem his soul.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. And it changed the trajectory of what he was able to do. In other words, his vision, his vision changed. We talk a lot about vision here at Beyond the Crucible and Crucible Leadership and his vision changed from really having no vision but living day by day.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Ho Yinsen says to him at one point, “You have a lot to live with, but nothing to live for.” And what he discovers as he has a team of fellow travelers and Ho Yinsen, being the first one of those, Pepper Pots, his assistant, who he kind of loves but he learns how to love as the movie goes on. And certainly as the arc of Tony Stark’s story throughout all nine movies he appears in in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he develops that.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But you’re absolutely right. He’s not perfect. And, listener, as you listen to this, my guess is you’re not perfect and don’t think you’re perfect either. I know I’m not perfect. Warwick would say he’s not perfect. I think, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. I think one of the things, what saying is it’s fine to aspire, maybe not to superhero physical attributes, maybe to have the character of Steve Rogers, the perseverance, the humility of him. Or as we’re talking about Tony Stark to use your qualifications, your attributes, to serve others. But none of us are going to have superhero level characters. It’s a journey. We can aspire, but we’re all going to fail.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Well, it’s not a matter of, to quote Lisa Blair, “We’re going to fail in our characters. It’s not failing, it’s are you going to get back up and try again? Are you going to keep going? Or you going to let one bad mistake define you?” And so that’s really the journey of character is we’re never going to be superhero in character, but we can aspire to keep getting better and moving forward and not letting one bad day define us.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And that’s one of the reasons why this point find a team of fellow travelers is so important to us, as we move on our journeys, is when we feel like we can’t go on, when we feel like we’re not worthy of going on, those fellow travelers can speak encouragement to us. They can remind us of things that we’ve done well, they can offer their perspective on maybe some things we should try.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And as we talk about this, Warwick, it brings to mind for me, a key point that we make in, and get your pens out, listeners, because you’ll want to know more about this. It brings to mind what we’re going to debut soon. And that is an E-course called Discover Your Second Act Significance.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And it’s all about facing that tough question that comes to many of us when we consider our life and career. That question is, is this all there is? When we reach that moment, is this all there is, I feel stuck. I feel like life could be more. I feel like I should be doing something different. We all come to that point at some time.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

This E-course is going to drill down deeply and to help people who take it, learn how to do that, how to answer that “is this all there is?” Question, identify it, answer it, and then chart a course moving forward. And it will guide you, truly, this course will guide you on a journey of discovery to awaken your passion, to craft a vision rooted in your talents, and unleash a more fulfilling life. That leaves a legacy you’ll be proud of.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

More details to come very soon, but you won’t want to miss it. So stay tuned. And in that E-course, Warwick, one of the things that you say and you talk at some length about it is your own fellow traveler’s journey of moving beyond your crucible and charting a course to a life of significance. A life of…

 

Gary Schneeberger:

A life of significance is a team sport you discovered, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. As we’re doing the e-course and reflecting on this, I think there’s really two types of fellow travelers. You want those who encourage you and at times be truth tellers. We need people who will do both. There are times when we need to be picked up and saying, “You know what? Your worst day doesn’t define you. I believe in you. I’m with you.” It could be a spouse, a friend, a coworker. And it may be, “You know what? You are better than that mistake. You kind of left the trail. You left the mission.” So encouragement and truth, two sides of the same coin.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

But then there’s another type of fellow traveler, which is those who complement you. By that, I mean that they have attributes and skills that you don’t have, compliment in that sense of the word, not in terms of flattery. So yeah, as I was thinking about that way, that could be misunderstood. But anyway, for me, with Crucible Leadership, I am blessed to have a fantastic team. They encourage. They absolutely do truth telling and says, “Yeah, I don’t know that we should be doing that.” And we wrestle with things and figure out a path forward. But they have attributes that I don’t have. I’m a reflective person. I like telling stories, my own story and stories of others on this podcast. But I don’t like selling. I’m just phobic about that. Some people are scared of heights. I can’t do the whole selling thing. So we’ve got people that are great at selling, promoting, marketing, branding, production on this podcast. You can’t do everything. There’s a few things I like to think I’m actually pretty if not very good at. But there’s many things I am both bad at and just don’t like doing.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And there are always reasons, but I think none of us have all the gifts and all the experiences to do everything. We just don’t. So a smart man or woman realizes their own limitations and their own phobias, we all have them, and say, “Okay, some of these things, I’m going to overcome. Some, I may not overcome.” You’re not going to overcome lack of gifting in certain areas. If you’re a good writer, and, “Hey, I want to be a genius at math,” probably you won’t be. Or there’s a bunch of engineers, mathematically minded people say, “I love numbers. This whole word thing, I don’t get it.” That’s being human. So surround yourself, yes, with people that will encourage and tell you truth, but surround yourself with the people with different skills and abilities than you have. And that’s what I’ve tried to do in crucible leadership. And certainly as you’re trying to chart your second act, you got to have a team to be able to help you get there.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Right. And that’s one of the reasons why there’s Captain America and Spider-Man here on the desk as we’re having this conversation because let’s circle back to Tony Stark and Ironman. One of the things that helps him find a life of significance and helps him truly find his calling and helps him truly save… I mean, he couldn’t have saved earth from the things that he saved earth from without the Avengers, right? These guys are Avengers. He knows that. His team of fellow travelers goes from Ho Yinsen, who’s the first one, Pepper Pots, who’s always been there for him. But he eventually builds the Avengers, and that is what ends up stopping Thanos, the intergalactic villain in the final Avengers movie that we talked about was so moving that people posted YouTube clips of it all over the place of the reactions of the crowd. That’s the ultimate fellow travelers from this series of Lights, Camera, Crucibles, is the Avengers, right?

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Without all of them together, they would not have accomplished anything that they’ve accomplished. So that’s a great place, I think, to land the plane on this one. Now the third point of the five that we’re going to talk about here on transforming yourself into a crucible busting hero is to live life on purpose dedicated to serving others. And the example, we’re going to go from Ironman to Spider-Man. Right here, Spider-Man, Peter Parker’s a brainy high school kid, and he’s picked on and labeled as nerdy by his classmates. But when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider during a field trip, he develops the proportional powers of an arachnid. The new abilities come with new crucibles for Peter though. His “me first” attitude in the beginning, he’s focused on trying to get money, to earn money with his strength to buy a car to impress the girl he secretly loves.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And that obsession, even short-lived obsession, to make money to focus on his own advancement, to focus on himself, use his powers for himself, not for a greater good, ends up leading to his beloved Uncle Ben, who raised him like a son after Peter’s parents died, it leads to Uncle Ben being murdered. And it’s at that point in the story of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, right, Warwick, that he really begins to learn the lessons, as we say all the time, if you learn the lessons of your crucible, you can move beyond it. That’s when that starts for Peter.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It really does. Sometimes those we love will say worse to us that we don’t really get at the time, but we come to understand later. And that’s what happens with Peter Parker. He’s in a car with his Uncle Ben, and his Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And Peter doesn’t process at the time as the time he’s into, “Hey, I have these powers now, and I’m going to make money, wrestle. It’s all about me. And I’m going to get enough money to get a car,” to impress the girl he has a crush on, Mary Jane. And he’s just not thinking of it.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And then partly because there’s somebody, some bad guy, that he could have helped stop, and it’s like, “Hey, it’s not my problem.” And that bad guy ends up killing his beloved Uncle Ben. So then those words I’m sure haunt him, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Because he didn’t heed that warning, it leads to his beloved Uncle Ben getting killed by this bad guy. So it really just transforms his perspective, and he uses his powers for others, to help Mary Jane at one point, which he’s being captured by the Green Goblin and takes on the Green Goblin as he seeks to kind of wreak havoc on the city of New York. So those words do transform his life.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. I mean, he becomes a hero because of the crucible that he gets through, because of the crucible and the lessons he learns from it. And that’s what we talk about all the time here on the show is if you learn the lessons of your crucible, and you apply them moving forward, you can create a new vision for your life, and that new vision leads to a life of significance. And no one would say at the end of Spider-Man, the first movie with Tobey McGuire, there had been a bunch of them, all of them end up with this young kid picked on, when a loved one dies, he learns from this terrible experience a lesson that he then dedicates his life to serving others, to living on purpose, focusing on serving others. In fact, within that first Spider-Man movie, he’s in love with Mary Jane, and Mary Jane says she’s in love with him. And the stage is set for them to have a life together. And Peter doesn’t do it. Why doesn’t Peter do it?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Peter has taken to heart the advice from Uncle Ben to such degree that his whole life is about living a life on purpose dedicated to serving others. So his fear is if he continues a relationship with Mary Jane, and she says at the end of that movie that she loves him, it’s very clear that Peter Parker loves her, but he says, “Look, I just want to be friends.” And basically the inner monologue that goes on is his concern that everybody he loves, somehow bad things happen to them.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Whether it’s Aunt May, who’s terrorized by Green Goblin at one point, or Uncle Ben, he’s thinking, “If I have a relationship with Mary Jane, something bad’s going to happen.” So in this movie, he sacrifices his happiness for what he perceives as the greater good. I mean, that to me is the ultimate live a life on purpose dedicated to serving others. Nothing, not even the love of his life, will get in the way of serving others. He puts his whole happiness, his whole sense of self on the back burner. It’s all about serving others. It’s one of the most selfless scenes you’ll see in any superhero movie. It’s just astounding.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And again, I hadn’t thought about it until you just said that because we’ve said the phrase, “Live a life on purpose dedicated to serving others,” maybe a thousand times, up to a thousand times on this show and in your speaking appearances and those kinds of things. But we could edit it, maybe add a phrase in front of it, “Live a life on purpose dedicated not to serving yourself only, but serving others.” That’s where Peter lands. Serving himself would be, “I get to be with this girl I love, but she’d be in danger. And my job is to protect people.” That’s my calling. That’s my purpose. And that’s what he’s walking out and what he’s living. That is our R-E-E-L life example of what it means to live life on purpose dedicated to serving others.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

We also had in a previous series that we did, Warwick, a guest that… It’s funny. When we have team meetings from your team of fellow travelers and crucible leadership, her name comes up all the time. She really has made an impact. And that is Nancy Volpe Beringer, who we featured in our series, Second Act Significance. And Nancy was in her late 50s when she let herself not just dream of a career in fashion design, but to pursue it.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

She explains that the success and security she’d built professionally over several decades didn’t fully scratch the creative itch she felt as a young girl who loved to sew. She had a “is this all there is” moment while she’s living this life that would’ve led to retirement, and everything would’ve been great. And she was close to retirement. She’s in her 50s, her late 50s. But that’s when she pursued her passion with a vigor. She earned a master’s degree and ended up on season 18 of TV’s Project Runway. And even that, being on Project Runway, was not the true life of significance. That happened in the show, it wasn’t the show, what happened to her that truly brought her the purpose of serving others.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Project Runway was sort of interesting. I mean, just before we get to that, I just love the whole story of Nancy Volpe Beringer. As we’ll get into with the Discover Your Second Act webinar that’s coming up, she’s a remarkable person because she had the successful career in the New Jersey Teachers’ Organization. And she had the courage to say, “I’m doing great. I’m getting paid well. But what would I do if I was my younger self?” And it’s like, “I’d go into fashion.” I mean, to do that in your late 50s is remarkable. There aren’t too many folks in their late 50s in fashion design school. That takes courage, but she-

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah, and she said she was the only one there.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Right. Yeah, she did it. And so at a second attempt, she gets on Project Runway. And one of the things they do is sort of at random. They give you these things, challenges. Well, the challenge she was given was to create fashion for those who had disabilities. So it could be paraplegic, quadriplegics, people that lost limbs. Now her fellow competitors, they were breathing a sigh of relief, dodged a bullet, “Phew, I’m glad I didn’t get that one,” because that would be tough.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

But it just shows Nancy Volpe Beringer’s character. She was like, “Yay. This is awesome. I’m so glad I got that.” And so yes, she designs high fashion couture for a lot of different folks, but she has a special design passion to design fashion for those who were disabled and haven’t historically had access to fashion. So that just shows her sense of passion to serve others. It’s not just about her own fame and fortune, “Oh, look at me. I’m a top fashion designer.” She’s focused on helping others. And just that moment at Project Runway when she was filled with elation and glee and her competitors were filled with relief that they didn’t get that one, tells you everything you need to know about why Nancy Volpe Beringer is a very special person.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

And her life is a great example of the mile markers, if you will, of what the path to a life of significance can look like because she started out, “Is this all there is?” She’s got a job, paying the bills. She’s successful. She could retire. But there was an itch that was not getting scratched. And then she goes through that process. She takes a shot, learns some lessons from what doesn’t make her feel alive, come alive. She applies those lessons. She casts a vision. She pursues it. It’s not easy. She fights through it. And then in the end, she is, right, living a life of significance. She’s gone from, “Is this all there is,” to, “Wow, this is all I want.” That is a remarkable arc. And that’s the thing that we are trying, that you are trying to encourage people through the work of Crucible Leadership, through what we’re doing on this podcast, and what we’re going to be doing in this E-course, right? That’s the goal that you have for people, from, “Is this all there is,” to, “This is all I want.” That seems fair.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

That’s incredibly well said, Gary. I mean, from, “Is this all there is,” to, “This is all I want.” This is all I want means I’m serving a higher purpose. I’m serving others, and it’s filling me with so much joy. I have more joy and fulfillment than I could ever possibly imagine. We all want joy and fulfillment. That comes from a higher purpose. That comes from serving others. Certainly true for Nancy Volpe Beringer, and it’s pretty much, I would say, true for every hero we’ve covered in this series. It’s not about them. It’s about serving some greater goal, some greater good. And that’s why we love these heroes and heroic figures so much.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

But here’s the rub. That journey isn’t always a straight line, right? It’s not always a straight line. It was not always a straight line for the heroes that we talked about. And that’s point four in our five ways to transform into a crucible busting hero. Point four is when the road gets crooked a little bit, and that is, do not lose sight of your mission or the values that undergird that mission. And the example of that that we want to talk about here is in The Natural, Roy Hobbs, right, the other worldly, talented baseball player, whose aspirations to be the best who ever played this game are sidetracked, frankly, when he’s shot as a teenager by a woman he didn’t recognize as a threat.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He beats the odds, finds his way back to the majors many years later to become the era’s top player, even as an unscrupulous owner and this wily shady gambler try to pull him down. He gets there. It wasn’t a straight line to get there, but after he is there, it also gets to become a little crooked line. Roy has… I don’t know if you’d call it, he falls back into some bad habits. His blind spots still show up. There’s something that happens to Roy Hobbs even after he’s achieved success on the baseball field, when he finally got there, that keeps him for a while from his life of significance, right?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Absolutely. I mean, in some sense, Roy Hobbs is a troubled soul. There’s a phrase the ancient Greeks used, “Who the guards would first curse, they first raise up.” Sometimes when you’re a young baseball player, in this case, and he believes he could be the best there ever was. And that’s no idle boast. His ability to pitch and bat was as good, maybe better than anybody. He’s not a Steve Rogers.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He struck out the Babe Ruth character, right.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Right. Exactly.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

He struck out the Whammer. Yeah.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Exactly. Steve Rogers doesn’t grow up thinking, “I could be the best there ever was. Me? No. I’m short and slight of build.” He’s not thinking that, but Roy Hobbs is. And so then when he gets kind of seduced by this dark angel, if you will, in Harriet Bird who shoots him in a hotel room, and that wound to the stomach basically torpedoes his career for years. And he comes back a lot older. And yet that lesson of, be careful who you associate with, he doesn’t really quite learn that. And along comes these gambler’s maul, Memo Paris. And she just, again, seduces him. And when he’s with her, his batting average goes through the floor. She’s just like a one person wrecking ball to his baseball game. Talk about back to Greek hero, Achilles, his Achilles’ heel, if you will.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

But what I love about The Natural, there is a like in Star Wars, if you will. There’s a battle between good and evil, between the dark angel and an angel of light. And the girl he knew way back when when he grew up in the corn fields was Iris. Variety of reasons, they get to meet up. And in one game where he is in his slump, she stands up, and she has this beautiful white dress, and it’s illuminated by the light. And she does look angelic. She inspires him to be better. There’s a great scene when he’s in hospital after being poisoned by some bad guys. And he says to her, “Gosh,” to Iris, “I could have been the best there ever was. I mean, I could have walked down the street of my town, and like, ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.'”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

And she says, “Well, and then what?” Basically, is this all there is, in not so many words. And she says, “Roy, you are so good now. Look how you inspire young people, young boys. You’re an inspiration.” So she helps him realize there’s more to life than just being a great baseball player, there’s being a great person, being an inspiration to future generations of athletes, of baseball players. And so eventually good does win out, as it should in all good movies. And the angel of light overpowers the dark angel. It’s a great movie, but to your point, life is not often smooth. And he is very gifted, but he has challenges with his course. He gets sidetracked in part by his own inner demons and his own mistakes.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. And I love what you just said about the way that Iris reacts to him wanting to be the best there ever was in this game. And one of the things we did in the episode we talked about The Natural is I have a prop card that had his statistics on the back that weren’t shared in the movie. And he was like, his home runs per at bat were better than Babe Ruth. He had the enormous success. But you use that phrase, she was telling him basically, “Is this all there is?” Is success all there is, right? And that can be true, too.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Sometimes that itch that says, “Is this all there is,” isn’t born out of being in a place where you can’t pay the bills or in a place where you have financial struggles. Sometimes that place, “is this all there is”, is born of, you got a lot of money, Tony Stark, you’ve got a lot of accolades, Roy Hobbs. You can get to that place, and it can look different for different people. And one of the people who we talk to on the podcast who exemplifies some of this point, this idea of keeping your eyes on your mission was Hank McLarty, who was a guest we had… Gracious. I think when I looked this up, Warwick, it was almost two years ago when we talked to Hank, it’s hard to believe. He was in his own words, an intense goal setter from the third grade. He achieved most of what he set his mind to like Roy Hobbs, very much like Roy Hobbs. He got a scholarship to Auburn, Hank McLarty did. He built a financial services career at prestigious firms, got recognition and wealth as one of the youngest and best in his industry. Then something happened that got him sidetracked, got him off his mission. What was that?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It’s very similar to Roy Hobbs. He was drinking the Hank Kool-Aid as he puts it. He was hitting the numbers out of the park as a financial advisor. He was doing fantastic. Somebody said to him, “Hey, why don’t you jump ship, come to my firm. I’ll make you a partner.” He threw all sorts of stuff at him that he couldn’t resist. Well, no sooner than he joined the firm I think the company went under before he almost joined it.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Right. Before he could start.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

He burned all his bridges at the previous firm. I’m leaving. He was at a point where he threw everything he had into this new firm. It went bust. He was humiliated. At one point, he was living in a hotel for I think a couple years with his two boys just requiring the free breakfast at the hotel to get by. He was humiliated. This successful guy that was young, the golden boy, he’d lost his cape. It was tarnished. There was an episode of the Spider–man franchise when he gets covered in some black goo and he becomes not the Spiderman we know and love. There was a bit of a war for his soul.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Well, that was a bit like Hank McLarty here. He got some black stuff on him and he was not the person he wanted to be, but so he really had to dig down deep and say what kind of person did he want to be for his boys, for his family? He did recount his vision from success to significance.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

The company he has now, Gratus Capital. Yes, absolutely it’s focused on helping its advisor, its clients and this financial advisory firm be successful, but he has got these principles of gratitude and humility. He no longer sees himself as the golden boy almost like Wayne Gretzky, the great one. He doesn’t really view himself that way anymore. He has this humility to focus on others, listen to his team, and he really wants it to be a place where his team loves to work. It’s not just about him. He wants to serve clients, but he wants to serve his fellow coworkers. He was really transformed by that crucible, if you will, to focus more on others and really dig deep down to what values do I really believe. He’s a great, great example of digging down deep and focusing on your values.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. That is the key part I want to emphasize for the listener here is that you call it all the time, Warwick, mission drift. I hear you say it all the time when we talk to beware of mission drift, of losing sight of your north star as you’re traveling. Roy Hobbs did it, Hank McLarty did it. But good news you can find your way back. Hank’s kids helped him do that, in The Natural Iris helped Roy Hobbs do that. Again the importance of fellow travelers, the importance of those people who will support, encourage goad, exhort, sometimes correct you. That is critical to continuing to walk on this road to a life of significance, especially when there are detours to it.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

All right we’re to point five in the five ways to transform into a crucible busting hero. This is my favorite one I think probably because I’m a little goofy myself and the guy that we’re going to talk about here in this point is keep your sense of humor. It’s important through all of this to keep your sense of humor. We’ve all heard the phrase, laughter is the best medicine. This is true even and especially when the sickness we’re fighting is moving beyond a crucible. In Die Hard John McClane is a cop who finds himself doing battle all by himself with a group of terrorists that seize the office building where his wife Holly works. Even as life threatening crucibles pile up, and we talked about this in the episode. I mean, it’s like a tennis machine firing balls at John McClane all the time, crucible, crucible, crucible, crucible, even as those things piled up, he never takes himself too seriously does he?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

No, he doesn’t. It’s kind of funny. It’s a wonderful movie. He is in this crazy situation that he’s going out to Los Angeles, he’s kind of separated it would seem like from his wife, Holly. He’s a New York cop. He’s going out to LA and he’s just going for Christmas. He’s going to this Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza in LA. He’s not thinking he’s going to be fighting bad guys. He’s not thinking as cops say, I’m on the job. He’s like, no, and all these things keep happening. He is like, seriously?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

In one scene, he is navigating himself with a Zippo lighter in these air ducts. He kind of quips thinking of Holly, his wife, as she says to him, come out to the coast, we’ll get together, we’ll have a few laughs and he’s sort of laughing and grimacing. He’s got no shoes on, he’s getting shot at, and he is sweating, and it’s like in this claustrophobic air vent. Later on he takes on Hans, this terrorist guy with his gang of bad guys who were holding hostages. He takes one of the bad guys out, plops him, I think on a chair, goes down an elevator. When the elevator opens on the shirt, it says, now I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho. It’s like, he tried to keep a sense of humor, which I think the reason we’re raising this is when everything is falling apart around you, sometimes laughing helps clear your head and keeps your focus.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

If John McClane doesn’t keep its focus, people are going to die. The terrorists could well take out the innocent hostages. So by laughing, it just cleans his head and helps him keep going on. He certainly needs a lot of perseverance, but there are some incredibly funny lines, but it’s humor for a purpose.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah. We don’t laugh in those situations, going through crucibles, we don’t laugh because what we’re going through is funny, but because it helps stabilize our spirits to meet the challenges emotional and otherwise that we’ll encounter on our path to significance. We’re all going to be faced with those moments. Things that can be upsetting, tragic, again on that path even when the path doesn’t go completely crooked in some cases, on that path you can have bad days. On that path you can have bad outcomes. Keeping as light an attitude as you can keep through it helps you get through it.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

I’m going to tell an example from my own life, just from last year. I’ve always tried to live by that principle, right? Am I always Mr. Chuckles? No. Can I get depressed? You bet. Do I have a temper sometimes? If anybody else in the house here were home right now, I would bring them out to testify yes I can. They would testify to that. But I also endeavor to find humor to take the edge off of painful, frustrating, challenging situations and circumstances. Again, not because they’re funny but because it lets the air out of the tension that builds out of the pain that builds sometimes.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

The example I’m going to use my dad died last year at age 93 and I delivered his eulogy. I titled it 93 things I want you to know about my dad. It is brimming with loving recollections of the things he taught me and my siblings and the love and security he provided us with. I also found some humor in going through some things. Among those 93 points I’ll just give a couple. The second one was I started out funny. The second one was he cheated at solitaire, wait, I’m a public relations professional let me frame that properly. He played solitaire by alternate rules. That was one.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

One was that he himself had a sly and relentless sense of humor. When my sister Dale was battling cancer a decade or so ago; Dean, my brother got lost driving to the hospital in Milwaukee. He did not want to hear any jokes about it he made clear when he got there, but dad could not resist. When the three of us got on the elevator to go get some food, very somber my dad’s daughter, my brother and I’s sister is battling cancer. Quiet moment. My dad says very softly and simply when we got on the elevator, he asks Dean, “Need some help finding which button to push?” Dean had gotten lost. He was mad. Nobody make fun of me that I got lost. Dad couldn’t help break the tension and the pain and the worry we all had with a joke. Just like I couldn’t help telling that story when I was eulogizing my father in the midst of all the things that he did that were wonderful.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

That’s an example of what I was going through wasn’t funny. What we were going through on that elevator wasn’t funny, but you keep your sense of humor so you can keep your sanity if you will. You can keep your focus if you will. Warwick I know you have through your own crucible, I’ve heard you do the same when you’ve talked about that, for sure.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Yeah. I mean, growing up in a large family media business, something about money attracts betrayal as a light attracts, I don’t know, moths or something. There was a time back in my takeover days as listeners would know, my 2.25 billion dollar takeover in 1987, there were times in which I almost felt like I had a sign on my back that said, betray me. It’s like in middle school. Advisors, different folks would let me down, I’ve had family members, friends, and I would just almost grimace and smile, say to myself, “Hey X person, I just forgave you for the last thing you did. Can you just give me a break? I can’t catch up. I mean, come on really? I mean, can you just dole out the betrayal or the terrible things one at a time, give me a few weeks, few months. Don’t do it more than one at a time. Just come on. I mean give me a break.”

 

Warwick Fairfax:

It’s just the sense of, I must have had a note pinned to my back saying betray me and can you just give me a moment? I’m trying to catch up. I would use that to sort of grimace and grin to myself like seriously, come on. By kind of like, I wouldn’t say making light of it, but maybe having a wry smile, or smirk about it. Frankly, a little bit like John McClane, he has plenty of wry smiles and smirks as he’s going through things. So maybe channeling, I’m not John McClane, but channeling a little bit of John McClane, that wry smile as I was going through my own crucibles.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

I’m going to let you sort of have the last word, but I have to tell a story now about my own sign hung on my back when I was in gosh, junior high school. I was a bit of a heavy kid in junior high school. It is funny. I’m laughing about it right now because it’s creative and funny. Somebody hung a sign on my back that said kick me. The old kick me sign. But this was a creative kid. It said, kick me I’m fat and won’t feel it.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

Oh no.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Yeah, was it terrible? Yes. But was it creative and could I find something in that kept me from, I don’t know if it kept me from crying, but kept me from just giving up, putting my head under the covers and pulling them up. I found something. I met what was brought to me with a spirit of, I could do this all day. I can get through this. Failure is not an option as we go forward.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Warwick we’ve talked about a lot here. We’ve talked about reel life from our series Lights, Camera, Crucibles, and how you can become a crucible busting hero. We’ve talked from real life. Some of the guests we’ve had on the podcast, some of our own stories. I love how you end most of our episodes with guests when you say what’s a message of hope based on the conversation we’ve just had for listeners. I’ll ask you that question. What’s your message of hope that you have for listeners as we wrap up this series, Lights, Camera, Crucibles?

 

Warwick Fairfax:

You know, I think it’s easy as you look at superheroes and heroic figures to think I’m not Spider-Man, I’m not Roy Hobbs. I’m not Robin Longstride and Robin Hood who in the movie helps take on Prince John, defeat the French. I’m not any of these people. I’m just a regular guy, regular woman. How can I relate to this? What does it all mean for me? I think it’s really through these different folks, it’s not so much the greatness of their superpowers or their great deeds. It’s the greatness of their character. It’s their humility. It’s learning to overcome your mistakes or Roy Hobbs learning to overcome your inner demons. If you’re Tony Stark, learning it’s not all about you, it’s about others. It’s Peter Parker realizing it’s not about me, it’s about serving a wider purpose with humanity. It’s Steve Rogers I can do this all day and it’s not about me, it’s defending the defenseless against bullies.

 

Warwick Fairfax:

I think all of us can learn these character lessons about perseverance and humility and purpose and serving others and values and not letting one mistake define us, of failure is not trying. We all fail, you just get up and try again. All of us, whether it’s at home with our families, our businesses and whether we lead, as we often say from the boardroom to the living room; wherever we are, we can all learn character lessons from these heroic figures. They’re very applicable. It’s easy to think, oh, that’s not me, but take your eye a little bit off the superpowers and look at the heroic examples of character that each of these folks showed that we’ve been discussing. We can all learn how to be a bit more heroic in our character and how we live our lives.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

That is the perfect ending where I normally would say the plane’s on the ground. The captain’s put the plane on the ground, but because we’re talking about superheroes, I’m going to say Nick Fury has ordered the Avengers Quinjet to land and it has indeed landed. Like we like to do when we do these kind of wrap up episodes and certainly dialogue episodes with just me and you Warwick. I want to leave listeners with a few reflection questions to look at, to ponder as they take your very excellent words that you just wrapped up with and they move forward.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

Our hope here is that the episode doesn’t end when I say a life of significance in a few minutes, the episode will continue on as you ponder these questions and ponder some of the points that we’ve raised here today. Reflection question number one is how would you rate your perseverance skills? What can you do to be even better at meeting challenges with an “I could do this all day” attitude? That’s one. Second point of reflection to ponder. How do you deal with distractions that threaten to pull you away from pursuing your vision? When the Roy Hobbs distractions come up, the Hank McLarty distractions come up, how do you deal with those things? Then maybe how can you deal with them better if you don’t deal with them so well? Then the third point, in what ways can you bring a humorous perspective to your crucible? Remember, critical – it’s not about making light of what you’re going through, but lightening the load of its impact on you.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

This is not a question of reflection, but I am going to pose this question to you listener before we sign off, and that is go back to the beginning of this episode. You heard that clip play from the DC films superhero movies about how the world needs heroes. Do you remember the last line in there? The very last line in that when all these heroes are shown doing their thing, talking about why they’re heroes and how they do it; the last line was, are you in? So ask yourself that question, all the things that we’ve talked about here about pursuing a life of significance, overcoming your crucible and pursuing a life of significance. Are you in?

 

Gary Schneeberger:

If you’re in stay tuned in the weeks to come we’ll have more to say about our e-course, which will help you get in, which will help you navigate your way to finding, to discovering your second act significance. Until the next time we are together listeners, thank you for spending, not just this time with us today, but all now nine episodes hopefully you’ve spent. If you haven’t spent all nine episodes of Lights, Camera, Crucibles with us, guess what, good news. They’re all at crucibleleadership.com. You can go find them there. We will be back soon. Until that happens, please remember that we understand that your crucibles are difficult. We understand that they can knock the wind out of your sails and change the trajectory of your life.

 

Gary Schneeberger:

We also understand, we also know from our own experiences and from the experiences of the guests we talked to on this podcast and the heroes that we’ve discussed on this podcast, that you can get your life back on a course dedicated to serving others, leading toward something that allows you to get rid of that feeling of “is this all there is?” There is hope to move beyond your crucible, and that is casting a vision that you’re truly passionate about and recognizing that your crucible is not the end of your story. In fact, it can be the beginning of your story as it was for every hero we talked about because when you learn the lessons of that crucible or those crucibles, like John McClane, the destination that they can lead you to is the destination they led all of our heroes to and that is a life of significance.