Those of you who’ve been reading my blog over the past month know that I’m a great fan of the Oscar-nominated film, The King’s Speech, for its rich character interaction and development, plus the fantastic, dedicated coaching experience throughout! I saw this movie for a second time, and was part of the repeat crowd afterwards still wowed by the performances of Colin Firth as Prince Bertie/King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as voice coach Lionel Logue. This film is the journey of two unlikely partners in healing/transformation who, through this challenging process, also become friends.
A few days ago, when I saw another Oscar-nominated film, The Social Network, I was stunned at the contrast between these two movies. Both involved characters who had major goals they met during the course of the films, and both explored the value of friendship in meeting these goals. Viscerally, The King’s Speech filled me with warmth and a glow throughout my body-- while The Social Network left me with a headache and a chilled feeling inside. (I know, I know, I’m out of synch here-- even though Facebook is very much part of my life now-- with the majority of viewers who resonated to this film.)
What made the difference? I believe it’s about invoking the power of positive intention in the work we do. Whether we’re creating revolutionary products or helping people make transformative changes in their lives, feeling fulfilled by our work depends on more than being first or making a fortune. Fulfillment is also about deepening and sharing your commitment to connection with living beings, with life, in the course of doing what you love to do.
I sense that in The King’s Speech Lionel’s intention of helping the king learn to live out his personal and professional mission (communicating clearly to the people in the British Empire) succeeded because of the caring connection that evolved between the two men during the coaching experience. In The Social Network, however, Mark Zuckerberg’s intention in developing Facebook was to use his intellectual brilliance to get even with all those whom he felt looked down on him.
Working with this kind of limiting intention, it’s not surprising that Zuckerberg had only one friend, and by the end of the movie, none at all. What was it worth to him that he’d developed the social online tool of the decade and became the world’s youngest billionaire? At the end, we see him waiting, alone and unhappy, to see if his former girlfriend, whom he’d alienated, will become a Facebook “friend” with him.
As a career and life coach, I wonder what it would be like to work with Mark Zuckerberg as my client. Now that Facebook is launched and his fortune made, what would be an area he’d like to change in his life at this time? Might he wish to develop the gifts of friendship and intimacy? What would he need to claim in himself to do that?