Protecting the Wizard of Oz

Protecting the Wizard of Oz:
Or, are NDAs necessary?

In the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz the protagonists spend the majority of the film on a journey to meet the mighty Oz who will handle all of their problems. Why? Because he is all powerful! Only he can fix it! Of course, in the end the wizard turns out to be a fraud when a pulled back curtain reveals who he really is. Hold that thought.

In this age of non disclosure agreements (NDAs), why are we protecting the wizard? Why is it so important to keep mystique alive? Maybe a dose of reality is more healthy than the alternative fantasy we find ourselves in when we allow the “all powerful” to control the narrative.

I worked for many years in the entertainment business in front of the audience and behind the scenes. As president of the ACPA (Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants) I’ve certainly heard my share of stories about famous people, and the NDAs of many of my colleagues. Never was I asked to sign one. My employer of 16 years, self help guru Louise Hay felt that NDAs intrinsically set up an ‘us and them’ dynamic, and she was all about bringing people together, not setting them up for failure.

So what does the Wizard of Oz have to do with all of this, you ask? Reading about the latest kerfluffle in the news about NDAs, one can’t help but notice that the story is basically about keeping something a secret. And people love secrets! Even if they are benign, the mind begins to contour up possibilities of more there “there”. In the age of reality tv, cliffhangers are commonplace, keeping us on edge until next week! Will she or won’t she leave him? Who is the real killer?

Bottom line: NDAs are supposed to keep you from becoming a myth buster.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m a cockeyed optimist. Myths, legends, Camelot, angels, leprechauns, etc. I’m all in!

However, it’s reality for reals. Non disclosure agreements are in the news bigly. The myth busting has begun. It seems to me that as much as we love to escape the world through food, exercise, sex, music, books, movies, or tv binge watching, eventually the real world wins. It would be cool to teleport ala Star Trek to work and visit a near by planet in the blink of an eye for dinner, returning safely to a home in the clouds. But we are living in a moment in time where the curtain has been drawn back, and the Wizard has been revealed. It’s time to disclose the truth. It’s time to break the NDAs and let the chips fall where they may.

Life is messy. That’s what makes it so fantastic. We can dream about the perfect house, job, relationship, body, etc. but the reality is it’s a lot more fun to see what happens next when we don’t have all our ducks in a row.. The Wizard of Oz would be a short animated film if all Dorothy and her gang did was meet and in the next frame they arrive at the gates of the emerald city. The journey is the story!

That’s why reality tv has been such a big hit. I’m a fan of scripted work myself, but I get the appeal. So without NDAs, the wizard is exposed and now what? In the actual movie, the great and powerful man himself actually turns out to be a kindly old gentleman who is relieved to no longer have to be someone he is not. He imparts wisdom to each of the characters, reveals to all his secrets as he comes out of hiding and helps Dorothy find her way home.

The eternal optimist in me likes to think that is how our current story will end. Truth will out.

What Brings You Joy?

What brings you joy? Here are some thoughts:

People can bring us joy when there is mutual love and respect, integrity and a genuine desire to give back to one another. Places bring us joy with beauty, serenity, or stimulation (can you say Rio de Janeiro?!). Things can bring us joy. Who doesn’t love a live concert, easy transportation options, comfortable clothes and a warm, inviting house to come home to? And we can find joy when our body is healthy and filled with energy and aliveness.

Those are great guideposts on our path to living a joyful life but we often let the outside world throw us off track. How? Well, being resentful is one distraction. Everyone has opinions, and we can all be critical of ourselves as well as others. Being judgmental is a slow death. If you want respect, to be empowered and loved, then you must start to be respectful, loving and empowering to others in order to reap the rewards.

I understand it can be challenging to work in an environment where you may be belittled, unable to express who you really are, and not be treated with dignity. I give steps in my book about how to start to take back your power.

You have to be willing to change, to create the life you really want, and to be responsible for where you are right at this moment. Those are not easy steps to take but they will make a huge difference in your life going forward.

Instead of living with regrets, anger, self doubt, guilt, illness, fear, a feeling of unworthiness — aspire to living a life of action and not reaction. At the end of the day, I’m living this life right here and right now. Not in the past or in the future. For better or worse,  I’m going to put one foot in front of the other and use the tools I’ve long espoused: the LARK.

L – I will listen to what I am saying every day (am I on edge, snapping at people?); A – I will ask for what I want (if I need a day off, I’ll take it. If I need help, I’ll ask for it.); R – I will take time to relax during my day (walk around the block at lunchtime, connect with friends and not talk about work); and K – I will keep on keeping on!

Want to do these steps with me? Let me know how the journey is going and I will share.