Lessons From Anakin Skywalker: Making Better Choices Through Recognizing And Managing Our Fears
In the latest and final Star Wars saga, Anakin Skywalker
makes the choice to surrender to the dark side of the force.
Thus makes his transformation complete into the evil Darth
Vader. This choice is motivated by Anakin's fearful
premonition that his pregnant wife Padme will die in
childbirth. We watch as the tormented Anakin succumbs to
the influence of Chancellor Palpatine who suggests that it
might be possible to save Padme using the dark side of the
Anakin's choice to compromise all his other principles, Jedi
values, in order to save his wife is both tragic and
understandably human. How many of us have made wrong
life or business choices out of the fear of losing something
whether its pride, money, relationships, being popular, or
missing out on some exciting experience? We then
experience a negative consequence because we
compromised what we knew was right. Perhaps it could be
our values, in favor of a misperceived fear that clouds our
In Anakin's case his fear of losing Padme becomes a self-
fulfilling prophecy. He is driven and consumed by his fear
and all his subsequent destructive actions are rooted in
fear. In the process of surrendering to his fears and
eventually to the dark side of the force, Anakin loses his
compassion, his trust, and his heartfelt connection to
Anakin's dilemma can be seen in the context of business. In
times of economic uncertainty, leaders may resort to
reactionary decisions such as cutting costs or reducing
headcount. What appears to provide immediate relief
actually fails to produce the desired outcome. Morale,
productivity and company culture are adversely affected.
Business leaders whose decisions are motivated from
apprehension or distress about the future give power to
their fears. And like Anakin, those fears can turn into
self-fulfilling prophecies that cause harm.
In contrast to decisions motivated by fear are decisions
which take us towards a positive vision. If a choice is
made from belief in vision, company culture, adherence to
core values and trust in the future, the driving motivation can
be fulfillment or satisfaction. Operating by the above
principles may not always be easy and can be very
challenging during times of uncertainty. However, decisions
made from these principles will always prove to be more
fulfilling as integrity and authenticity are preserved.
How can you tell the difference in what motivates your
choices? If that decision causes worry, anxiety and being
attached to a future event, you can bet there is fear involved.
If you are
calm, trusting, energized and focused on things working out,
that choice is most likely coming from positive belief.
Even with the best of intentions, fear is something that can
creep in on all of us. However, we can manage our fears, if
we step back and really look at what's driving us. Don't let
fear sabotage your decision making as in Anakin's case.
Determine what your core values, purpose and mission are.
Clarify your own Jedi values and then ask yourself the
? Will this decision move me closer or farther away from my
? Is this decision based on a reactive solution that may
violate my core values or company culture?
? What are other possibilities for my business or life that I
haven't considered or addressed?
? How can I communicate and elicit support from the people
I trust for the challenges I am facing?
? How can I learn to exercise patience and mindfulness as I
face my challenges?
It is interesting to see what would have happened if Anakin
Skywalker had asked himself these questions before he
turned to the dark side of the force. But then again, we
might not have had all those great movies to enjoy. "May The
Force Be With You!"
Philip Okrend, CPCC, JD is a Certified Life and Business
Coach and the owner of Stepping Stones Coaching. He
works with individuals and organizations in improving
performance, balance and fulfillment as well as recognizing
and managing their fears. He can be reached at
email@example.com or visit his website