In case you aren’t a diehard Star Wars fan like me, you may not recognize the significance of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi coming out today! This year marks the 40th anniversary of George Lucas’ iconic saga and the quirky characters we grew up loving.

I admit, lately I’ve been geeking out about it. I even re-watched Episode VII the other night with my cousin’s kids in order to prepare myself to get the most out of the next one.

Perhaps my child-like excitement and GenX’er nostalgic side can be blamed for all of the Star Wars analogies I keep finding. I just can’t help myself; I love drawing parallels with Lucas’ profound (albeit imaginary) Galaxy!

The other day I was creating a training exercise around leadership and personal accountability when a thought occurred to me – Do I want to be a Storm Trooper or a Jedi?

I’m pretty sure you don’t need to have seen any of the movies to guess the answer to that one! Clearly I want to be a Jedi!

The question is, “Am I showing up as a Jedi?”

For those of you (shame, shame) that don’t know the difference, let me shed some light on one of the key differences highlighted by Obi Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie. As he and Luke Skywalker attempt to hide R2D2 and C3PO from storm troopers who are looking for them, Obi Wan uses an old Jedi mind trick to avoid their inspection. He does this by simply saying, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” – effectively putting the idea into the storm troopers minds. Obi Wan later explains to Luke, that this technique only works on the weak minded.

Storm troopers were created to follow orders. They were not created to have an opinion, or to create anything new, or to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, or to virtually do anything other than what they are told. Essentially, they have no leadership qualities and virtually zero accountability.

Despite the fact that I don’t see many white-armoured, helmet-wearing, blaster-carrying men, running around my neighbourhood, I still wonder how many of us are playing the role of storm trooper.

How many of us are walking through life, waiting for other people to give us orders?

How many of us are content playing a role that could easily be replaced by any trooper who comes along?

How often are we blaming the ‘Jedi mind tricks’ of others for things that don’t go right in our lives?

Since I was old enough to wear the Princess Leia-inspired braided buns on the side of my head, I’ve known I was born to be a Jedi! As a child, I longed to have that mind reading, object levitating, lightsaber wielding powers that only a true Jedi possessed. As an adult, my desires lay more with the power and freedom that comes from knowing the Force is strong within me.

So what does that mean, and how can we learn the powers of a Jedi?

Here are 5 ways to become the Jedi Master of your own life:

  1. Recognize the Force is Within You
    • As Luke is trained to become a Jedi, he learns that he always had the Force supporting him – he just needed to learn how to trust it.
    • Stop looking for someone to give you the quick fix answers to your deepest desires and know they are within you.
    • When you are ready to be really honest, ask yourself, “What am I pretending not to know?”
  2. Do, or do not. There is no try.
    • Yoda’s most profound wisdom (in my opinion)
    • “I’ll try,” is a cop-out and selling yourself short!
    • Declare what you want to create and who you want to be, then get busy being it!
  3. Know that fear is the path to the dark side.
    • Although your dark side might not be as extreme as Darth Vader’s desire to control the entire Universe, the consequences to your life can be just as dire.
    • When you let fear run your life, what are you missing out on?  Who are you not serving?  What are you not creating?
  4. Own that there’s a dark side in all of us.
    • When Luke faced Darth Vader and the Emperor he had moments of anger and fear so great they started to possess his actions.
    • The beauty (and ultimate defeat of the Emperor) was the moment Darth Vader watched Luke’s recognition of his dark side, and powerful choice to not follow it further.
    • As we become more aware of our weaknesses and compassionately allow for them to surface, we grow in our ability to make better choices.
  5. With great powers comes great responsibility.
    • If you are looking for easy, become a Storm Trooper.
    • This path of being Jedi Master of your own life requires effort, energy and intention — it isn’t about taking short cuts and looking for the “easy way”.
    • Strive for “worth it”, not “easy” — you just might find the joy and ease you’re looking for!