Last week I announced that I will leave a non-tenure track faculty position to build my own consulting business, Bandwidth Strategies. The transition from faculty to freelance suits who I am and how I work. It signifies one of several ways in which I am working to let go of “what people do” to be true to myself and the way I want to live my life. Just because it’s a good move – and I know in my heart it’s the right move – doesn’t mean that I’m not nervous.
My family and I traveled to New York this weekend to see Hamilton, the musical. My husband bought the tickets over a year ago, before I even knew I was going to have a faculty position that then I would be leaving. Yesterday, my husband, my kids, and I were so excited to walk into the theater yesterday. Hamilton is brilliant art on so many levels, and as the lights dimmed, I suddenly realized that the timing of it all could not have been better. There are life and leadership lessons in Hamilton, and I needed to take some notes.
We know that I have a history of drawing inspiration from historical figures. I’ve tweeted about my “Be like Abe” mantra. When Lincoln was angry he would write a hot letter and put it in a drawer. Invoking his name reminds me to wait before responding hastily in anger. Sometimes, it even works.
There are so many reviews and blog posts already written on Hamilton that there is no need to be comprehensive or even pedagogical in this space; it’s all been done. However, when I say “Be like Hamilton” I will be reminding myself to do the following:
“I’m past patiently waiting. I’m passionately smashing every expectation. Every action is an act of creation. I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow–for the first time I’m thinkin’ about tomorrow.” — Alexander Hamilton, My Shot
Aaron Burr wasted so much time marveling at Hamilton’s success rather than focusing on his own. He was a brilliant lawyer – Hamilton even said so. Where Burr hedged his bets, Hamilton was transparent. When Burr was reserved, Hamilton wrote with passion. While Burr was bitter, Hamilton sparkled. Hamilton sparkled – that is how he caught the eye of George Washington, whose mentorship was essential to Hamilton’s success. People are drawn to and influenced by honesty, passion, and joy. I can be Hamilton. I can sparkle. You can too.