By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – July 17, 2023
A Lesson from Professor Dumbledore,
Headmaster at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
In the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter finds himself gazing into the Mirror of Erised. In his reflection, he sees the image of himself with his parents standing behind him, both of whom are deceased. Puzzled, Harry looks behind himself only to find his parents are not there. As he gazes into the mirror and dreams, Professor Dumbledore walks in:
“I see that you have found the Mirror of Erised. I trust by now you have figured out what it does. When a person looks into it, they see only themselves exactly as they are. It shows us more or less only the deepest, most desperate desires of our hearts. The mirror gives us neither knowledge nor truth. Men have wasted away in front of it, even gone mad.”
Professor Dumbledore then pauses and says to Harry (what I consider to be the moral of the mirror — his wisdom: “It does no good to dwell on a dream and forget to live.”
A lot can be learned from this scene in the movie. For my purposes, I want to share with you what I’m paying attention to and why. Many come to coaching fixated on their dream, that is, the picture in the mirror. Most of them are so caught up in paying attention to their dream — how they believe things should be or how they want things to be — that they neglect or forget to pay attention to the journey itself, which is how to obtain the picture they desire. Actually, I’m not sure they neglect to pay attention to the journey as much as they just don’t know what to pay attention to while on the journey.
Let me bring things into context. When I ask those who hire me as a coach what they really want, the number one answer is “to be happy” — their dream. The number two answer is that they want to have the material things in life that symbolize happiness — again, the dream. No one has ever responded with that they want to wake up and be able to do what they’re good at every day (living life) in order to be successful, recognized, and happy.” In other words, living the dream.
Metaphorically, Harry Potter was stuck, sitting in place, paying attention to the picture of a dream, which is what he saw in the mirror, thereby forgetting to live his life. To me, Professor Dumbledore’s message to Harry was spot on, and it’s the same message I often use with those who want coaching: “Get up and go live your life! Create your own family and achieve your dream!”
Let me ask you: Are you stuck, locked into paying attention to the picture of a dream? What would it be like if you paused and paid attention to the journey instead? What if you paid attention to having fun in your life every day doing what you are good at? What dreams would be possible for you then?