Have you seen a little Disney movie called Frozen? You know, the Academy Award–winning, Billboard-topping, sales-crushing juggernaut of a film that continues to dominate pop culture nearly a year-and-a-half after its release? If you are a parent of a young child (and I am), chances are that you have seen it not once but 740 times by now—or approximately 2.5 times a day since it was released on DVD. I wish I was exaggerating.
Kids love the movie for obvious reasons (a solid score of catchy songs; a dogged, beautiful heroine to cheer for; a bumbling, kind, and often headless snowman), but I recently wondered what I could take away from the film. After the blizzard settles in the magical snow globe of Arendale, what lessons does it offer a career professional? The movie actually works well as an analogy for job satisfaction. Don’t believe me? Read on for four things that Frozen can offer on happiness in the workplace.
Don’t Hide What Sets You Apart
The entire movie spins around the fact that Elsa, the eldest sister, has unexplainable arctic powers—a chilling Midas touch. Instead of being taught how to harness them, she’s forced to keep them a secret, lest they cause harm. Of course not being able to fully understand, develop, and use your special skills on a daily basis would make anyone miserable. If you work in an environment that recognizes your unique talents, everyone wins. You are a happier and thus more productive employee, and your company gets to reap the benefits.
Wake Up Singing
In one of the earlier scenes of the film, Anna, the younger sibling, bounds out of bed with a song in her heart, unable to contain her excitement about the possibilities of the day. I believe one of the surest signs that you’re content with your current career is how you feel when your feet first hit the floor in the morning. Beneath the inevitable grogginess, are you energized to tackle your to-do list? Do you look forward to collaborating with your coworkers? Do you feel challenged and recognized? No one expects you to skip into the office, but if you’re weighed down with worry or stress every time your alarm rings, take it as a signal for change.
Stop Knocking on Unanswered Doors
I tear up whenever I watch Anna knock and knock at Elsa’s door—literally for years—and her sister never answers. Hope is a wonderful thing. Without it you might never apply for that perfect job, seek a promotion, or return to school for a higher degree. But be sure that you counterbalance those actions with a reality check, especially if, like Anna, the door never opens. Why are you knocking in the first place? Are you unfulfilled, underutilized, underqualified? Why isn’t the knob turning? Sometimes it’s necessary to kick down doors in order to obtain your goals—but often the same goal can be more easily reached if you first have the key.
Know When to Let it Go
It’s impossible to talk about Frozen without referencing the song “Let It Go.” (I tried.) But it applies to job satisfaction in so many ways. Do you harbor a grudge toward a coworker or your manager due to a past (in retrospect, insignificant) event? Let it go. Are you frustrated by company policies and practices beyond your control? Let it go. Are you stuck in a career that doesn’t honor and foster your core beliefs and skills? Let it go. After all, there’s no happy ending in being frozen in a job where you feel mistreated or misaligned. Like Olaf, that loveable snowman, people may think you’ve lost your head, but it’s necessary to unleash yourself from whatever is holding you back to achieve complete career satisfaction.
I’m sure there are many more examples to be taken from this fable. What brings you ultimate job satisfaction? Do you see any parallels in Frozen?