David Bowie, the one-of-a-kind artist with a chameleon-like ability to reinvent himself has died after decades of redefining the music industry. He was 69.
His death has sent a shockwave throughout the world. People are in utter disbelief that this innovative soul is gone. Myself included. I listened to his greatest hits on loop all day yesterday, and then I rounded out my night by watching Labyrinth. This is my favorite childhood movie. It’s also the one that introduced me to David so many years ago.
In the film, teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is given thirteen hours to trudge through a maze to rescue her baby brother, Toby, from the Goblin King named Jareth (David Bowie.)
During my trip down memory lane in honor of Mr. Bowie, I began to see my coworkers and myself in the story line.
I could really relate to Sarah. I’m sure so many of us can. She was given a set period of time to complete a task, much like we are given deadlines at work. In order to fulfill her obligation, she had to solve the labyrinth, a task that seemed impossible. It was full of countless distractions and setbacks. It seemed like she was dealing with some type of obstacle every five minutes! This is a feeling that many of us can relate to, especially at work.
As soon as she stepped foot in that labyrinth, the odds were against her. She was bit by a fairy, mislead by a worm, yelled at by some rocks, trapped in a oubliette, fed a peach that almost derailed the entire mission, and she almost fell into the Bog of Eternal Stench! It was like I was watching Jim Henson’s fairytale metaphor for my life! Her peach fiasco was my sick day, and her encounter with the worm was the software glitch that set me back three hours while I waited for an update the other day.
Along the way Sarah crossed paths with all sorts of characters. She ended up spending most of her journey with a dwarf named Hoggle, a kind-hearted beast named Ludo and a high-strung fox named Sir Didymus. The team was an unlikely crew, but they worked well together. I’ve seen the same thing happen at work when the most unlikely combination of people comes together to achieve a task.
Ultimately, they made it to the castle and Sarah saved her baby brother. The odds were against her, but she never gave up and she met her deadline. I’m sure there’s been a time or two when the road between you and the end of your project looks like the labyrinth that stood between Sarah and the Goblin King.
One of my favorite moments in the entire movie is when Sarah finally gets to the castle and she tells Bowie’s character that he has no power over her. I think we should view the negative parts of our tasks like she ultimately ended up seeing him. He was a necessary evil that she had to encounter to get her job done, but her determination ended up being the positive force that triumphed over the Goblin King. (This moment can be seen here, at :44)
Here are a few things that I learned from watching Labyrinth:
Things aren’t what they seem– this is literally a line from the movie, and a reminder that you need to look at the bigger picture when you’re dealing with your task. You might feel like you’re on the verge of falling into the Bog of Eternal Stench, but you’re not.
Don’t give up. Stay focused– Sarah might have gotten frustrated during her journey, but she never lost sight of her goal. Some days you will encounter every obstacle in the world, but that doesn’t mean you stop.
Ask for help and make friends along the way– in the beginning, Sarah entered the labyrinth all alone. She formed a team as she ventured through, because she asked people to help her. They ended up being true friends. Here’s a clip of all of them from the closing scene:
Don’t get lost in your labyrinth, friends. Stay focused and have fun along the way.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie 1947-2016
Tiffany Eckert is a mother of three children, Gold Star Wife, passionate supporter of the military community and a strong advocate of paying it forward. She has locked arms with the Medix team as a blog contributor, sharing her insights into military issues and social responsibility.