5 Leadership Lessons From A Comic-Con

Last weekend I got to experience something I’ve always longed to do: Attend a comic-con.

This one wasn’t a big convention like the San Diego or New York Comic-Con. It was a much smaller one that still packed a punch.

Mario Cosplay at Grand Rapids Comic-Con

While the Grand Rapids Comic-Con was smaller, walking the convention still took us 4 hours. As we walked the convention floors, I saw leadership lessons all around.

Leadership Lessons From A Comic Convention

1. You don’t have to be perfect to lead

If you know anything about the comic book world, there’s a lot of fans who love to show their adoration of the characters by dressing up in cosplay for conventions. This comic con was no different.

There were plenty of fans dressed up as their favorite characters. I remember seeing Captain America, the Ghostbusters, Winter Solider, and many more comic book and TV characters.

Many of these cosplay costumes were amazing.

War Machine cosplay

Cosplay of Marvel’s War Machine

Then there were cosplay costumes that didn’t look like the character.

But do you know what? Those wearing the costumes didn’t care. They wore their creations with pride and showed the world their art.

Don’t be afraid that you’re not good enough or that you don’t know exactly what is going to happen. Imperfect leadership is often better than no leadership.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask people to pay for your work

Leading in an organization, you don’t have to worry about this. You’re going to be paid.

However, if you go out on your own, you will have to ask those you’re helping to pay you. This can be a scary proposition.

All throughout the Grand Rapids Comic-Con you would see people charging for their work. Whether it was Kevin Eastman (creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Jason Lee Scott (the original Red Power Ranger), and another creator, they were all asking to be paid.

They charged for their autograph. They charged for a picture. And they didn’t hesitate to do so.

So why are you hesitating to ask people to pay for your work? Stop. Start asking to be paid for what you bring to the table. You’re worth it.

3. Have passion

The cosplayers had a passion for the characters they were dressed up as. The artists had a passion for the work they were drawing. And the people who created life-sized replicas of characters were passionate about the creations they created.

Custom made Grimlock

The Transformer Grimlock tried to take a bite out of my wife

We met one man who had created life-sized versions of many different Transformers characters. He was displaying Grimlock, Star Scream, and Optimus Prime.

Talking to this gentleman, we could hear the passion in his voice. He did this because he LOVED creating works of art he could share with the world.

You might not be creating the next custom Transformers piece. But you are creating something amazing. Your work is changing lives.

Rekindle your passion and come alive again.

4. Discover what people want

I’d expected there to be a lot of people at the comic-con. What I didn’t expect was the sheer number of people that were there.

There were so many people at the event it was hard to move through the exhibitor displays. You kept bumping into other comic book fans.

Do you know what this tells me? Someone at Grand Rapids Comic Con knows what people want. They’ve brought in a crowd of happy people who are willing to pay to come to the event.

You have to find out what people want. Then give it to them.

5. Chase your muse

One of the last exhibitors we stopped by was the artist Luke Daab of Chicago. He shared with us his story of how he became an artist.

We heard how he wanted to be a Muppeteer. And how that transitioned to his work as a graphic designer.

As he moved into the new role as a graphic designer, he chased his muse: Aquaman.

What did that look like? Every free moment he had, he would draw something related to Aquaman.

A small doodle here. A larger drawing there. His focus became drawing Aquaman.

What’s your muse? What do you need to be chasing? Why aren’t you?

Chasing your muse helps you hone your craft. Find yours and chase away.

A Bonus Leadership Lesson From A Comic-Con

Every great leader needs to have more in their arsenal. And they have to be willing to surprise those they lead.

That’s why I wanted to toss in an extra lesson from the Grand Rapids Comic-Con. Here’s the last lesson:

6. Have fun

Everything about the Grand Rapids Comic-Con exuded fun.

Costumes. Comics. Video games. Artists. Writers.

You couldn’t avoid fun at the con if you tried.

When’s the last time you had fun in what you did? Has it been too long?

If so, I want to challenge you to look for the fun in what you’re doing. Find it, do more of it, and enjoy leading.

Question: Have you been to a comic convetion before? If so, what was your experience?
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