Leap! tells the story of two orphans, Félicie (Elle Fanning) and her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff), and their journey to Paris, France. The pair travel to France because Félicie dreams of becoming a famous ballet dancer and Victor pines for the young Félicie.
Their journey has twists and turns as Félicie falls for another ballet dancer, she steals another young girl’s identity, and Victor pursues his dreams of becoming an inventor. Everything comes together with a smashing end you won’t see coming.
Not only does Leap! deliver in the storytelling arena, you will find plenty of leadership lessons in Leap!
Caution: Leap! spoilers below
Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Leap! The Movie
Stop doing your grumpy face.
Leap! starts with a chuckle as Félicie tells Victor to stop doing his grumpy face. He was upset and his face was surely showing his emotions.
Félicie chastises Victor and sets him on the right path.
Leaders need to be aware of when they have their “grumpy face” on. You can easily put on the grump face and not even know it.
Félicie’s line reminded me of an article from Michael Hyatt where his team members told he looked angry. The expression on Micahel’s face told his team he was upset and someone was going to pay. Even though he wasn’t.
Your face can tell the same message. Be conscious of what your face is telling others. If it’s telling them the wrong thing, change it.
2. Your talents can be used in multiple ways:
Victor and Félicie had to clean the dishes at their orphanage. As they began to clean, Félicie began to dance.
Her dancing helped her clean more efficiently. She was able to move quickly around the cafeteria, get the dishes to the cleaner, and continue to the next spot.
You may be frustrated because you feel your talents are being wasted. You’re not leading at your full potential because you don’t have the right opportunities.
You’d be wrong. You can use your talents even in positions you may think don’t require them.
Be like Félicie. Use your talents in new and unique ways.
3. There will be naysayers:
Mother Superior at the orphanage told Félicie that her “Dreams don’t come true.” She told her to give up on what she longed to accomplish in life.
Mother Superior was a naysayer in Félicie’s life. Had Félicie believed the words Mother Superior spoke to her, she never would have left the orphanage and pursued dancing in Paris.
Don’t get frustrated with the naysayers in your life. They’re there, you have to deal with them.
Instead of getting mad, show those naysayers you will and can accomplish those dreams.
4. Bad leaders push people away:
Why did Félicie and Victor want to leave the orphanage? Yes, they wanted to pursue their dreams of dancing and inventing. Yet there was another reason.
The man running the orphanage was a cruel man (though with a good heart we later find out). He required Victor and Félicie to do things he was unwilling to do.
Because of these things, Victor and Félicie wanted to get away.
This is what bad leadership does. Bad leadership pushes people away. Bad leadership pushes GOOD team members away.
5. Know what the end of your mission looks like:
Félicie began looking for the Opera Ballet School in Paris. She wasn’t sure of the ballet school’s location. What she did have was a picture.
She wandered around Paris all day and into the night. Then she realized she had accomplished her mission. There, in front of her, was the Opera Ballet School.
How did she know her mission had been accomplished? She had half a picture of the school in her pocket. When she pulled out the picture, she compared the image to the building. She was there!
Too often leaders can begin a mission and then forget what the end looks like. They change their end game and they continue trudging forward even though their work is now ineffective.
Know what the end of your mission looks like. When you reach it, set a new mission.
Let me help you.
After finding the Opera Ballet School, Félicie snuck inside the building. She was then accused of being a thief.
Félicie protested and said she wasn’t. She had only wanted to see the school and the dancers.
This is when Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) and saves Félicie. Odette then tells Félicie to leave the school.
Félicie does but watches and waits for Odette. When she discovers Odette cleans a cruel taskmaster’s home along with the school, she offers her help. Félicie tells Odette she will help her clean.
Great leaders know they must help others. Leadership isn’t about getting what’s yours. Leadership is about helping others become better.
Be willing to step in and offer help when you can. Your team will appreciate your offerings and will view you in higher esteem.
7. Bad leaders talk down to others:
Félicie meets Camille (Maddie Ziegler) who is the daughter of Regine, the cruel taskmaster Odette was working for. Camille is much like her mother. She is snooty and looks down on others.
Not only does Camille look down upon Félicie, she talks down to her as well. Camille believes she has the right to call Félicie a rat and other derogatory words.
This, of course, hurts Félicie’s feelings.
Bad leaders do what Camille did to Félicie. Bad leaders talk down to others.
They believe by speaking negatively towards those they lead, they hold more power over them. They’re wrong.
By speaking negatively to those you lead, you demotivate them. You also push away high-performing team members.
Stop talking negatively to those you lead. Begin doing what great leaders do. Great leaders speak positively to their teams and encourage the work they’re doing.
8. Great leaders inspire others to become great leaders:
Rosita was a world famous ballet dancer. When Félicie saw Rosita dancing, hope jumped within her.
Just seeing Rosita dance pricked the hope and made the hope something new. Félicie’s hope became certainty. Félicie knew she could become a great dancer because of the inspiration Rosita was to her.
Great leaders do what Rosita did for Félicie. Great leaders inspire those they lead.
Whether the inspiration is to continue doing great work or to become a great leader themselves, great leaders inspire. Be the inspiration to the next generation of leaders.
9. Look for inspiration outside of your expertise:
With Félicie inspired to become the next great ballet dancer, she needed help. She had Odette begin teaching her how to perform in the ballet. One of the ways Odette trained Félicie was unorthodox.
Odette poured a bucket of water on the ground, tossed a bell on a rope into a tree, and told Félicie to ring the bell without disturbing the water. Try after try, Félicie failed. She couldn’t ring the bell without disturbing the water.
That’s when the magic happened. She was standing there and a gaggle of birds took flight. Their feathers began falling and lighted on the puddle. Gently and smoothly, the feather hit the water without disturbing the puddle.
That’s how you do it. Light and easy. And everything clicked in Félicie’s mind.
Are you looking to outside sources for inspiration? Inspiration comes from all around you. You have to be willing to open your eyes to the inspiration.
Be looking for ways you can innovate in your industry by bringing in skills from outside of your industry. Find them and begin testing them to see how they work.
If they work, implement them!
10. Get your foundation right:
Feet position plays a critical part in classical ballet. Knowing the right positions lays the right groundwork for you to go on to bigger and better things.
Odette taught Félicie the foundation of ballet. She showed her first through fifth feet positions and helped her begin her journey to becoming a ballet great.
Much like Félicie learned, you have to have a proper foundation in the work you’re doing. This includes having the proper leadership foundation.
When you’ve got the foundations of leadership, move onto more complex aspects of leadership.
There’s a difference between doing something and doing something right.
This quote from Odette in Leap! really hit home. I know I’ve found myself wanting to do something, anything and get the job done instead of taking my time and getting the job done right.
Many leaders fall victim to this leadership trap of doing something instead of doing something right.
Be the leader who does the right things right.
You get the part because you have something she doesn’t. You have passion.
Before Félicie faced her competition in Camille, Odette told her she has something Camille doesn’t. The thing Félicie had that Camille didn’t was passion.
Passion set Félicie apart from Camille. Camille danced because her mother demanded she dance. Félicie danced because she was passionate about dancing and the ballet.
Find your passion in leadership. Then pursue the passion.
Your passion will set you apart from other leaders. Your passion tells people you love what you’re doing and you will put your all into it.
13. Have friends who are willing to call you out:
Victor was Félicie’s best friend at the orphanage. The longer the two were away from the orphanage, the more he saw Félicie change.
Victor knew he had to be a great friend to Félicie. Knowing this, he did what he believed was right. He called Félicie out on the negative changes he saw in her life.
You’ve been told before that leadership is a lonely road. Leaders often make leadership lonely because they’re afraid of being called out on their crap.
Great leaders know they need friends like Victor. Friends who will stand up to their shenanigans and call them out when they’re wrong.
Have people in your life who are willing and able to call you out when you’re wrong. Then listen to them.
14. Félicie’s Mom:
If you never leap, you will never know what it is to fly.
While we only see a few minutes of Félicie with her mom, Félicie’s mom delivers an impactful line. Her mom knew a deep truth. You have to be willing to jump, to take action before you will know what success feels like.
Are you holding back? Are you unwilling to take the LEAP of faith you need to get to the next plateau of success?
If you are, make the leap today.
15. Bad leaders can become good leaders:
The headmaster at the orphanage was a contributing factor to Félicie and Victor running away. He was rude and curmudgeonly.
When Félicie was sent back to the orphanage, we learn he wasn’t always so mean. He had a kind heart and wanted to see Félicie succeed.
As Félicie tried to sneak past his door, he awoke and confronted her. But something was different. He didn’t tell her to go back.
Instead, he told Félicie there was a quicker way back to Paris. He told her to hop on his motorcycle and ride back there with him.
You may start off your leadership journey as a bad leader. You may be selfish or arrogant. There’s good news. You can change.
You can go from a bad leader to a good leader. But the leadership transition requires intentionality and effort on your part.