Few movies have received the praise I’ve seen for Everything Everywhere All At Once. My Facebook feed has been filled with praise from friends such as Greg Atkinson, Aaron Ponce, Soong-Chan Rah, Michael Frost, and others who convinced me to see this great movie.
At first, I was a little leary. Everything Everywhere All At Once is an A24 film. This film company does quirky, violent, and often horror-based movies. Knowing this, I was braced for something much different than I received (though there are some objectionable scenes in this movie).
Everything Everywhere All At Once is thought-provoking, moving, and challenging to your ideas. You’ll leave the theater questioning many things, including what you just saw. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but the movie leaves you pondering.
More than this, Everything Everywhere All At Once is also a tool to teach you leadership lessons. I walked out of the movie theater with pages of leadership notes.
In today’s Reel Leadership article, we will look at the leadership lessons in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Everything Everywhere All At Once
1. Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan):
Evelyn, calm down.
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is the main character in Everything Everywhere All At Once. She’s beginning to understand that she’s part of the multiverse (no, not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). But she is the central piece of the film.
At the start of the movie, Evelyn is freaking out. She’s planning a party for her father, Gong Gong (James Hong). The stress levels are high.
This is when her husband, Waymond, steps in. He tells her to calm down. It’s what she needed to hear.
Leaders, I want to tell you the same thing Waymond told his wife. You need to calm down.
Leadership is important. What goes on in your business is essential. Still, it is not life and death.
You need to take a deep breath. You need to calm down.
2. Becky Sregor (Tallie Medel):
I always learn something when I hang out with elderly people. Old people are so wise.
Becky was Joy’s girlfriend. Becky was at the laundromat for the party.
In conversation, she made the above quip. At first, it comes across as crass or demeaning. Yet, Becky didn’t mean it that way.
Becky understood the value of older people. She saw the wisdom they possess.
Do you see the wisdom older people possess in business? There are so many wise people it’s hard to miss them.
Seek out their counsel. Listen to them. Grow from their wisdom!
3. Major changes happen with simple actions:
A Waymond from the Alphaverse appeared to Evelyn. He believed she was the key to saving every universe that existed.
As Evelyn and Waymond were in the elevator, Alpha Waymond took over her husband’s body. They were on the way to having their tax return reviewed. He gave Evelyn a choice.
Evelyn could turn right when exiting the elevator. This would take her to the IRS auditor. The other choice was to turn left. This would lead her to the janitor’s closet. In the closet, she would find instructions for life change.
She chose to turn left.
You have multiple choices throughout your day. You may not think they’re life-changing decisions but they can be.
Evelyn’s life-changing decision was to turn left. Yours may be to treat the janitor with respect. It could be calling your wife and telling her you love her. Or it may be implementing a 10-minute walk every day.
Major changes start with simple actions.
4. Everything tells a story:
The IRS auditor was Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis). She was going over the receipts Evelyn had brought to the IRS office.
Deirdre said that numbers on a business receipt told a story. The story the numbers were describing was not a good one.
EVERYTHING TELLS A STORY.
What story are you telling? What story is your things telling?
5. Alpha Waymond:
You can either come with me and live up to your ultimate potential or lay down and suffer the consequences.
Evelyn attacked Deirdre. She saw her as a threat. In reality, she was just leaving the office.
The attack caused the multiverse to clash. Alpha Waymond had to jump in and tell Evelyn she had a choice.
Evelyn chose to live up to her potential (though she failed along the way).
You have a choice. You can live up to your potential or you can choose to lay down. There will be consequences either way. However, one way will see you successful; the other will have you regretting the choices.
6. Be willing to change your mind:
The Alpha Waymond had high hopes for Evelyn. He saw potential yet something happened.
His hopes were dashed when he discovered Evelyn wasn’t special. She wasn’t willing to step up to the plate.
Yet, this all changed. After Evelyn failed to act, she chose to act. She began to tap into the power of the multiverse. She was able to obtain the skills of other Evelyns scattered across the multiverses!
You may have an initial thought about a troubled employee. You may think they’re worthless, unwilling to do the work, or even unable.
It’s okay to have an idea about people. The key is not to hold those ideas tightly.
Watch the people you’re concerned about. See what they’re doing. Let them change your mind.
Their actions may be fruitful. They may be willing to go the extra mile if you let them.
7. Leaders see what others cannot:
Evelyn discovers the multiverse. Her husband and daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), had no clue what was going on.
This became more apparent as Joy tried to explain what was happening. She talked about other Evelyns, other universes, and more.
Do you know what Joy and Waymond did? They looked at her like she was crazy.
But she wasn’t. She saw what they couldn’t.
I saw Evelyn as a leader. She saw things other people couldn’t. She also tried to help them understand what was happening.
Leaders, you do the same thing. You see worlds that are possible. You see things as they should be, not as they are.
Explaining this to others is difficult. They will look at you as if you were crazy.
Lead anyways. Cast the vision for the future. Eventually, they will see what you see.
8. Understand motives:
Jobu Tupaki was the Alphaverse’s version of Joy. Joy had been pushed so far by the Alphaverse’s version of Evelyn that her mind was fractured. She was jumping from multiverse to multiverse, looking for Evelyns to kill.
Or so we were led to believe.
In reality, Jobu was looking for someone who would see things the way she saw things.
What are the motives of your people? Have you thought to understand them?
They may be working for a paycheck. Or they may take pride in the items they create because they know the product will benefit someone in the end. It could even be a mixture of reasons.
When you do, you will be better equipped to help your team.
I just talked to her.
Evelyn was shocked when Waymond told her Deirdre had given them an extension. Evelyn wondered what had happened.
Waymond told her. All he had done was talk to her.
We think getting people to do things takes a great deal of effort. The reality is that you can get a lot of effort out of your team if only you talk to them.
10. Move toward others:
In one of the multiverses, Joy and Evelyn were rocks. They were on a desolate world.
Evelyn began to move her rock self toward Joy. Joy said that’s not how things were supposed to work.
Still, Evelyn moved closer.
Great leaders are like Evelyn. They move toward people. They know they have to be the ones to take action.
Are you willing to move toward those who have wronged you, hurt you, or even disowned you? I want to encourage you to move closer even when it’s not what you think you’re supposed to do.