Quotes And Leadership Lessons From In The Heights

A Reel Leadership Article

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Once again, I’m not a huge musical fan but there’s been a few fantastic musical movies that have released recently. The first was Hamilton. Now, In The Heights has released starring Lin Lin-Manuel Mira as Piragüero, Anthony Ramos as Usnavi, Corey Hawkins as Benny, Leslie Grace as Nina Rosario, Melissa Barrera as Vanessa, Jimmy Smits as Kevin Rosario, Gregory Diaz IV as Sonny, and Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia. There are also many other talented actors in In The Heights.

In The Heights tells the story of a dreamer named Usnavi. He has high hopes as a bodega owner. He scrimps and saves to make his dream come true. We see his story come to life but with a twist because when isn’t there a twist in a great movie?

Cast of In The Heights standing in the road

Today, we’re going to take a look at the leadership lessons in In The Heights. We’ll also see how you can apply those to your daily leadership.

Get ready, it’s time for Quotes And Leadership Lessons From In The Heights.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From In The Heights

1. Write a love letter to your community:

Lin-Manuel opened the movie by telling the audience that In The Heights was a love letter to the neighborhood he grew up in. He wanted the world to know how special it was.

The movie did a great job showing us how Lin-Manuel felt about the place he grew up. He loved it and cared about it.

I liked how they had a snippet with Lin-Manuel letting us know about his neighborhood. It helped us connect with him. His message also helps us to think about our neighborhood.

When we lead, we should be leading as a love letter to the community we’re living in. We should do the best work possible so that we’re giving back.

Look for ways to serve your community through the work that you do.

2. Great leaders suggest new things to try:

Usnavi walked out of his little bodega. There were a couple of people standing outside. They mentioned they had never been north of the current street they were on.

Usnavi took initiative. He began to give suggestions on the new things they could see.

You have a perfect opportunity to help those you lead to try new things. You’re further along than they are. You’ve experienced more than they have.

When you’re around your team, help them to see the new things they could try. It may be a new coaching method, a way to work the machine, or a new way to sell.

You’re able to pour into the lives of those you lead. Pour into their lives new ideas!

3. Alejandro (Mateo Alejandro):

Ahhh… the hustle never ends.

Usnavi was slinging boxes in his bodega. He was getting the store ready for customers to peruse.

Alejandro sees this and says that the hustle never ends.

It’s true. While the hustle can be a horrible thing, just ask Jon Mark Comer. He wrote the book The Ruthless Elimination Of Hustle. However, there’s also a positive side to the hustle.

You can get things done. You push yourself further than you think you can go.

Use the hustle for good because you will always be doing something in leadership.

4. Alejandro:

You always talk about your dream. You really want it?

Alejandro asked Usnavi a great question. Usnavi was always talking. He never was able to get to his dream. Alejandro wanted to know if Usnavi really wanted what he talked about.

It is so easy to talk about our dreams. Acting on those dreams is a much different story.

If you have a dream, stop talking about it. Start going after it.

5. Abuela Claudia:

Little details tell the world we are not invisible.

Abuela talked about the time when she came to the United States from Cuba. She would cover her cracked hands with gloves.

This action wasn’t a sign of shame. Rather, she covered her hands to give herself a more regal appearance.

She wanted to give herself dignity. She wanted to make the world recognize her.

We can think the little details in our work don’t matter. They do.

I think of Steve Jobs and Apple. The exquisite design of their computers, inside and out, has made them a hot commodity.

Are you paying attention to the little details?

6. We can feel like a disappointment when we’re not:

Nina had been able to escape the Washington Heights neighborhood. She was able to go to a prestigious college. Yet, she dropped out.

She believed she was going to be a disappointment to her community. She wasn’t. The people still loved her.

How many times have you made a mistake, couldn’t hack it, or had to reverse course? You may have thought your team was going to look down on you.

They didn’t. They still loved you. You were not a disappointment.

You still aren’t.

Our feelings lie to us. They try to get us to leave or quit. Don’t listen to those feelings.

7. Don’t live in hypotheticals:

Usnavi’s bodega sold a winning lottery ticket. This set the neighborhood ablaze in dreams.

Every person who bought a ticket had a hypothetical. They had dreams of what they would do if they were the winner.

This didn’t better their lives. It was all dreams.

We have big dreams for what we can do. Sometimes, these dreams become hypothetical. We begin to live there.

Let’s top living in our hypotheticals. Let’s start making our hypotheticals a reality.

8. Nina:

There’s no community for me at school.

Nina had gotten away from Washington Heights. She had been accepted to and attended classes at Stanford University. This was a dream come true for most people.

For Nina, she struggled. She realized there was no community for her at Stanford. Because of this, she didn’t want to be there. In fact, it made her quit.

Community is important. It helps us feel connected and a part of something. Without community, work can be a drudgery.

Help make your workplace a community. Reach out to those you work with. Make them feel a part of something.

9. We think our reasons are noble:

Kevin is Nina’s dad. Kevin told his daughter that he sold his business for her.

Nina saw through this. She told him he didn’t do that for her. She believed her dad sold her business for his own reasons (to make him look good by sending his daughter to Stanford).

When we do things, we think we know why we’re doing them. We feel as if we have a noble reason for the things we do.

We’re wrong most of the time. We have some underlying reason for our actions. Many times it is for a selfish reason.

Make sure you check your reasons for doing things.

10. Kevin:

It’s because you can see your future that I can’t.

Nina had a clear picture of what she wanted to do with her future. She wanted to help dreamers go to college. She wanted to help them build community on local and national colleges.

Kevin struggled to see her future.

This was because her future wasn’t his. She had her own hopes and dreams.

We can struggle with those we lead because they have their own dreams. They have desires we don’t know about. They have reasons we don’t know about.

We can try to make our dreams theirs. However, it won’t work.

Know that you can’t see the future of those you lead. Their dreams diverge from yours. Be okay with this. Help them with their dream.

11. A dream can take a long time to come to fruition:

Usnavi told Sonny he was going to help him get his green card. This process could take a few months or it could take five years.

There was no telling how long the green card process would take. Would Sonny still want to try?

Usnavi told the lawyer to begin the process. It didn’t matter how long it would take. This dream would come to fruition.

How long are you willing to wait for your dream? Do you want it to happen today? Would you be okay with it taking years or decades?

You have to know how long you are willing to wait for your dream.

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