Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Memory

A Reel Leadership Article

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

Memory is the latest Liam Neeson movie. If you don’t know who Liam Neeson is, he is famous for his role in Taken and other films where he has a specific set of skills.

Memory follows the same formula. Liam Neeson’s character, Alex Lewis, is slowly losing his memory. His career is an assassin for hire. However, when it comes time for him to harm a child, Alex cannot and will not do the deed.

Liam Neeson in Memory

As his time plays out, Alex decides he will make the people responsible for the sex trafficking of young girls pay. He will exact his vengeance, or justice, on these criminals who so easily escape the criminal justice system.

If you like Liam Neeson movies, you are going to enjoy this. You will go into the movie knowing exactly what to expect.

You will also walk away from the movie with something. Memory can teach us leadership lessons. Today’s article will dive into those.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Memory

1. Leaders will have to take a fall:

Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) is an undercover FBI agent tracking a sex trafficking ring. He attempts to infiltrate the ring by arranging a session with Beatriz Leon (Mia Sanchez). She aggressively pursues him only to reveal he is wearing a wire. While he was trying to help her, Beatriz alerted Papa Leon (Antonio Jaramillo) to the undercover agent.

Papa Leon was furious. His operation would fall apart if the FBI agents were to get him or Beatriz.

Papa Leon and Vincent tussle. They move toward a window where both Vincent and Leon fall over the edge.

Vincent survives. Papa Leon doesn’t.

I hope you leaders will never tumble out a window. Yet, I know many of you will take a fall.

Whether it is from improper actions or a company downsizing, leaders fall. They fall hard.

The thing great leaders do is return from their fall. They take the time to recover, to heal. Then they come back better than ever.

Make sure you get back up when you fall.

2. Alex Lewis:

You want someone else. I’m not up for it.

Alex is talking to Mauricio (Lee Boardman). He’s one of Alex’s contacts.

This conversation happened because Mauricio was trying to hire Alex for another job. Alex is tired. He’s losing his memory due to Alzheimer’s.

He’s not as sharp as he was. He knew he had to get out.

Leaders, we all have an expiration date on our leadership tenures. Know that you do too.

Watch yourself. See how you’re performing. Evaluate whether or not it is the right time to get out of leadership.

3. Find ways to compensate for your weakness:

Alex knew he was losing his memory. He couldn’t remember where he put his car keys, where he was staying, and more.

To compensate, Alex would write down notes on his arm. These notes told him the hotel room number, places he hid things, etc…

We all have weaknesses. You can overcome many of these weaknesses. We only have to get creative.

Be like Alex. Find ways to overcome your weaknesses. It may be as simple as writing yourself notes, filling in your calendar, or some other reminder.

You can overcome your weakness when you find ways to compensate for them.

4. Bad leaders instill fear:

Beatriz had been sex trafficked by Papa Leon. He instilled fear in her.

So much so that Beatriz was unwilling to give him up. She was also reluctant to forgive Alex for killing Papa Leon.

Papa Leon instilled so much fear in Beatriz that she couldn’t see past it.

If we begin to lean towards bad leadership, we must be careful. Our actions (or inactions) will impact those we lead.

We can drastically impact how they view themselves and those who lead them.

Let’s stop instilling fear in those we lead. Instead, let’s instill peace, gratitude, and favor.

5. Have limits:

Alex had limits to what he would do. He was willing to kill adults. He hit his limit when it involved killing children.

There was an unwritten rule he had. He wouldn’t cross it.

You don’t have to either. Know your limits.

Create guidelines, boundaries, limits. Whatever you want to call them, have them.

Having limits will prevent you from going too far.

6. Linda Amistead (Taj Atwal):

At least I’m trying, Hugo (Harold Torres).

Linda was practicing her Spanish. She wasn’t good at it but yet she wanted to get better.

While riding with Hugo, she was repeating phrases. Sometimes she was correct in what she was saying; other times, she was way off.

The thing was Linda was trying. She went out of her comfort zone and did something that would improve herself.

How can you stretch yourself? What can you do that you might fail in doing?

Be willing to try new things. Go beyond the comfort zone. Find ways to grow.

7. We can be so absorbed in what we’re doing that we miss what is happening around us:

Alex is out to get the bad guys involved in trafficking girls. He finds one, William Borden (Daniel De Bourg), in a fitness center.

William is jogging on a treadmill. Alex approaches the glass window in front of William. Alex pulls out his gun. The trigger is pulled. Alex is shot and killed.

The lady on the treadmill behind him doesn’t even notice William drop to the floor. She continues on, unaware of what happened mere feet from her exercise machine.

We are the lady on the treadmill. We’re so engrossed in our lives, our duties, our thoughts that we fail to see what is happening around us.

Our employees may be dropping like flies. Unnoticed.

Our friends may be suffering. Unnoticed.

Our families are missing us. Unnoticed.

Break free from the trap of being so self-absorbed. Find ways to check in on your people.

8. Alex Lewis:

We all have to die, Vincent. What’s important is what we do before we go.

Alex spits some truth here. He was talking to Vincent about dying. Yet, he imparted fantastic insight.

We all die. There’s no way around it. Science cannot prevent it. One day we’re going to meet our maker.

The question is: What are you going to do before you go? What are you doing with your life?

Make sure you’re making your life count. In business, sure. But also with the ones you love.

9. Vincent:

What side of this do you want to be on?

Vincent was talking to Gerald Nussbaum (Ray Fearon). Gerald was giving a bit of pushback into the investigation.

Vincent knew what side he wanted to be on. He wasn’t sure what side Gerald wanted to be on.

We have a choice to make. We can choose to be on the right side, taking the right actions. Or we can choose to be on the wrong side of things.

Sometimes, you won’t know which side is which. More often, though, you will. You will know right from wrong.

Make the decision to be on the right side of things.

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