On Sunday, I took my 11 year old daughter to see the new movie The Lorax.
I wasn’t expecting to have an epiphany about my decision to become a career coach and a business consultant. I was just trying to do something with my girl on a Sunday afternoon. However, that darned Dr. Seuss had other plans for me.
When we walked out of the movie theater, it was clear to me that I shared a lot with the Lorax, who speaks for the trees. It was my personal decision to leave Corporate America four years ago, and I chose to focus the rest of my career helping others find their dream job, and pursue their passion to start their own business.
Sitting there watching this movie, it affirmed that what I’m doing now will help plant the seeds needed to help grow our American economy, and position people for future success. What does that have to do with the Lorax? Well, for that you have to know the story.
For those who DON’T know, the Lorax is about a greedy young man named Once-ler. He leaves his family to prove that he is not a failure. He searches the world over for the perfect material to make his Thneed garments. He finds it in the ideal Truffula tree and cuts the tree down. Once-ler is immediately visited by the mythical Lorax, who tells him not to cut down the trees. The Lorax warns Once-ler that evil things will befall him if he continues his ways.
Once-ler promises not to cut down any more trees. He goes to the city to try and sell his Thneeds, but fails at first. Then, the fickle public embraces his thneeds. Once-ler needs to ramp up to meet this skyrocketing demand, so he calls his family. They arrive and begin chopping down all of the trees in sight, to the disappointment of the Lorax.
When the last tree is cut down, there can be no more Thneeds. Once-ler’s family leaves him. He becomes a recluse living in the barren wastelands that used to be the beautiful forest.The forests have been destroyed and the creatures who depend on the trees have departed. The air and water is polluted.
Many years later, a young boy named Ted travels outside the polluted plastic city Thneedville to visit Once-ler and ask him how he can find a tree for a girl Ted really likes. He asks Once-ler why the world is in such a run-down state and there are no trees in Thneedville. Once-ler responds “it is all my fault.”
Watching the movie was REALLY hard for me. I kept thinking about all of the abuses our society has leveled upon the environment and ourselves. I started to get very emotional. At some point we humans are going to have to make a moral stand. Even our latest BEST intentions have led to unintended consequences and have stalled in the face of the status quo.
The Lorax, Planting Seeds… and HOPE
I’m not too proud to admit that at the end of the movie when Once-ler gives Ted the last tree seed and he plants it in the town square over the initial protests of the town, I got choked up.
As we were leaving the theater a strange thing happened. My daughter said to me: “Dad, you’re like the Lorax.” I was floored so I replied: “Why do you say that?”
She said: “You help everyone that you can find jobs and fix their companies by giving them your advice. You’re the Lorax.”
Wow! I never thought of my new career as a career coach equating with The Lorax’s mission. Maybe if we can all do our little bit then maybe…just maybe…we’ll be able to stop the destruction. After all, it only takes ONE seed to plant a forest.