My youngest daughter and I are in a mother-daughter book club. We read and discuss children’s and young adult literature (while the moms share the unfolding emotional, physical and intellectual growth of our daughters). This month’s book is the first in the dystopian trilogy, The Hunger Games. It’s a science fiction storyline you’ve read before; a tale of oppression and survival that uniquely integrates our modern day love of reality TV with Lord of the Flies.
The hero is fifteen year-old Katniss; a girl pitted against 23 other fight-to-the-death, last-person standing contestants. It’s gruesome. Written in the first-person narrative, the reader is enmeshed in Katniss’ highly charged psychological state. There is constant tension as she weighs who can and cannot be trusted on the battlefield and in her starved, totalitarian world. This theme of trust, of others and of self (critical for any decent hero-journey story) runs deeply through the plot of this book. And it resonates.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Self-trust is the essence of heroism.” It is central to The Hunger Games and (here it comes) it is the story of any speaker struggling to articulate and present their ideas to others. Self-trust leads to clarity of vision (what am I trying to say?), to willingness to take risks (I can do this!), to the hard work required to manifest vision to presentation (I must prepare and practice!). Standing up to speak in front of groups is heroic action for most people. I applaud anyone willing to do the hard work this requires. I love witnessing that moment when clients “get it,” trust themselves fully, and emanate the confidence and clarity of their own voice.