What the Jerry Maguire Manifesto Teaches Us About Purpose

What the Jerry Maguire Manifesto Teaches Us About PurposeThe 20th anniversary (yes, that’s not a typo!) of the movie “Jerry Maguire” is this week. Based on real characters in pro sports, this famous romantic comedy gave audiences a glimpse behind the curtain of the sports agent business.

For me, the movie brings me back to where I was in 1996 when it was released, just beginning my career in the sports industry. It wasn’t until a few years later that CNN referred to me during an interview as “the female Jerry Maguire— a moniker that stuck and still invites curiosity to this day.

This anniversary inspires me to look back and compare real life to this movie one more time. There’s so much in it that inspires me and reflects what was going on early in my career then, and one of the most important lessons of success that is also in the movie.

(For a refresher on this classic movie, here’s a good link.)

What’s Your Manifesto?

The scene in which Jerry Maguire (played by Tom Cruise) pens a heartfelt mission statement sets the stage for the entire movie. After experiencing a crisis of conscience, Maguire pens the memo and with a renewed sense of purpose, distributes it to the entire company thinking it will have a similar impact on those around him. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Instead, Jerry Maguire gets fired and thus embarks on a journey to rebuild what he once had while learning hard truths along the way.

Earlier this year, we got more insight when the movie’s director Cameron Crowe released the full 25-page manifesto that Jerry Maguire wrote, titled: “The Things We Think and Do Not Say.”

The memo details Maguire’s thought process and values. Even though he’s fictional, he accurately describes the win-at-all-cost competitiveness as it relates to sports representation very well. This movie grabs us through Jerry’s search for himself and the meaning of success in the middle of all the jockeying.

That’s why I love his line, “Let’s bring soul and character to what is already there.”  As we keep doing what we do well, let’s never forget our humanity. Values like honesty and integrity serve as our filters and our anchors.

What would your manifesto say? What are the things you think, yet do not say? What are the values that you hold deeply, and are you in a place where they align with your work? If not, you may need to reinvent yourself!

Stop sleepwalking

Even if you don’t have time to read the entire manifesto, the last four paragraphs are so worthwhile. Because even if your work reflects your values, you often need to check for adjustments. Even if you are super mindful, the pace of work and distractions constantly pull us away from what really matters to us. It’s easy to mistake achievement for fulfillment and find ourselves drifting from our purpose.

Whatever you do, pay attention. That’s what the Maguire manifesto emphasizes, and I completely agree.

Avoid “the feeling of sleepwalking. Of others living life around you, keeping their fists tightly wound around whatever dollars they can muster, caring little more than nothing about those around you,” Maguire writes. “We cannot sleepwalk. We cannot just survive, anything goes. We can take control of our lives, we can quit sleepwalking, we can say — right now, these are our lives, it is time to start living it. A life isn’t worth living if you are sleepwalking through it.”

If we are truly awake and alive to our personal mission statement, we no longer go through the motions.

The final line in the Maguire Manifesto really nails what everything is about, in a direct piece of wisdom gained from his years of experience: The secret to this job is personal relationships.”

None of us exist in a vacuum or bubble. As exciting as our goals may be, our best experience is not the attainment of those aspirations. It is the journey and the people along the way that give us meaning.

Your Game Changer Takeaway

Hopefully this blog had you at hello. I hope you’ll be inspired to reflect on how much of your life is about “show me the money”—and how much is about the people who complete you. How will you connect to your mission today and every day?

Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her e-learning courses spark both personal growth for individuals and corporate development for organizations. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.

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