The Pink Panther Mindset
Updated: Oct 20
firmness of purpose; resoluteness. "he advanced with an unflinching determination"
The Pink Panther Mindset is how I visualize and what I consider determination to be.
How does that make sense?!
Well .. there's a generation of folks who know the Pink Panther to be a literal... pink panther! In the original film, the Pink Panther was a valuable pink diamond with a flaw that showed a "figure of a springing panther" when held up to the light in a certain way. The cartoon character was a part of the opening and closing credits, and later it morphed into a funny little cartoon series of Inspector Clouseau and a Pink Panther who was innovative and had many adventures (I guess they too, Lived a Life of Yes!) Anyhow, when I was a kiddo, the Pink Panther cartoon was a hot one, we watched it on Saturday mornings and I loved the discreet, adventuring character so much, I'd decided that I wanted to be the Pink Panther for Halloween.
I'd been downtown with our neighbour and we'd been given free reign to wander the stores on Main Street in Whitehorse; within these stores was a Shoppers Drug Mart that carried racks and racks of costumes that could easily fit over a snowsuit. I dug around, and sure enough, there was this bright plastic-type Pink Panther costume! I was so excited that I showed it to my friend and told her that I was going to get my Dad to bring me back to get it.
I got home and settled, (im)patiently waiting for my Dad to get home from work. As soon as he walked in the door, I was up and in the hallway like a shot! I was babbling FAST, trying to unpack my excitement. As one would expect, he told me to cool my jets so he could settle, letting me know that he'd discuss the costume with me when he was changed. I felt disappointed, but I took his feedback and went into the living room and (im)patiently waited for him to come out of his room "refreshed", so we could discuss the pressing matter of the Pink Panther costume.
He emerged from his room about 20 minutes later ready to discuss the costume while he prepared dinner. I told him all about it and let him know it had even fit over my winter jacket. He asked me what it was made of and I told him it was a "skinny plastic". He raised his eyebrows, and looking over the top of his glasses, asked me if I knew what the cold did to "skinny plastic". I told him I didn't and he told me what it did ... it froze and broke it. I insisted that this plastic actually "wasn't all that skinny" and that the cold wouldn't do that to it, quickly adding that my body heat should keep it warm (Interlude: Guys, it was the Yukon in the late 80's - it was still COLD then!!) He relented and said that we could go downtown on the weekend to look at it.
Fast forward a few days later and we had to go downtown to run some errands. I grabbed some money from my piggy bank and stuffed it into my pocket before we loaded into the truck and drove the 15 minutes downtown. I was vibrating in the passenger seat the entire way, excited to show my Dad this perfect-for-me costume. I'd been talking about it all week and was excited to show my friends when I got home. We parked in front of Shoppers and went into the store. I guided my Dad to the costume racks and quickly flipped through the costumes, desperately hoping my costume hadn't been purchased. I found it and excitedly pulled it out to show my Dad.
He clicked his tongue against his teeth and said, "I'm sorry Kaitie, I think that's going to fall apart from the cold while you Trick or Treat." My little stomach dropped, I could feel my face turn red, the emotion of rejection rolling in my stomach. I kept my composure and insisted that it was fine and it wouldn't fall apart. I told him that I would pay for it myself with my allowance, pulling out my little wad of one and two dollar bills. (Interlude: Remember when those were a thing?) He smiled, recognizing that I wasn't taking no for an answer. He acknowledged my determination and told me that if I was willing to "..throw $14 out the window", who was he to stop me? He led me to the check out where I proudly purchased my Pink Panther costume.
Halloween came and it was *COLD* at around -30C, so not only did we have to wear our winter jackets, but we also needed snow pants, big toques, mittens and our warmest boots. I was delighted as I pulled the costume over my outdoor clothing, my big toque inside of my hood, topped off by the Pink Panther's head. It was a perfect fit!! (If the intent was to be a sausage in a casing...) I went to show my Dad before heading out the door and he handed me a plastic grocery bag and a pair of scissors. He said, "I want my scissors back at the end of the night.." I looked at him, confused, and he said, "It's to trim your costume as it breaks apart in the cold. The bag is for you to collect the pieces in to bring home when you're done. Don't be a litterbug."
"How weird." I thought as I went to the neighbour's house to meet them. I handed the scissors and bag to my friend's mom, who'd agreed she'd carry them so I didn't literally ... run with scissors (I hadn't even thought of the danger until now - welcome to parenting in the 80's!) As we got going, the bottom of the costume started to crack as I ran through the snow, and pieces started falling off.... I came to my neighbour who clipped the broken pieces off and tucked them into the grocery bag. This continued to happen throughout the evening and as you can imagine, much of my costume was chipped, cracked and clipped off. By the time we made our way home, only the head and shoulders of the Pink Panther were left. I walked into the house, frosty little pink cheeks, a pink head and white and pink shoulders, the rest of my body proving my Dad right.
Moral of the story? I had the experience I wanted, and it was because I was determined, I knew what I wanted and took it. Also .. It was the best $14 I'd ever spent ...and I didn't run with scissors. :)
Determination is a crucial tool in your leadership toolkit. It's the desire to want to achieve something and actually take the actions to get to what you want. This of course, gets paired with persistence and your resilience - the ability to bounce back when things don't go your way.
The world is a big place and we have a lot of opportunities to make the life we want to live... to create the experience that we want. Here are some tips on how you can increase your determination toward your goals:
Know what you want - what does success look like? Defining what you want is the first step of being able to go out and get it!
Know your why - this isn't for anyone else, but it's for you. Knowing what you want and why you want it go hand in hand. Don't be afraid to be big and be bold. There's nothing wrong with wanting a better title or having more income; remember, WHY is fuelled by emotion.
Set milestones - once you know what you want and why you want it, set tangible milestones for yourself.
Use technology as an enabler - automate your processes toward meeting your goals as much as possible (time management in your calendar for example).
Work hard and persevere, but also be flexible - focus on what matters and that will give you the biggest boost toward your goals. We have a saying in bodybuilding: "Don't step over $100 bills to pick up quarters..."
Eliminate the "all or nothing" mindset - you can't be 100% on 100% of the time - determination doesn't mean you get it right or feel great about your goals 100% of the time - it means you don't quit when it isn't easy.
Do the hard stuff. :)
Want to discuss how to strengthen your Pink Panther Mindset or discover how to help your team become more determined? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing!