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These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

Indescribable magic happens when milk meets cereal, booty meets couch cushions, and a child’s eyes meet cartoons. No doubt the pinnacle of every kid’s week, cartoons offer an animated escape into a limitless world. Cartoons free our imaginations, bending the realms of possibility in the exact ways that are forbidden and restricted in our mortal world. But beyond the entrancing animation styles, squeaky voices, and reoccurring characters are underlying themes that greatly benefit our lives.

We see our favorite characters struggle, and share in their triumph when they overcome. We relate to them as children, and remember them fondly when we reminisce as adults. Yet, no matter how long it’s been, or how vehemently you tried to convince your friends that you “only watched it once,” your favorite cartoons will always be very special to you. Some of them teach us about love, others teach us about acceptance, but the most memorable, remarkable, and beneficial ones teach us how to be fearless leaders.

Here are the 15 best animated advocates of awareness, in no particular order.


Tommy

    Tommy Pickles

    Though I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Rugrats fan, Thomas Malcolm Pickles can’t be left off this list. Though he and his diaper dandies are regularly stuck in a “pickle” as a result of Angelica’s evil schemes, Tommy always puts the safety of his people over the need of his nap. In the many ways Tommy teaches us to lead, none is more strong than his adventure-seeking, positive, proactive attitude towards his associates and younger brother, Dil Pickles. [Best leader trait: Empathy]

    Arnold

      Arnold

      The only character with an purposefully unknown last name to make the list, Arnold is perhaps the strongest leader to emerge from Nickelodeon in the ’90s. Revered by nearly everyone, Arnold is always looked to for advice, moral help, and to pinch hit against the fifth graders in the vacant lot. His odd head shape is more than a funny reference and catchy tag line. It also serves as a efficient command center to house his idealist perspectives, his many dreams, and everyone else’s best interest. An interesting factoid is that Arnold didn’t start his acting career in animation, but in clay. [Best leader trait: Optimism]

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      Porkchop

        Porkchop

        Before Brian in Family Guy, Goddard in Jimmy Neutron, or Santa’s Little Helper in The Simpsons, there was Porkchop, Doug Funny’s nearly-human canine sidekick. Although he does not talk, Porkchop displays his leadership abilities through an elaborate system of gestures, cute facial expressions, and words if he can find the appropriate writing tools. With sincerity and near telekinesis, Porkchop alleviates most of Doug’s frustrations quickly, effectively, and mindfully. This dog certainly raises the bar for any other animated faithful four-legged companion. [Best leader trait: Accountability]

        Eliza

          Eliza Thornberry

          To rival Mr. Pickles above, Eliza’s yearning for constant adventure often places her and her loved ones in danger, but she always seems to manage. Gifted with the ability to talk to animals thanks to a African mountain shaman at age 10 (great parenting there, Nigel), her knowledge and ability to predict what animals can do often plays to her advantage. Her intrigue frequently gets her into trouble with predatory animals, but she’s no doubt one of the most fearless 12-year-old characters to grace the tube. [Best leader trait: Awareness]

          Reggie

            Regina “Reggie” Rocket

            Big sister to the legendary Oswald (Otto) Rocket, this purple-haired speed machine grinded and kickflipped her way past almost every extreme sports gender gap.  She often acted as the voice of reason for her friends, and refused to be silenced in the media by teaming up with Squid to make “The Zine.”  Reggie’s can-do attitude often saves the gang from losing in a last second game against Larz and his cronies. [Best leader trait: Ambition]

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            Wanda

              Wanda

              Wanda Venus Fairywinkle-Cosma, whose name is too fun not to note, is by actual age and practical wisdom the most mature on this list. Even though she’s constantly bombarded by the idiotic wish granting of Cosmo and Timmy’s nimrod antics, she remains level-headed and always manages to save her fairy godson from danger, her husband from himself, and the day all at the same time. Her deep intelligence is often mistaken for senseless nagging. [Best leader trait: Patience]

              Sandy

                Sandra “Sandy” Cheeks

                Sandy is the only character in Spongebob Squarepants that humans can relate to on the basis of oxygen-reliant. This karate kickin’, science lovin’, ultra friendly Texas native exemplifies perhaps the most important characteristic of leadership: fortitude. Whenever Spongebob, Patrick, or any of the other semi-relevant aquatic residents of Bikini Bottom are in trouble or feeling down, Sandy always seems to be the first on the scene with encouraging, progressive, high-ya! plans of action. [Best leader trait: Strength]

                Eddy

                  Eddy

                  In this instance, the negative sounding adjectives that describe this money grabber outweigh most of the more pleasant ones. Eddy is thought of as selfish, overambitious, power hungry, greedy, a loud mouth, and jealous, but do these not perfectly describe some of the best leaders of our time? No matter how you feel about Eddy personally, he’s one of the first toons on this list that I would call if I were starting a company. No matter how often he’s shut down, deterred, or falls short of getting a quarter (and, in turn, a jawbreaker), he’s always back in the next 15 minute segment with another harebrained scheme. [Best leader trait: Tenacity]

                  Velma

                    Velma Dinkley

                    No doubt a genius in every sense of the word, Velma is the unspoken and unrecognized hero resulting in much of the “gang’s” success. If you’ll take notice, she often has a pre-instilled sense of pride and certainty before they pull the mask off the bad guy at the very end. She’s also extremely well-versed in Morse Code and martial arts, two impractical daily skills that seem to come in handy at the right moments. [Best leader trait: Intuition]

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                    TJ2

                      Theodore Jasper “T.J.” Detweiler

                      Nothing “whomps” about this kid as a bold and brave ring leader. With a sweetness and sincerity that only a mother could love, T.J is often the voice of the voiceless when his friends are in danger, and treats each child of the playground with unfiltered equality. Far from an ‘A’ student, his intelligence and know-how is unquestionable. One is left to wonder if he’d be more like Gretchen if he gave an honest effort in his academics. Either way, this red-hat-flipped-backwards playground deviant is fit to lead, so move aside King Bob. [Best leader trait: Brevity]

                      Jimmy

                        Jimmy Neutron

                        It’s pretty common that Jimmy’s big brain gets him, and the rest of Retroville, in serious trouble. This normally requires Jimmy to invent something else to fix the trouble he caused in the first place. He’s not very well-liked by anyone, really, with the exception of his parents, and his socially outcast buddies, Sheen and Carl. But no matter his adversities, Jimmy always finds the brain and willpower necessary to keep inventing, producing, and testing his limits. [Best leader trait: Courage]

                        Brain

                          Brain

                          Say this with me: “megalomaniac mouse.” Isn’t that fun? Brain’s character can be compared to a coconut. Behind his hard, tough exterior of rudeness, short temperament, anger, and sarcasm beats a sensitive heart that truly cares about the world he so desperately tries to take over. Based of the legendary Orson Welles, Brain exhibits leadership qualities bountifully, but none are stronger than his ability to tolerate Pinky and all of his redundant questions. {Best leader trait: Tolerance]

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                          Courage

                            Courage

                            At first glance, this snaggletoothed dog’s name may seem ill-fitting, but as each episode plays out viewers can tell he fits his title. Abandoned as a puppy, Courage is easily frightened and quick to hide when monsters and ghouls show up to greet him, Muriel, and Eustace on the farm. His instinctual fortitude kicks into overdrive upon the realization that his masters (friends) truly are in trouble, particularly Muriel. Though he’s usually at odds, this pup does not allow his shortcomings to stop him from doing whatever is necessary to keep his friends safe. [Best leader trait: Selflessness]

                            Max Good

                              Max Goof

                              Anyone who personally knows me and my love for cartoons is not surprised by this pick. Playing majorly off The Goofy Movie, Max’s story of love and constant disparity is relatable to everyone. He goes to drastic measures to please his friends and impress Roxanne at the assembly, and his display of tireless refusal to back down in the face of adversity is inspiring. Though he stretches the truth by telling Roxanne he’s going to the Powerline concert instead of on an around the country road trip with Goofy, it ends up playing to his favor in his never-ending struggle to do the right thing. [Best leader trait: Poise]

                              Dexter

                                Dexter

                                Known for his intelligence, Dexter fears no risk. Despite his projects often backfiring because he’s either overanxious or overconfident, Dexter is highly skilled at using quick reflexes and problem solving to get the job done. Even though his clueless parents are obviously American, he speaks with a distinct Russian accent which makes me believe that there’s more of an “off screen” life of his that the viewers know nothing about (my wager is on spy). Regardless, Dexter always has his hands in projects and is determined to invent the next useful thing. [Best leader trait: Focus]

                                Tito

                                  Tito Makani

                                  As the ancient Hawaiians say, “The most important races are won in the ocean of the soul.” An endless source of baffling, meaningful quotes like these, Tito is the fry flingin’ burger bandit who runs the Shore Shack with Ray(mundo). He’s always quick to offer the kids “useful” advice and is very eager to listen and help everyone he comes across. His teddy bear-like stature makes him easily approachable, and rumor has it that his burgers are worth missing the incoming swells. [Best leader trait: Compassion]

                                  It was tough to narrow it down to 15, as there were a lot of solid characters that lead me through my childhood. I’m curious to hear what you think. Who did I miss?

                                  Featured photo credit: Cartoon Collage/@WeAre90sKids via twitter.com

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                                  Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                                  How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

                                  How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

                                  Whether you saw it coming or not, getting fired is a real shock and its impact is daunting. What did you do wrong? What are you supposed to do next? When will you stop feeling so angry?

                                  But there are ways to deal with a layoff.

                                  The most important thing is to remain calm and see it as an opportunity to reflect, change and improve. This is a great time to consider what happened, look again at your needs and desires and start afresh on a stronger, more constructive basis.

                                  Let’s take a look at how you can bounce back gracefully after getting fired.

                                  1. Deal with the Shock of Getting Fired

                                  To lose your job is to lose your identity as a worker and as a person. Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, states that 7 out of 10 of us define ourselves by our job titles, since work is where we spend the majority of our time and energy.

                                  Being laid off affronts your sense of self-worth—it implies that you simply are not good enough. It’s no wonder you feel confused and emotional.

                                  The first thing, then, is to take some time to digest what happened and deal with the overflow of sensations. People who quickly recover from the pain of a job loss tend to do two things very well:

                                  First, they accept their feelings of sadness, anger, fear and shame as a part of the natural healing process.

                                  Second, they do their complaining to a friend.

                                  Never call out your boss in the office or on social media. It’s a bad form to speak ill of the company you work for. Stay stylish, and your employer will speak better of you when you need a reference.

                                  2. Stay Away from the Drama Queens

                                  Mass layoffs are, unfortunately, very common. If this is your situation, then you may be surrounded by a lot of angry people, ruminating and lamenting their fate.

                                  “It’s not fair!” they say. “After everything we did for this company! We don’t deserve this!”

                                  You’ve lost your job and that’s tough. But please resist the urge to join in the negativity. Positivity is by far the most important attitude to apply right now. If staying upbeat means you have to limit your exposure to the Negative Nellies, then that’s what you have to do.

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                                  Remember, life is not harder for you than it is for other people on this planet. You live in a democracy, you have freedom of choice and you enjoy a certain material abundance.

                                  Stay positive and focus on what’s going well in your life and the exciting future opportunities available to you. Getting fired is only a temporary setback.

                                  Staying positing could be challenging in a difficult situation, so these tips can help:

                                  10 Questions To Ask Yourself To Stay Positive When Facing Difficulties

                                  3. Take a Break and Let the Dust Settle

                                  Instead of running straight into another job that may not be the right one either, take a short break to recover from the job loss. You need a week or two to de-stress and meditate on the next step.

                                  Be attentive to your need for self-care during this interlude. Everything goes so fast these days that we often do not stop to think or give ourselves the permission to do a little mourning.

                                  Getting fired is a big shock: you need time to refocus and take stock of the new reality. Do not make things harder for yourself!

                                  What you need is to pause a while and do some self reflection:

                                  How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

                                  4. Be Anchored in the Present

                                  Since you no longer have a hold on the past, but have not yet designed your future, try to build yourself up with the present. What do we mean by that?

                                  We mean that right now is the only time you have any control over. Focus on that instead of losing yourself in memories or reliving the awful day you got fired over and over in your head.

                                  Get up at 7 a.m. each day, whatever happens. The body needs rhythm and habits. You will feel much more energized if you keep a consistent routine. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, revisit your budget, play sports, volunteer. Take care of the practical stuff like claiming unemployment. Enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life.

                                  When you’re busy, there’s no room for the inner critic to raise up and derail you. Keep active, and you will gain more of the precious energy you need so much to move forward.

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                                  Try these things to help you live in the moment:

                                  34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment

                                  5. Understand the “Why”

                                  There are lots of reasons why people are fired. Sometimes the mistake is yours and it’s embarrassing to admit you backed yourself into this corner.

                                  Other times, it’s not your fault. Businesses change direction all the time—maybe yours is going through a major transition or merger and your job is disappearing.

                                  Either way, to give the situation some closure, you need to understand why you were dismissed. What slipped? What could you have done differently? Was your boss really out to get you or did you do something to put your job in jeopardy?

                                  Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy to admit that you might have dropped the ball but it’s the only way to turn the situation into a learning experience. Ask yourself:

                                  What skills do you need to improve?

                                  Is there training you can access, or learning you can do?

                                  In the end, did this job suit you that much? Were you happy there?

                                  Reflecting on these questions can help you put things into perspective. What lessons can you learn to avoid reproducing the same pattern in your next job?

                                  6. Find out If You Were the Right Fit

                                  Hiring decisions ultimately come down to personality. You can study for an interview all you like, but every candidate who is chosen for interview has the right credentials for the job.

                                  The final decision comes down to personality. Who does the recruiter like the best? Who is a better fit for the company culture? That’s the person who strikes it lucky.

                                  Firing decisions are based on personality, too. Slacking off, insubordination and playing fast and loose with the company rules—these are the official reasons why people are getting fired.

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                                  But all of these reasons boil down to one thing: personality. Specifically, they signal a personality clash between an employee and a manager, or an employee’s fit with the company’s culture.

                                  Here’s an example:

                                  Suppose you were fired for “not being a team player.” Some people, namely introverts, lose energy when they are surrounded by other people and gain energy when they are on their own. Forcing an introvert to continuously work on a busy, noisy team without any solitary rest periods means the job is a mission impossible. This employee will never perform at her best.

                                  Or how about the time the Kansas City Star newspaper fired Walt Disney for a perceived lack of imagination? Talk about a clash of personalities![1]

                                  Getting fired can be a signal to turn inward and do some self-reflection so you can better understand your personality and how it might fit in with corporate culture.

                                  In particular, personality assessments based on Isabel Briggs Myers’ sixteen personality types can help you to understand your own work style and how you can find a job and workplace that better match who you truly are.

                                  In many cases, it is totally liberating to realize that all the crap you had to deal with was just down to a clash of work styles and not something you did wrong!

                                  7. Rediscover Your Strengths and Talents

                                  A personality test can also give you clear insights into your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and work potential. Do you have leadership abilities? How do you communicate and manage conflict? What benefits do you add to an organization?

                                  Identifying your working style should be your top priority right now, otherwise you risk accepting a new position that has all the same problems as before. The last thing you want is to reproduce the same old dramas the next time around.

                                  When you become aware of your potential, you will have the confidence to search and find the type of work you love.

                                  For example, getting fired from your banking job may have knocked you sideways. But you have some stellar home decorating skills, and a personality test shows that you are curious, flexible, rational and resilient—all the traits of successful entrepreneurs. Maybe this dismissal is an opportunity to launch the business you’ve always dreamed of but never dared to admit to yourself?

                                  By considering all your special skills and talents, you increase your chances of finding a job you would really enjoy, and not just the one you can do.

                                  8. Get the Word Out

                                  At this point, you should be ready to take action and move forward with your job search. Let’s not sugarcoat the situation: getting a new job is tough. It helps to have a clear idea of the direction you want to go in, a list of all your crossover skills and a freshly polished resume.

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                                  Look around for inspiration. Talk to recruiters in your sector to establish what they consider to be your most valuable skills. Use all the resources at your disposal: job search agencies, headhunters, work coaches, careers websites and so on. These resources can help you match your qualifications to the job requirements and ensure you have the right keywords on your resume.

                                  Don’t hold back on marshaling your networks. Put friends and family to work to pop up leads, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Sometimes the simple act of getting the word out to the people who know you is the surest way to find work fast.

                                  9. Anticipate Questions and Know How to Answer Them

                                  Even if it wasn’t your fault, getting fired can hurt you if you don’t know how to explain why you were let go. You have to be honest here and tell recruiters the truth. Even if a would-be employer does not specifically ask why you left your previous job, it is better to clarify the situation upfront before it comes out in your references.

                                  The best approach is to take your share of responsibility and show that you want to go forward and that you understand the lesson.

                                  For example, suppose you got fired for asking the difficult questions that no one wanted to answer and your candidness set people on edge. Acknowledge that some people perceive your communication style as abrupt and explain how you’re taking steps to increase your diplomacy skills.

                                  A recruiter can be seduced by someone who knows how to evolve and who shows a great energy for personal development.

                                  10. Adapt and Persist

                                  Throughout this journey, you inevitably will go through moments of self-doubt and disappointment. There are undulations in every road, and these are the normal steps for regaining self-confidence after getting fired.

                                  Stay tough! Don’t conclude that your future is hopeless just because the dream job doesn’t land straightaway. You open a positive path when you maintain focus. Have the confidence to know that the perfect job for you is out there.

                                  Remember, you are not alone. Many people walked this road and they would urge you to keep the momentum. Stay open-minded and go where the opportunities take you: it will bring you closer to the job you really want.

                                  Coming Out on Top

                                  While getting fired isn’t the ideal situation, it isn’t the end of the world either. Even if feels like a doozy right now, you will get through it and emerge happier on the other side.

                                  Be clear on what you want, have courage and believe in yourself. In the end, you may decide that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to you. It can be the catalyst for a powerful, career-fulfilling change.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Jesus Kiteque via unsplash.com

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