Back to the Future: Re-Entry Advice from Doc Brown

I was recently paging through my childhood photo albums and came across some photos from a family vacation to California back in the 80s. At the time, I was fifteen and the hit movie Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox, had just released. 

Marty McFly became a household name.

Skateboards were cool.

Everybody knew what a Flux Capacitor was.

DeLoreans were the cars kids dreamed of owning.

And Doc Brown’s advice of being prepared for re-entry made sense. We could only imagine what life would be like in 2015. 

Well, 2015 has come and gone. And here we are in the “future” chaos of 2020. For many of us it is time for re-entry after quarantining for months. For some, it means heading back into an office or group setting, but with protocols and guidelines and regulations in place. You may find yourself heading into yet another (I know, words you’ve heard a lot lately) “new normal.” 

“Sounds pretty heavy.”

“Is there a problem with Earth’s gravitational pull in the future? Why is everything so heavy?”

—Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future

Re-entry can be hard—or heavy. Even though we want to get back to business as usual and tend to our regular tasks and schedules, it isn’t that easy. Just like Marty McFly had to adjust after heading back from his visit to 1955, we have to adjust after quarantining. As employers. As employees. As leaders. As humans.

We may not have all the answers, and we definitely cannot predict the future, but we can consider some of the leadership lessons (and life lessons!) Doc taught us in the movie—and apply them to our clients, customers, coworkers, friends and family members. 

  1. Be thoughtful, flexible, patient, and look out for the people you care about. That’s the Power of Love. 
  1. Change is disorientating. Time travel left Marty McFly in a daze, wondering what had just happened. Where was he? What was going on? You and your team may feel unsure and have lots of questions during re-entry.
  1. Clear communication is vital, especially in “heavy” times. A clarifying conversation can help things feel a bit lighter.
  1. Don’t rule out people who think differently than you do. Sure, Doc was a mad scientist who stole plutonium from rebels and built a garbage-guzzling time machine out of a car. But Doc had a heart of gold and cared deeply about his friend Marty, and Marty’s future.
  1. Stuff happens. In the movie, a falling branch nearly ruined Doc’s plan to get Marty back to 1985. Try as you might, you cannot control everything, so seek a level of acceptance of what you cannot control and use your best judgment and take appropriate action when possible.
  1. Brilliant ideas can come from out of hardships. Do you remember how Doc thought of the Flux Capacitor? He fell off of a toilet. And then he drew up plans for the Flux Capacitor. His fall was the catalyst for his greatest invention.
  1. Be willing to ask for help. Just like Doc Brown needed Marty’s help at the Twin Pines Mall, you don’t need to do this alone. 
  1. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.

Looking toward the future? Motivational keynote speaker Kelly Radi has added virtual presentations as an option for you to help the people in your organization stay positive and productive during this time—and in the future! Call Kelly today to see how she can motivate, validate and inspire your team. 320-291-2327

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.