If you’ve seen the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz” (the book is very different) then you’re familiar with Dorothy’s journey down the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard.
Dorothy is restless and looking for a place “over the rainbow.” She longs for more than she’s finding on the farm with her aunt and uncle. When her pet, Toto is in danger of being taken away, she runs away to find the other life she’s been dreaming of. Ultimately when the tornado comes up she returns home, only to end up whisked away over the rainbow to the Land of Oz.
In Oz is where the fun begins. She meets Glinda, The Good Witch, The Wicked Witch of the West and the other cast of characters including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion. Dorothy goes through various trials during her journey and even manages to triumph over the Wicked Witch. She then confronts the Wizard – who really has no powers – then finds out from Glinda that she had the power to return home all along.
Dorothy’s journey through Oz reflects our desires to be more and experience more in our lives. She meets the Munchkins – who revere her as their savior – and the Wicked Witch who considers her an enemy. As with our own desires to express more of ourselves in the world, we are similar to Dorothy in that life on the farm is not fulfilling. It seems monotonous and unexciting and hardly a use for our talents and dreams.
When she’s dropped in Oz, the movie is in color – showing how her world has changed completely into something more exciting and unpredictable. However, the Wicked Witch appears to remind her that things will not be easy in this new environment. Her journey will be perilous even with her new companions to accompany her. Oz is considered the end point, the destination and the reward for all of their struggles. They expect that once they arrive there all the answers will be revealed. However, they find that they still have to go back and face the Wicked Witch – face their fears in order to finally be able to obtain their reward.
The catch here is that the Wizard really has no powers – other than smoke and mirrors. He’s a fake; considered a powerful wizard by the citizens of Oz, but having no power to help Dorothy return home. He got to Oz by accident - just as Dorothy did. However, the Wizard does have the insight to recognize that the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and the Lion only need to believe in themselves. They don't really need the qualities they've been searching for - they already have them.
So what can we learn from this wonderful story? Dorothy’s not satisfied with the status quo, so when she ends up in this strange place, she’s ready for adventure. At the same time, just as we don’t see how powerful we really are, neither does Dorothy or her companions. Dorothy believes that the Wizard can help her to return to her home, not realizing she can return at any time simply by clicking her heels together.
Throughout her journey she’s tested and pursued by the Wicked Witch who wants her ruby slippers. In the end she defeats the Witch, who seemed all-powerful and yet was destroyed by water. Then in the end Glinda reveals that Dorothy had the power within to return to her home – power that even the great Wizard didn’t possess.
We may be tested in our pursuit of business success and feel as though we have to find the guru who has the right answer. We may travel through the perilous land of not having enough money, or enough support or not knowing what to do next. We may believe that we have no power or don’t know enough. In the end, it is up to us to believe in ourselves and our vision. What I’ve found is that you can read all of the books, go to seminars and spend thousands of dollars looking for the “answer.” The only thing you will discover is that though you can learn from those who have travelled the road before you, only you can tap into your inner power and manifest your desires.
When we put our trust in wizards and stop listening to our inner guidance, we may never connect with our dreams and express our true selves. In this story, Glinda's role is very similar to that of a coach. She guides Dorothy, yet does not give her the answers - or reveal that the Wizard in not a real wizard. She lets Dorothy discover for herself that she can return home - to her source.
I believe that we each have something to express and share with the world. If we’re not connected to those desires and if we don’t trust ourselves, we may never achieve our dreams. There may be powerful forces that we can tap into and who may help us, but in order to have success we must acknowledge our own power.
In “The Wiz” movie, Lena Horne plays Glinda, The Good Witch and closes the movie with the song, “Believe in Yourself.” (You can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RftcOn83-Xg)
This powerful song totally sums up the story. Your journey may have twists and turns, disappointments and triumphs – but in order to overcome it all acknowledge your power and believe in yourself.
Deborah A. Bailey is author of two non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life .” She's also the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio, a weekly internet talk show. Her fiction work includes a short story collection and a novel, available on Amazon.com.
For more information, visit http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com.