A Dancing Alligator and the 5 D’s of Owning Your Role

A Dancing Alligator and the 5 D’s of Owning Your Role

Recently someone asked me about my time as a dancer for Disneyland and the part I played there. When I told them I played an alligator in the Very Mickey Christmas Parade, you could see the disappointment on their face as if to say, “Oh, that is not what I was expecting.” I completely understood. Because when I got cast as a dancing alligator from Fantasia, whose dance partner was a hippo, I think I had the same look on my face as they did.

As a little boy watching the Disneyland parades, I dreamed of being a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins or a pirate in Peter Pan. I knew my face or build was not that of a Prince Charming, but as a face character, I could thrill the kids sitting on the sidewalk with a wave or a hardy, “Ahoy!”, as I pointed them out from the Jolly Rodger.

So, when I got the notice at the end of my Disney audition that I would be an alligator, with the equivalent of a sleeping bag pulled upside down over my body and a foam latex head on, I wondered how I would ever really be a part of the Disney magic I dreamed of.

Then I went to Disney University and learned what my role as a cast member was all about.

Simply put, I was to “make it a magical day” for every guest in the park that I would interact with. This gave me a whole new perspective on the character I was cast as. This mindset shift allowed me truly embrace and Own My Role so that I could elevate my impact on those around me.

Diving deep into how I could truly embrace my role as the Alligator, I uncovered some vital insights:

The JOB I was hired for was as a cast member for Disneyland.

My POSITION was as a dancer.

The PART played was that of a Fantasia alligator in the parade.

My TASK was to dance the assigned choreography down the street.

My ROLE (and here is where the mindset really shifted) was to Make it a Magical day.

No matter what my position and tasks were, my ROLE was the most important aspect.

This is the point where many individuals, spanning from leaders to team members, veer off course. Their attention becomes fixated solely on the checklist of duties required to fulfill their job – the mundane Tasks. But here’s the twist: While tasks can often tedious and unexciting, a slight shift in your focus can bring about so much satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. I bet you know where I’m going with this. That’s right! Changing your focus to truly owning your role will turn everything around.

For young Dino, the Aligator, owning my role looked like me dancing down the street and seeing a young person on the sidewalk and walking over to them and giving them a high five. Or when I would point out a kid sitting on their dad’s shoulders and give them an intentional wave.

That connection, or impact, even though my face and entire body were covered up, made all the difference for them…and me!

Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing the 5 D’s of Owning Your Role and highlighting why it’s crucial not just to follow them, but also to consider them in our hiring process.

Together, we’ll dive into the action-packed components of Decide, Design, Determine, Declare, and Deliver. These steps hold the potential to elevate every facet of your business and personal journey. Yeah, you read that right. No, I’m not exaggerating. It might sound bold, but I assure you, it’s true. But I understand that my role is to help you and your team get more out of life. And as I embrace and own my role, I intend to do just that. Stay tuned!

Dino Watt