This is the second episode in a short series on lessons we can learn from movies. If you missed the first one, you can find it here.

I was 13 when I first read The Lord of the Rings and was captivated by J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing. The character that I always loved most was Samwise Gamgee – Frodo’s most loyal friend and companion. He was just like me – ordinary, unheroic, simple. But fiercely loyal and generous – full of wonder and hope. This short scene here sums up Sam and his relationship with Frodo and is at the very heart of who he is and the core message of the books as a whole.

It’s interesting to note in this, the centenary year of the outbreak of The Great War, Tolkien based the character of Sam on common soldiers that he had known during the war, men who kept their courage and stayed cheerful when there was not much reason to hope. Tolkien’s experience of war left him with “a deep sympathy and feeling for the ‘tommy’, especially the plain soldier from the agricultural counties.”(The Shire). You can read more on this here.

But what’s my point? Well, it’s simple really. Who is your Sam? In both life and business we experience times where we carry great burdens. It may be an illness in the family or the business is going through a lean time. It may be there are situations that we’re wrestling with, or someone close to us is having a rough time. Now, as much as we would love to give our burdens to others we know this cannot be the case.

But that does not mean we have to carry them alone.

Sam cannot carry the ring for Frodo (for that burden is Frodo’s to bear) but he can carry Frodo.

So who will walk with you when the world is at its blackest and the burden seems too heavy? It’s all too easy to think we can’t share our troubles but I have found that folk get cross with me when I don’t ask for help, or keep my troubles to myself. I’ve just come back from another inspirational Vibrant Network meeting where the speaker, Dawn, was sharing her very powerful story. And her message? Find people to carry you as you carry your heavy load.

One very short story to end: several months ago the business was going through a very challenging time. There was almost no money in the bank and the pipeline had dried up totally. My wife and I had recently had our third child and things were stressful. I turned up at┬áVibrant one Wednesday morning ready to be my usual cheerful self but didn’t have the energy. So in my 60 Seconds I stood up and told everyone what I was going through. The support in that room was incredible. Words of encouragement and wisdom came from every corner of the room and I left the room buoyed up and motivated to stick my head above the parapet once more. Over the next few days these guys kept checking up on me and within a couple of weeks the corner was turned and we were back on track. And all because I had the courage to be honest with myself and my colleagues and ask for help as I carried my burden.

So, when the chips are down, who will you ask to be your Samwise Gamgee?