In the Words of Yoda

January 06, 2021
Written by: Wendy Mann, CAE, CREW Network CEO

Willrow Hood -

I’ll never forget my first movie at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C. It was the 20th anniversary of the release of Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.  I stood in line with two friends—we all left work early to get good seats. We were “geeking out” about seeing the movie—excited to be taken to a galaxy far, far way—in an iconic theater with exceptional sound and picture quality. As a first timer at the Uptown, I had no reference point, but I took my friends’ word that it would be an experience. And it was. 

I did feel like I was in a galaxy far, far away. The booming sounds of battle, the soaring swoosh of flight and the amazing visual experience felt like I was in the heat of the conflict, as well as the forest, battle station and desert planet. 

One statement in the movie that sticks with me to this day is Yoda’s admonition: “Do or do not, there is no try.” I am reminded of these wise words as we reflect on 2020 and embrace 2021.

Last year did feel like we were living in a galaxy far, far away—or some crazy, alternate universe. There was no “try” in 2020. There was no “do not.” We had to do what was necessary to move through the year and serve our members, clients and communities.

I know each of us has learned a great deal from doing what we had to do.  Like me, many of you are taking away many lessons learned. As the days of the new year begin to swiftly pass by, something Yoda didn’t mention, but is equally as important as we embark on another year of uncertainty, is that we pause and reflect in the days ahead. 

Make quiet time in your day or week to give your mind a chance to reset. The daily grind can become mind numbing. Your number one priority is to stay fresh to face new challenges and be able to “do.” 

Some folks make resolutions every new year. This year, I encourage you to let go of resolving to change something, and instead come up with a mantra for the year. Think of a few words and phrases that capture the spirit of how you want to be in 2021. Create a mantra from those words, put them in a place where you can see them, and always be aware of the philosophy you are embracing for the road ahead.

Finally, there is power in knowing that you have a choice. Yoda said, “Do or do not.” It is your choice. Regardless of the chaos around you, you make the choice of what you do, how you do it and whether you do it. Embrace the power of choosing your attitude, leadership style, collaborations, opportunities and work ethic. 

May the force be with you in this new year as you “do” all the right things while reflecting, embracing your mantra and making powerful choices. 

Happy New Year,


Wendy Mann, CAE

Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.

Twitter: @crew_wendym

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