A Victorian Era Female Detective Reminds Us of Some Important Truths.

Sarah Deane: Founder MEvolution
6 min readOct 18, 2022

No, (sadly) I did not manage to go back in time and chat with a female detective in the Victorian era. However, I have been enjoying season two of Miss Scarlet and the Duke, which is set in Victorian era London, featuring the first-ever female detective Miss Scarlet (Eliza) who is headstrong, ambitious, compassionate, and will stop at nothing to keep her father’s business running after his passing.

Of course, I have a nostalgic fondness for Victorian England having attended many Victorian themed evenings during Christmas time growing up. As I watched, I noticed time-and-time again some powerful dialogue that serves as great reminders for all of us. While the fictional characters are portraying a much different time, the topics they spoke to could have come from the numerous employees we work with today, across all levels of organizations, who are trying to be more energized, fulfilled, feel good, and thrive. Here are a few!

1: “You know who you are…I call that freedom indeed.”

Season Two, Episode One.

To give context, in this conversation between Hattie (the niece of another character) and Eliza, the important reminder of the power of authenticity and the freedom it affords is brilliantly captured.

Hattie: So, it would be easier if my aunt approved of you.

Eliza: I have no need nor desire for your aunt’s approval.

Hattie: You are so lucky. You have such freedom.

Eliza: How did you come to that conclusion?

Hattie: You know who you are and what you want. Many may not approve, but you simply do not care. I call that freedom indeed.

This topic recently came up at an event I was speaking at. A member of the audience asked how I could be so confident. I didn’t have to think much about my answer. It is the same reason that, for me, this quote from the show deeply resonates. It is precisely the freedom I feel from knowing who I am, or in our world of personal energy management, living in congruence to my personal core values, and a firm belief in my mission, that affords a level of confidence in my thoughts, actions, words and presence.

Our values provide us a compass and a way to make choices and decisions that we can feel confident in. When you show up true to your personal values, you will find that you don’t tend to feel badly about a situation and that you have clarity and conviction in your words.

While many know that being true to yourself and having a sense of who you are is beneficial, we can see from a recent set of results (over 300 responses from the Energy Management Quotient evaluation) that nearly two thirds of employees could better understand or live in accordance with their personal core values.

You can start exploring your own values by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Which traits do I admire in others and dislike in others?
  • Which behaviors make me feel positively and which make me feel negatively?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • How do I want people to think about me?

2: “…freedom to make my own decisions…is everything to me.”

Season Two, Episode One.

In a conversation between Eliza and William (otherwise known as Detective Inspector Wellington at Scotland Yard, aka The Duke), she talks about the power of choice.

Eliza: My freedom to make my own decisions and to choose the work I wish to take is everything to me.

Control plays a critical role in how we feel. When we feel the outcomes in our lives are out of our control it can lead to a lack of motivation or even feelings of hopelessness. However, it is a fine line, as a need for control can also be detrimental in navigating situations and challenges given the flexibility that is needed in the volatile and uncertain world we live in. Understanding your true points of control and influence, and embracing what you truly don’t control, enables a much more positively energized state of mind and being.

We can see from our data that just 38% of employees feel that they are truly able to make decisions that affect their work. Creating encouraging environments to voice ideas, soliciting and addressing employee feedback (especially regarding their goals and objectives and how they can best be reached), placing importance on outcomes and allowing for flexibility in how goals are reached, all enables employees to feel more ownership over their roles and responsibilities and can enable them to feel more engaged in the work they do. Of course, there are times when decisions have to be made. In these circumstances, clear, transparent and timely communications are key, along with two-way conversations and letting employees know any next steps or how they can be supported given the decision and how it impacts them.

The next time you feel at the mercy of external forces, you can start by asking yourself:

  • What do I control in achieving the outcome?
  • What do I truly not control in achieving the outcome?

And if you are a manager, perhaps try asking your employees:

  • How they feel about their goals and objectives
  • How they feel an outcome can best be reached
  • What they feel the roadblocks to success are

3: “You need to start fitting in.”

Season Two, Episode Five.

In a scene between Detective Inspector Wellington (The Duke) and a young detective named Oliver Fitzroy, who had been forced into his position by his father (who happened to be the Police Commissioner), they touched on authenticity and the pressure people feel to fit in.

Detective Inspector Wellington: So, you need to start fitting in.

Detective Fitzroy: Where are you going?

Detective Inspector Wellington: I’m just making the point. Go to the pub with them…The more you are an outsider, the weaker you will be…Show them you can be one of the lads, eh.

Whether it’s dressing a certain way, biting your tongue, agreeing with something you may not really agree with, or acting in a way that is not true to you, trying to fit in can impact your wellbeing and self-esteem. This can play out at work too. For example, working through lunch because that’s “the thing to do”.

From our data, we can see that over half of respondents do not feel that they can show up true to how they are really feeling or want to be. This is a massive energy sinkhole. It costs so much energy to be anything other than ourselves. Continuously wearing masks and costumes is simply fatiguing.

Allowing people to feel safe to bring all of themselves and their true selves to the table, as well as supporting people in their personal growth and self-confidence, can empower increased diversity and better wellbeing.

You can start exploring by asking yourself:

  • How do I feel I should show up? It can be helpful to reflect on times where you have felt “off”, uncomfortable, or even resentful.
  • Why do I feel I should show up this way?
  • If I had no fear, how would I show up?

In Summary…

What’s the common thread in all three cases? Well, to live a life of serenity, fulfillment, and success, human behavior is a critical component. If you find that your behaviors and mindset do not support you being who you want to be, then perhaps it’s time to make a change. For it is your patterns of thought and habits that will enable you to show up in this world as the person you want to be and create the impact you want to have.

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Sarah Deane: Founder MEvolution

Energizing souls by relinquishing blockers, reclaiming mental capacity, restoring energy, and redefining human potential. www.JoinTheMEvolution.com