DiCaprio's year, for The Revenant, or if newcomer
Brie Larson, in Room , will trump perennial favorite
Cate Blanchett for the latter's role in Carol. What I
can tell you is that people are inspired by movies
and jazzed by Hollywood's award season. But
what does that have to do with business?
The answer: inspiration. Where do your business
ideas come from? From a variety of sources, I bet.
Whether it's a personal experience, a business
experience, a billboard you saw when you were
driving down the road or something your
significant other said at the grocery store:
Inspiration comes from a wide variety of sources.
So, whether you feel like "the king of the world," or
believe that you "could've been a contender" or
consider that you should "always be closing":
Entrepreneurs can draw a lot from movies. And as
we approach Hollywood's biggest night, the
Academy Awards, here are a few movie lines that
have inspired me throughout my own career:
1. 'The Godfather' (Best Picture, 1972)
"Great men are not born great, they grow great."
Isn't that the truth! No one is born with massive
amounts of knowledge.
If you're smart enough, you acquire some of that knowledge along the way.
If you're one of those people who think they know it all, I've got
news for you: You don't! That is the first
obstacle you must overcome, your own arrogance.
Throughout my career, I've been called pig-headed,
even irrational, but I haven't been bothered by it. In
fact, I've welcomed it. Why? Because I've been
smart enough to learn a few things along the way
and use that knowledge to grow.
As a young entrepreneur being shown the ranks, I
sat in meetings where my boss would say things
like, "Because it's always been done that way." If
you expect to be in business a long time, this is
one surefire way to cut that shelf life short. And it's
not a good mentality to have if you want to grow
and be great. Nothing beats experience.
2. 'All the King's Men' (Best Picture,
"To find something, anything, a great truth or a lost
pair of glasses, you must first believe there will be
some advantage in finding it."
"Advantage" is the basis of any entrepreneur. The
road to entrepreneurship is paved with roadblocks
and potholes galore. We all know that, but one
thing we entrepreneurs have in common is the
belief that we will find success.
We have this dream of the company that we want
to build and shape. We have a vision, and we'll
work ourselves to exhaustion trying to make our
dream a success, regardless of what the
naysayers say (because they will say something
about why you won't succeed).
You will find that your business success will not
come from any trophies or titles. It will come as a
reflection of your truth. Your vision becoming a
reality will be the measure of your success, and
throughout this process you must stay true to who
What made you become an entrepreneur in the first
place? Let that serve as your true north. Being
authentic is the key to success -- it has been for
me. That and my belief that I can make a living
doing something I love doing..
3. 'Rocky' (Best Picture, 1977)
"Nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it ain't
how hard you can hit. It's how hard you can get hit
and keep moving forward. It's how much you can
take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning
You just read that quote in Sly Stallone's voice,
didn't you? That's okay. I did too. Rocky is
speaking some truths here. Life is hard enough as
it is, but there will come a time where life will
knock you flat on your rear end. You must get back
up! You must!
Life as an entrepreneur can be lonely. Not everyone
will understand your drive, your vision or your
passion. There will even be times where there
won't be anyone in sight to help you up after life
has knocked you down. In my own life, one of my
biggest business "knock-downs" involved
Those stupid birds taste delicious but have got to
be some of the stupidest birds on the planet. I love
pheasant, love hunting them, so at first I thought,
What could go wrong? After all, I am passionate
about this venture, and I'm pretty good at business.
Little did I know that a prairie storm would wipe
away my newest venture.
In fact, the pheasants huddled together
and drowned in the storm. And I lost everything.
Needless to say, the true takeaway here is that,
when life knocks you down, you should get up and
hit it back harder. Just don't expect soaring music
when you run up the steps of the Philadelphia
Museum of Art
4. 'Million Dollar Baby' (Best Picture,
"It's the magic of risking everything for a dream
that nobody sees but you."
Once again, the life of an entrepreneur can be
lonely. You have your dream and vision, but there
are people who are incapable of visualizing your
dream or are so jealous of your success that they
will plant seeds of doubt in your head.
Don't let them.
Haters are gonna hate, so let them! People
will tell you how you should do things.
Tell 'em to shut up! Write your own story. If
others want to write a story, let them write their
Your business will need to reflect your vision, not
anyone else's. So, stop listening to other voices if
you want to be the best "you" possible. It's your
dream, your vision.
5. 'Lawrence of Arabia' (Best Picture,
"Big things have small beginnings, sir."
Don't ever think you're too big for your britches.
When you give yourself the title of "CEO," that
doesn't mean you're not going to end up cleaning
your own bathroom or taking out the trash.
If you're not willing to do something, how can you
ask your team to do that same thing?
As CEO of a company, big or small, it can be really
easy to lose perspective and let our titles define us.
A CEO cleaning his/her own bathroom? Unheard of
in some cases. However, I see it as a positive.
Why? It keeps entrepreneurs grounded.
For me, humble work reminds me that I come from
humble beginnings and that I need to be able to do
everything I can for my company to succeed. It
also allows me to stay connected, in some visceral
way, to all aspects of my business.
can be a lonely island of entitlement, and you must
find that balance between pushing forward and
While I encourage everyone to
"think big," I also warn, "Don't become too
That can be a major turn-off for many.
What movie inspires you to forge ahead? Which
one dared you to put into motion your dream of
becoming an entrepreneur? One thing is for sure:
Nothing will happen if you don't at least attempt to
get things started. As Master Yoda said, "Do or do
not. There is no try."