I'm not a big movie goer. I don't watch the award shows until after they've aired and I just catch the highlights. However, this year I've been to the movies twice already. Both times to see the same flick: 'The Greatest Showman.'
I'll admit; I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't seen many advertisements and I wasn't at all familiar with the storyline. But after both viewings it was clear, this was a movie every business owner needs to see. Not only because it's uplifting and we could all use a little more of that, but because of the important lessons this story drives home about the life of an entrepreneur.
Here are a few entrepreneurial lessons from "The Greatest Showman:"
1. Dream bigger.
The movie itself is based on the story of P.T. Barnum (played by the incredible Hugh Jackman) and the beginning of the circus. An overriding theme courses through every scene -- dreaming big. Barnum created something the world had never seen before. Like with any great creator of the modern day; Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, had Barnum limited himself to what had already been done, he never would have achieved the success he did.
2. Dream specifically.
To dream big is one thing, to dream specifically is another. Throughout the movie Barnum sets his sights on specific achievements; the business he wants to create, a home he wants to buy, the people he wants to impress. His goals weren't vague, they were extremely specific and offered satisfaction to the audience each time he checked one off.
I don't know about you, but I have big dreams for myself. Where I fall short is the specificity of those dreams. Having a very clear image of your dreams is beneficial not only because it will increase focus, but specific dreams make it easier to determine whether or not the dream was fulfilled.
What, specifically, do you dream for your future? How clear is your picture of what success looks like?
3. Risky business can pay off.
In the movie Hugh Jackman gets a loan from the bank by using false collateral. And while fraud is never the answer, it did get me thinking...
I am one who always plays by the rules. I like to play safe. I avoid risks of all kinds. Looking back on The Greatest Showman, I was forced to ask myself: Are there areas in my business where I play too safe? If, on the fine line between comfort and crazy, I leaned a little more toward crazy, would I accomplish greater things? The Greatest Showman will leave you wondering whose rules you should follow, or if the greatest things come to those who write their own.
4. Let the naysayers be your fuel.
Barnum's immunity to his critics was fascinating. Not only did he not let them get under his skin, he used their words against them. In the movie one critic panned Barnum's show, calling it a "circus," at which point Barnum decided to adopt the word as the name of his business as we know it today.
If you've ever watched celebrities read mean tweets, or if you read the comments on your own YouTube videos, you know how awful the trolls can be. It's one thing to ignore the naysayers, it's another thing to use their hatred as inspiration for your next business move. Barnum chose the latter, you should too.
5. Stay true to what matters most.
When things start moving, it's hard to take your eye off the prize. Orders are coming in, the buzz keeps growing, and you could spend every waking moment locked into doing what is best for the business. The danger, of course, is as the success-tunnel-vision increases, it's easy to lose sight of what else matters in life. Whether that means your health, your family or your relationships, just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, business success at the expense of everything else can cause more harm than good.
Hugh Jackman's journey to discover this in The Greatest Showman, though somewhat predictable, was no less important. So important in fact, I might go see the movie again tonight. And you should too.