Boxing movies provide plenty of inspiration. The other day, I went to see "Creed II," starring Michael B. Jordan and with Sylvester Stallone in the famed role of Rocky Balboa.

I sat through the film riveted as it took me on an emotional roller coaster. But about three-quarters of the way through, the characters started dropping quotes that were so powerful, I felt compelled to write them down.

The simple sentences uttered in the last few acts of the movie were gems that every entrepreneur should embrace on the journey to building a business that thrives over the long-term. Here are five of them.

1. "If you want to change things in a big way, then you gotta make some big changes."

Most business owners get started with a vision of making a big impact both on the customers they serve and within their industry. The challenge is that many leaders begin with this intention, then quickly fall into the trap of engaging in activities and strategies that are only slightly different versions of what already exists.

If you want to ditch the status quo and shake things up, you can't approach business in the same way as the masses. That may mean you've got to challenge the way you currently operate if you want to see significantly different results. 

Moving to Argentina provided a new set of challenges that has altered my perspective on many fronts that have shaped the way I approach my work in a unique way. For instance, operating in a language that is not my native tongue and learning and adapting to a new set of cultural norms have made me more empathetic and culturally intelligent.

2. "Adonis Creed is standing up to the awesome power of Victor Drago."

Sometimes, as you're working to build your business, it can be intimidating to compete in the same market as behemoth companies that already have a stronghold with the customers you want to serve. But just because you're a competitor is bigger than you, doesn't mean you can't win. 

To do that, you'll have to play your own game. You'll have to identify your unique strengths and uncover holes in the way other players in your market operate to determine the optimal game plan.

I often find that smaller companies have the benefit of agility and customer intimacy that larger companies struggle with. When you find a valuable skill that provides an unfair advantage for you, be sure to exploit it. Especially when going against a powerful competitor.

3. "I don't think Drago has anything left but he is refusing to give up."

Building a business is about playing the long game. Sure, most of us would like success to come swiftly and never leave. But in many instances, you will have to put your head down and do the work, often in obscurity, for longer than you'd prefer.

When you can see the goal you're trying to achieve in the distance, you will have to dig deep to find the energy to keep showing up and fighting to make your dream your reality.

Giving up, especially when you're in the middle of a tough fight, may seem like a viable option to stop the pain associated with your journey. Know that you are stronger than you think, and there will be more profound rewards for pushing through your temporary discomfort to keep fighting.

4. "It's okay."

"Creed II" is a movie about boxing, so someone has to lose a fight. As you work to build your business, know that failures are inevitable along the way, and when they do occur, internalize the fact that it is ok.

Jeff Bezos notes that failure plays a major role in the success of Amazon:

One area where I think we are especially distinctive is failure. I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins.

Failures pave the way to future success. If you let them, they provide the clues you need to make the necessary adjustments to obtain a better outcome the next time you attempt a project.

5. "I did it because it was my fight. And when I stepped into the ring, it wasn't just about me."

Your business isn't just about you and the prestige and financial benefits it can provide you and your family. Business is about belonging. It is about transformation. It is about making life better for the people you serve.

Remember what you are fighting for as you work to build a business that thrives. Consider that the work you do with your company will have a ripple effect that will impact the lives of the people your business touches both near and far.

Published on: Nov 26, 2018
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