This article was last updated on May 31, 2015
I’ve always been fascinated by the success of other people. Whether in work or play, there’s something captivating about a dedicated and successful person. Whether it’s an athlete, a business owner or an student, there’s a drive that unites them and motives those around them that can’t be stopped.
A friend of mine, Leah Rise, told me that “Losing the fear of failure allows success to shine.”
What I find most fascinating is that if you follow the footsteps of the most successful ones, they’re all familiar – regardless of what someone is ‘successful’ in. Take Katniss Everdeen the main character in The Hunger Games Book Series, for example. She happens to be brilliant at surviving, it’s incredible how those lessons can apply to just about any situation where you’re trying to be ‘the best.’
9 Tips for Entrepreneurs From Katniss Everdeen
1. BEND THE RULES
Katniss Everdeen has spunk, nobody could deny that. We repeatedly see Katniss refusing to blindly follow rules. I’m not saying you need to break actual laws to start a business but you could bend the rules of expectation. Make sure to ask questions and know why these ‘rules’ are in place. Sometimes rules simply need to be broken, learn which ones and do it with caution.
2. KNOW WHEN TO GO FOR THE KILL
Nobody gets to the top or succeeds without stepping on a few toes along the way. It’s about navigating which toes are ok to step on and which ones to avoid. The idea of killing her fellow tributes is abhorrent to Katniss. But when Peeta’s life is ending and the only way to save him is killing another, she doesn’t hesitate to draw the bow and aim the fatal arrow into Cato’s skull. In starting a business, you can find yourself saddled with a bad partner or employee and knowing when to let that person go will be vital to the success of your business.
3. MAKE SACRIFICES
Now perhaps the business sacrifices you will make isn’t quite as dramatic as when Katniss volunteered herself as tribute to protect her sister, but the lesson is the same. In running a business, sacrifices are a necessary evil; from time away from the family to withholding your own paycheck if needed, sacrifices will be made. Katniss knew that Prim wouldn’t survive and so she made a gut decision, something a strong business owner is all too familiar with.
4. FORM ALLIANCES
Katniss started the games with the intention of being on her own. She hoped she wouldn’t be the one to have to kill Peeta, or any tribute, yet she wanted desperately to survive so she could take care of her mother and sister. Know when to ask for help and be careful and thoughtful with the people you partner up with. Make sure that the benefits are running both ways and that the end result benefits you and your company significantly.
5. DEFY THE ODDS
Good business decisions require putting your business first. At least this is what we’re told. While sacrifice is necessary to start and operate a successful business, the good and right thing to do is help others as well. Defy the odds of success by helping others along the way as well as growing your business. You certainly don’t have to give the competition your secrets but deal with people honestly, kindly and lend a helping hand when needed. This is unexpected in the business world and often gains immense respect. Favors done are often paid back later when needed most. Think of Katniss helping Peeta when she found him in the mud. He was a liability yet invaluable to her a short time later.
Know how to present yourself and your business. You may not have movie star recognition, but if your business is your bread and butter, know how to sell it. Katniss and Peeta would have been dead if they hadn’t followed advice from Haymitch and Cinna. By playing up the ill-fated lover angle, the lifesaving soup arrived on the silver parachute.
7. FOCUS YOUR SKILLSET
Katniss Everdeen’s greatest skill was her ability to hunt. She focused on what she knew how to do even before she took the bow and arrows away from the dead tribute. She understood the woods, recognizing when to hunt, when to rest and when to stay still but alert. Business success is no different. Focus on what you do best and do it. There’s little point in starting a business about something you know nothing of or have no talent to offer. Choose and guide your business with things you are passionate about and know plenty about.
8. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
Katniss found the Capitol’s self-focused indulgent behavior to be disgusting, especially when it came to eating. When she realized they purposely vomited so they could consume for food for nothing more than pleasure, she refused to go along. She didn’t try to please the people and eventually worked with Peeta to show the Capitol the one small part nobody but herself could claim power over. Sometimes, in business, we’re confronted with unsavoury characters or less than stellar business practices. Don’t give in to get along.
9. MIND YOUR EXECUTION
Words spoken cannot be unspoken and actions taken cannot be undone. Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch knew speaking too far out of line could result in execution of themselves or their families. If you find yourself forced to work with somebody particularly horrible, inappropriate and immoral, don’t put up with it. Find a way to distance yourself ASAP! You might just be saving your business as well as your peace of mind.
Overall, the key to survival in the business world is persistence, hard work and decent behavior. Success requires all three in varying quantities. If you get down, refer to Katniss Everdeen’s life. It may be fictional but you cannot deny the inspiration!