What I Learned About Business From Lord Of The Rings
I grew up reading works of J.R.R. Tolkien and his tales of Middle Earth. Those stories formed some of the fundamental ways I look at life. No, I don’t think there are orcs running around wanting to take over the world of Men, but I do think there are some very good lessons that can be applied to your business. What? You don’t think Dwarves, Elves, and Hobbits can offer excellent business advice? You’d be wrong! There is a lot these mythical creatures can offer you in your very “real world” business. Here are five lessons learned from Professor Tolkien.
I would never suggest doing anything unethical in business, because it will always come back to bite you, but, just like Frodo and Sam (and Bilbo from the Hobbit), you sometimes have to do things that you are uncomfortable in doing. This can be going for a loan from the bank, telling a client or customer “no”, or having to let someone go. It’s a rough situation, but you have to do what is best for your business.
One of the most important things you can do in business is to associate yourself with experts in things that you have you clueless. Just like Frodo couldn’t have taken the Ring into Mordor or fight off the Nazgûl (Ring-Wraiths) alone - you need to surround yourself with people who can help you to succeed. You can’t do it by yourself. You need the right kind of help, be it from an accounting wizard or skilled marketing warrior.
Bilbo, Frodo, and the other Hobbits didn’t realize there was a life beyond the Shire. They “knew” other people were doing big things, but they never saw themselves in the same position. It took a life changing event for them to take the first step out the door of that Hobbit Hole. Are you doing the same thing? Have you failed to even start a business? If you are working for yourself, are you holding yourself back because you are a “little person” incapable of doing great things? Nonsense! Just look what those little Hobbits did and know you can do the same!
Frodo took the One Ring to the very edge of Mount Doom, but he almost didn’t destroy it. It had seduced him with its power and only Gollum was able to break him from the spell by biting off his finger and fighting for the ring. You should never have to go to these lengths to end a dying endeavor in your business. Just because you own a cleaning business, doesn’t mean your career is over should you suddenly fall on hard times. Don’t make someone push you to get rid of your ring (failing business). First and foremost, you are an entrepreneur. The business you have can be let go and you can pick up again.
Above all else, you need to follow through. If your goal is to be a successful business person - no matter what - follow through. If things seem impossible, you can do it as long as you have a guide or a map to get you there. Have a plan. Follow it. If an obstacle jumps in your way, adapt to the situation and keep your eye on the prize - or Ring, as this case may be.
This article was first published by James Fowler at FellowshipoftheRing.org.