Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was recently released in movie theaters. It has set all sorts of box office records already and will continue selling an unprecedented amount of tickets. Because of the success of this iconic franchise, I figured there had to be some career lessons we can learn from these movies.
Achieving success in your career will not come without ups and downs. Some days success will seem eminent. Other days, it will seem impossible.
One tenet of career success is having an open mind; a willingness to learn — from any source. Any source can even mean fictional movies with make-believe characters.
Following are 4 career lessons we can learn from Star Wars:
Your Impact Can Be Great
George Lucas set the bar high when Episode IV was released in 1977. Before it’s release, the critics were not very positive about the movie. George Lucas knew, however, his movies would have a great impact on people.
He wasn’t trying to win best picture. Instead, he wanted to impact people by entertaining them. And that is what he did.
When I was making Star Wars, I wasn’t restrained by any kind of science. I simply said, ‘I’m going to create a world that’s fun and interesting, makes sense, and seems to have a reality to it.’
For almost 40 years now, the Star Wars franchise has appealed to the masses by entertaining them.
Your impact on the world can also be great because you are great. You are an expert in something and it’s your duty to share that expertise with the world.
Just like Star Wars, you can start small, i.e., the first movie, and start providing value. After you make a small impact with your small start, you can leverage that into having a bigger and better impact on others.
It Takes a Team to Win
Han Solo had a partner in Chewbacca. Luke Skywalker relied on R2-D2 when he crashed on Dagobah. They each had someone to rely on.
In fact, though, it took the entire Rebel force to win. Each of the primary characters in Star Wars had special talents that supported the entire team.
The most successful people in history have learned they can’t achieve success by themselves. It takes teams of people with different talents and abilities to achieve success.
You may like working with others who have your same mindset and tendencies because it is comfortable. If you do that for too long, you’ll realize you are getting nowhere fast because you don’t have every ability you’ll need.
It takes a team of people to make a lasting difference in the world. Isn’t that what you want to achieve through your career?
When Yoda told Luke Skywalker, in The Empire Strikes Back, to raise his crashed fighter from the swamp, Luke responded with “Alright, I’ll give it a try.” Yoda, responds with my favorite movie line of all time.
“No. Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.”
We need to heed Yoda’s advice in everything we do. Saying we will try is limiting our abilities. Trying shows a reservation of doubt of our abilities. We need to just do.
Take this one step further into the religious realm. Jesus, in Matthew 5:37 tells his listeners to answer simply with a “Yes” or “No.” Any other answer than that, He says, comes from the evil one.
In your career, believe you have great abilities and you will accomplish great things. When someone asks you to do something, say “Yes” or “No,” instead of “I’ll try” or “Maybe.”
You are only as good as you believe you are.
It’s Okay to Fail
Darth Vader did not tolerate mistakes of any kind. He expected his followers within the Empire to be perfect. If they made a mistake, he would use the Force to choke them to death.
Hopefully you don’t work for a boss like that.
The Rebel Alliance, however, made many mistakes and lost many battles. That did not cause them to give up or turn on one another. They continued pressing on toward their goal.
We need to do the same thing in our jobs and careers, in fact, in all aspects of our lives.
We’ve all made mistakes and had setbacks but that doesn’t mean we should quit.
Children fail all the time. They fall when they try to walk. They fall when they ride a bike. Imagine if they stopped getting back up and doing it again. We adults forgot how to learn.
We need to remember the importance of learning from failure.
The most important of the career lessons we can learn from Star Wars is…
So far, the Star Wars series has spanned a period of almost 40 years. That’s amazing.
Few movie franchises have been able to survive over that long of a period, much less with as much fanfare as Star Wars continues to have. The only other one I can think of is the James Bond franchise.
Your career is the same. You shouldn’t expect to reach the corner office within the first year in your career. It’s going to take time. Lots of time.
Be patient as your career evolves. Reaching success too quickly would most likely have one of two results: immediate overwhelm or boredom.
Instead of being impatient with your career and always hoping/looking for something more, enjoy each step of your journey.
A career is a journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Question for you: What other career lessons have you learned from any of the Star Wars movies?