Business is a lot like the ocean - scary, competitive but full of opportunity (with a few clown(s) ... fish thrown in for good measure.) Stick with me ... I've watched the fantastic Finding Nemo 2-3 times a day every day without fail for the last few weeks (not by choice). My daughter is obsessed with "Meno" and will take any opportunity to see her favourite clown fish.
After you've watched a film a few dozen times you begin to notice things you perhaps never noticed on the first, second or even third time of watching, for example has anyone noticed the Buzz Lightyear toy in the Dentist's office? Something else I've realised is that Finding Nemo is teaching my daughter some pretty valuable lessons I hope she uses later on in life, lessons that can also be valuable to use as business owners. Here are 5 business lessons that you can learn from "Meno" and his friends:
1. Sometimes you have to take a risk
One of the main focus points of the film is the fact Marlin is very risk averse. Since Coral and the rest of his brood were eaten by the barracuda (brutal), Marlin has spent the rest of his life avoiding risks and subsequently wrapping Nemo up in cotton wool. Regardless of Marlin's aversion to risks, Nemo gets snatched by the Dentist and ends up at P.Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.
Later in the film, Marlin sees the way Crush the Turtle reacts to Squirt (his son) being ejected by the EAC (the East Australian Current), trusting Squirt to "fly solo" which he manages to do no problem. So, what does this teach us in life and business?
It teaches us that we shouldn't always avoid risks. Calculated risks are good and sometimes you just have to "fly solo" and take a risk, it might just pay off. If you fail, you will have learnt a valuable lesson.
2. Be positive
Regardless of the situation, Dory the Blue Tang fish always remains positive, despite Marlin's constant pessimism. It's easy to get down when things aren't going your way, but being pessimistic about the situation won't provide a solution. Dory teaches us that despite everything around you falling apart, you just have to remain positive and "just keep swimming".
3. Good friends are worth their weight in gold
Good friends and clients can be hard to come by, so it's important to value them when you find them. In Finding Nemo, Marlin takes a while to realise what a good friend Dory is, even attempting to carry on alone half way through the film. Dory persists and at the end of the film Marlin realises how invaluable Dory is, even allowing Nemo to risk his life to save her from the fisherman.
The lesson we can learn from this is that sometimes we may take for granted relationships, employees, suppliers and business partners so it's important to appreciate all of the positive points from those relationships.
4. What makes us different is what makes us special
The overriding theme of the film is overcoming perceived weaknesses and embracing what makes us different. Both Nemo and Dory have disabilities (Nemo with his fin and Dory with her short term memory loss), but both don't let it hold them back, you could argue it makes them stronger.
We're all very different as people, and our differences are what makes us unique. Instead of concealing your differences, you should embrace them and understand that they make you stronger and unique!
5. Never give up on what you care about
The final lesson I learnt from Finding Nemo is that you should never give up on anything you care about. This is the same for your business or your career. If you believe in something enough, go out and make it happen. Marlin travelled 1,275 miles from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney in search of his son and successfully saved him from the clutches of an evil dentist (ok maybe not that evil).