Monday, March 1, 2021

Story of Hard Work, Creativity, and Embracing Change

Feb. 16, 2021 marked the 25-year anniversary of one of the greatest entrepreneurial stories of my generation. 

Our entrepreneur’s story begins as most successful entrepreneur’s stories do — with heartbreak. After years of tireless practice and dedication to his craft, bordering on obsession, he is told that his effort and energy, while appreciated, are misplaced. To make matters worse, his significant other leaves him, staying long enough to berate him about his future (or lack thereof). Shortly after, he undergoes a family tragedy due to mismanagement of finances, which leaves our entrepreneur, a hothead to begin with, extremely emotionally unstable.

In an effort to cool off and dig his family out of financial ruin, our entrepreneur tries his hand at something new and, in doing so, finds that he has a unique talent. Initially, he peddles his talent in his neighborhood — turning his talent into small profits, one customer at a time. He meets a mentor, who helps him hone his skills and encourages him to go after bigger profits by disrupting the current market. Our entrepreneur enters the market and is immediately (as most disrupters are) shunned by his more established and stuck-in-their-ways competition.

But a funny thing happens: our entrepreneur’s presence in the market attracts new customers, inspired by our entrepreneur’s different approach to the business. Despite the market growth, his competition isn’t happy — they’re jealous of our entrepreneur’s popularity but also dissatisfied with the new customers’ demand for change in the market. In an effort to snuff out our entrepreneur’s success, his competition complains to the regulators — who eventually suspend our entrepreneur, barring him from the market temporarily.

With his family’s financial future in jeopardy, our entrepreneur pivots once more, partnering with an established brand for an extremely profitable advertising deal. The partnership gives our entrepreneur just enough to survive his suspension and he negotiates with the regulators to reenter the market under severe sanctions. Despite all the odds being against him, our entrepreneur once again makes it to the top of his field, battling physical injury and massive obstacles on his way to cementing himself as the top player in the market. 

Okay, that’s enough . . . 

If you couldn’t tell from the impossibly vague description of our “entrepreneur” above (or if you haven’t been on social media recently), Feb. 16 marked the 25th anniversary of one of the seminal movies of my childhood. Yes, while is not the most thought-provoking movie of all time and not (technically) about entrepreneurship, Happy Gilmore is a story of hard work, creativity, and the ability to embrace change — all characteristics the most noble of entrepreneurs embrace. So, when faced with the obstacles, which inevitably arise while building a business, just ask: What would Happy do? 

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