Whether you're a movie buff or not, it's difficult to escape the chatter surrounding Oscar season. As we approach the 88th Academy Awards, and Leonardo DiCaprio receives his fifth Oscar nomination, DiCaprio fans across the world are crossing their collective fingers, hoping that 2016 is finally the year that the critically acclaimed actor takes home a gold statue for Best Actor. Admittedly, I stand with the crowd that disagrees with the fact that Leo has yet to win an Oscar, considering I probably watched Titanic about 60 times, and my entire bedroom was covered ceiling to floor with Teen Beat posters of that handsome devil when I was 14 (who remembers him as Luke in Growing Pains? #swoon), but I digress! It's hard to argue with a talent that has more than 29 movie roles to his credit, and whether or not you fall into the #TeamLeo category, I believe that all business can learn a thing or two from his acting career:
1. Choose wisely
As an actor that has been in the business since he was a bright-eyed teenager, Leo has built his catalog of roles to showcase his vast acting ability, and now, as a seasoned, highly sought-after actor, he gets to be more selective with the roles he chooses. He's played everything from a corrupt cop in The Departed; twins, King Louis XIV and Philippe in The Man in the Iron Mask; Johnny Depp's developmentally disabled younger brother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape; and a narcissistic, self-indulgent slave owner in Django Unchained. It seems that the longer he is in the business, the more complex and diverse his roles become—likely because he chooses his roles, scripts, and directors wisely.
You may be thinking, "okay, but what does this have to do with me?" Well, I believe that the choices you make for your business—no matter what type of business—should be made wisely. Whether you're a freelance graphic designer, the president of a corporation, a restaurateur, or a salon owner, the choices you make, both from the daily mundane to the larger, more impactful decisions, are vast. You have to choose:
What clients to take on
What employees to hire
What investments to make in equipment, technology, etc.
What aspects of your business to outsource
These small and large decisions should be made with the same thoughtful, meticulous consideration that DiCaprio uses when selecting a role to play.
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2. Support your community
Even though Leo is a movie star with fame, fortune (his movies rake in more than $97 million per film, according to Box Office Mojo), and notoriety, he still uses his celebrity status to support causes and charities that he's passionate about. His foundation focuses on protecting biodiversity, ocean conservation, wildlands conservation, and climate change issues. No matter how successful your business becomes, never forget to give back to your community. And, it doesn't have to cost you a fortune. With something as simple as sponsoring a local youth soccer team, or purchasing ad space in a community program or fundraiser, you can show your customers that you're invested and dedicated to the community, which can be great for business, and it's also good karma!
3. Keep pushing forward
While DiCaprio has been nominated for an Oscar five times to date, and some (ahem, me) would argue that he should have been nominated even more frequently, he has yet to win. But that hasn't stopped him from continuously delivering incredible performances. All businesses experience setbacks at one point or another, but like Leo, you just have to keep pushing forward. Profits decline, star employees resign, and losses occur, but if you're passionate about your business, you have to dust off the disappointment and look to your next "leading role."
I've been a DiCaprio fan for well over a decade and have enjoyed watching his talent shine through his various roles over the years. I hope 2016 is finally his year, and I hope 2016 is your best year in business yet!