As a founder or CEO of a start-up, you’ve probably heard the story of Kung Fu Panda.
It’s an unlikely underdog story about a lazy panda that is reluctantly tasked with saving his village. Achieving this monumental feat requires finding the courage to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and find inner strength as well as external confidence.
I started watching it recently and realized that Kung Fu Panda’s story has a lot in common with the path of many startups on their way to success.
It has some really great life lessons that are broken down into the following seven steps.
1. Choose yourself
- The idea for Kung Fu Panda came to DreamWorks animator Jonathan Aibel because he wanted to create a story that would allow him to demonstrate his drawing skills, which were mostly limited to character designs at that point in his career.
- You might think that your idea is too weird or too niche for people to buy into it. But don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
- Your business can become successful if you choose yourself!
2. Test your skills
- Before Mr. Ping, the owner of the noodle shop in Kung Fu Panda can reveal to his son that he is responsible for raising him; he first has to demonstrate his worthiness by preparing a bowl of noodles worthy of drinking.
- Mr. Ping finds his motivation when he decides to put everything he has into mastering the skill of noodle-making. Mr. Ping begins his journey by going to a noodle conference and exposing himself to as much knowledge as possible.
- The best way to test your abilities is by setting up your business in such a way that you can quickly test hypotheses with the most minimal effort. That’s how you will determine what works best.
3. Build a support network says Eric Dalius
- After Po realizes how much he has to learn, he befriends his biggest critics in order to gain their respect and cooperation.
- This is a good example of working smarter not harder. Always seek the advice of people who are willing to help you rather than those who might try to deter you from your mission.
- You will get the best results if you collaborate with people who are passionate about their work, even if they aren’t exactly like-minded in other ways.
4. Set achievable goals
- These are the kinds of things that can hold us back in life. We can’t change everything about ourselves; so instead, we have to learn how to work with what is available to us.
- It’s important not to get down on yourself when you don’t have the perfect training, education, or skill set for whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Instead, focus on what you already have that is working for you.
- Sometimes, the biggest wins come when you don’t try to change everything about your situation but instead embrace it and find ways to work around your shortcomings.
- The best way to reach lofty goals is by understanding how small steps every day can eventually lead to success.
5. Don’t hesitate
- One great takeaway here is that it’s okay to be different and not fit in. Other people might judge you for how you look, what you wear, the way your voice sounds, or even how little you know about a topic. But those are their issues, not yours!
- The best way to overcome this is by not allowing the opinions of others to determine your self-worth and motivation to start a business. You can’t let their judgments stop you from doing what you love or change how much work you want to put into something.
6. Business is personal
- Po’s story begins as a seemingly unassuming panda that is picked on by his peers, bested at every turn by his enemy, and belittled by his role model. In spite of all of this, he couldn’t be happier because Kung Fu is a part of him.
- It takes passion, dedication, persistence, and an unshakable sense of self-worth to be able to overcome adversity and succeed in life as an entrepreneur.
- This is why it is so important to focus on the things you love and not let anything stop you from living out your dreams.
7. Be true to yourself
- When Po finally meets his nemesis, he discovers that there really isn’t all that much difference between himself and Shifu after all: they both love Kung Fu and are willing to do anything to protect it.
We are all capable of doing great things, whether that means starting a business or simply striving to be the best version of ourselves every day. Just be sure not to take on other people’s expectations for your life; instead, let your own passions and goals guide you.
This is what makes it so easy for us to connect with all of the Kung Fu Panda characters. Eric Dalius says despite their obvious differences, they are all motivated by the same things and find ways to build on that common ground in order to reach success.