‘Game of Thrones’: 4 Lessons Daenerys Targaryen Taught Me About Business
The Mother of Dragons wants to conquer all of Seven Kingdoms. Her journey holds some good lessons for 21st-century “solopreneurs.”
Are you waiting in anticipation for the next Game of Thrones season? Or are you like me, taking time to reflect on the life lessons you can learn from each character?
As a solopreneur, I can’t help but feel inspired by Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen. She’s a strong woman, and I’m slightly jealous of her hairstyles. But what I love most are the ways in which she shows me how to be a better boss.
You may not want to rule Seven Kingdoms or become the Mother of Dragons, but surely you can take some of the lessons that I’ve learned from Daenerys into your own business.
1. It’s About Serving People
Daenerys Targaryen has legions of loyal followers (in the Seven Kingdoms and on Twitter!) who will do whatever she says. This is because she rules not by fear, but by helping those who can’t help themselves.
Remember when she took over Slaver’s Bay? When talking to Ser Jorah about liberating the slaves, she said, “Let the priests argue over good and evil. Slavery is real. I can end it. I will end it. And I will end those behind it. They can live in my new world, or they can die in their old one.”
Daenerys understands that as a leader, it’s not about her. It’s about making sure those who need her are taken care of. For you, it’s your clients or customers; for her, it’s the underprivileged.
I’ve learned that my business is about helping my clients make money. It’s about giving them a chance to share their products and services so that they can help others, as well. I call that a win-win.
2. Change Strategies, But Keep Your Vision
Yes, the Mother of Dragons – with her large army and massive amount of resources – can stroll into any town and take it over with the snap of a finger. It’s interesting on TV, but not in business.
Daenerys wants to take over the Iron Throne, but not by killing thousands of innocent people. Her vision is to lead by earning others’ respect, not their fear. She doesn’t want to reach her target by killing everyone who opposed her or got in the way.
Yes, there are ways to make a quick buck in business, but that’s not always the best choice.
It’s crucial to your success to have a long-term vision for your business, which means being patient and making sure your strategy fits your vision.
3. Trust Yourself
Shall we count the ways in which Daenerys Targaryen has been beaten or put in compromising situations? And better yet, let’s count the ways in which she’s managed to bounce back from each and every one of them.
Let’s see . . . Daenerys became an orphan the night she was born. She lived in exile for most of her life. She was forced to marry Drogo. And then she became a prisoner of the khalasar.
But enough from me. Why don’t you hear it from the lady herself? “I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods, not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea – any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and I will.”
I don’t know about you, but I got chills when she said that. The lesson here? Things will happen. There will be many lows in your business. But if you don’t trust yourself and believe that you are strong enough to get through the ups and downs, then you might as well give up.
When I hit a lean patch in my business, I remind myself how far I’ve come and that I am strong enough to make it through. I’m still here, aren’t I?
4. Keep Smart People Around You
Tyrion Lannister is an entertaining character, but Daenerys didn’t choose him for his drinking skills. She chose him as the hand of the queen because she trusts him and believes he has the skills to lead her to victory.
Daenerys chooses people not only for their personalities, but also for their skills and motivation. Furthermore, she listens to them.
Surrounding herself with people who will help her take over the Iron Throne is one of the many keys to Daenerys’s success.
You don’t have to suffer alone in your business. Find mentors and peers who can bring newer ideas. Ask their advice and listen to them. Even if you can’t find someone right now, there are books and blogs you can learn from. I wouldn’t be here if not for countless colleagues, coaches, and books.
A Final Thought
No matter where you are in your business, take some of these lessons and see how you can apply them. If anyone asks who your new business mentor is, mention Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen.