8 Business Lessons from Beauty and the Beast

What books and "the gray stuff" have to do with your biz.

My husband took me to see Beauty and the Beast the other day, and I loved it. I thought it was beautifully done and the whole Be Our Guest scene was pretty spectacular.

A few days later, I was talking to a mentor about lacking inspiration, and she asked me how much I read. Uh, not as much as I’d like to. We got into a conversation about how reading can open you up to other ideas and inspirations you wouldn’t normally find in your daily life, and it made me think about Belle and how reading helped her escape the confines of her tiny town.

Then I started wondering what other business lessons could be learned from Beauty and the Beast.

1. Read. A lot.

When you work from home on your own business, it can be really easy to stay in your own little bubble, where inspiration can quickly wear thin. So read! A book or an article or even a podcast (ok, that’s not reading) can help spark ideas and inspiration you otherwise wouldn’t have come across. I’ve been employing this little tactic for the last few weeks and I have to say, it works.

2. The person who seems like he has it all together probably doesn’t.

Gaston seems to have it all: looks, friends, acclaim. Everyone in town thinks he’s a hero, but inside, well, he’s the real monster. We often compare ourselves to others who we think have it all together. Don’t do it. Just don’t. I promise you that person does not have it all together, and they are probably looking at someone else thinking that person has it all together. Etcetera, repeat. I’ll give Gaston credit for going after what he wanted, though.

3. Find a business bestie.

After Belle turns down Gaston’s marriage proposal, he’s clearly sulking. But sidekick LeFou knows just how to bolster him again. One of my favorite things about being in business is the people I’ve met through it, and a few in particular I can text or email when I have a bad day or celebrate big (and little!) wins.

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4. Give great customer service.

The staff at the Beast’s castle staff have not seen a guest in YEARS. But when they do? They go. all. out. for their guest. Take a cue from a candlestick and teapot.

5. Try the gray stuff, it’s delicious.

Gray areas and scary things can freeze us in place. (I have firsthand experience with this.) But you won’t know how good it can be until you try it. Just do it.

6. Don’t lose hope.

The objects in the castle never lose hope that the Beast will learn to love and be loved. Only when the last rose petal falls do their heads droop, but oh hey, even that wasn’t the last word. Don’t give up when things don’t seem to be going your way. Keep working. You never know what, or who, is around the corner.

7. Dream big.

At the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, the whole town thinks Belle is weird. But she keeps doing her thing her way. And who ends up with the prince at the end, hmm? The girl who was brave enough to dream about adventure in the great wide somewhere and not settle for anything less.

8. Success may not look like you expect/Dreams change.

Even though she dreamed about finding adventure outside her safe little provincial town, Belle winds up finding happiness nearby. And I bet she didn’t expect it to be in the form of a beast. Sometimes success looks different than we expect it to. And if you’re happy, it’s fine for your dreams and expectations to change. The only person who gets to judge your success is YOU.

Now, tell me about a time you found inspiration from a place you didn’t expect to find it, like a 25-year-old movie remake. Inquiring minds want to know.

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