July 28, 2011

Business 101: Lessons to Learn from Lorelai Gilmore

I was thinking of the lack of things to watch on TV this summer and my mind slipped to the good days when Gilmore Girls was something to look forward to every week. I was definitely in my mid-teens when it was going on TV and I loved Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. The story is basically about the mother-daughter duo and their lives in the fictional town of Stars Hollow after Lorelai, the mother, ran away from home when she got pregnant at 16. 

I loved pretty much everything about the Gilmore girls from the incredibly fast-paced talking to their pop-culture references and Lorelai's clothes! But something else I loved was Lorelai as a businesswoman and I learned quite a bit from her. Here are a few tips, from Lorelai to me to you :)

1.Recognize opportunities and don't be afraid to ask for help: When Rory gets accepted into Chilton, an expensive yet excellent private school, Lorelai knew she couldn't afford it. She also knew who could - her estranged parents. Although she didn't want to, she knew it was the right thing to do by her daughter and so she agreed to "Friday Night Dinners" at her parents' house, the one condition they asked for when they lent her the money. Lorelai recognized an opportunity and she also knew that she couldn't do it on her own - she needed help. Apply this to your business/work. It truly makes a difference.

2. Be nice to everyone: Lorelai had some very quirky neighbors and such but she was always cordial and got along with everyone. She took the time to listen to people, even Kirk's crazy ideas. This is a really good thing to practice, not just for those of you in the business world, but for everybody. You never know what might pop up in life. Keep your eyes and ears open. Listen to people and take the time to let people that you value and appreciate them and what they have to say.

3. It's OK to have a nervous breakdown: This is definitely one of the best lessons I learned from Lorelai. As women in or aspiring to be in the business field, a common mistake we make is assume we need to put on a strong face - big girls don't cry and you have to show your worth in a "man's world". Stop thinking that. I learned to "wallow" because I learned it from Gilmore Girls - I was, what, 13? Lorelai cries, feels overwhelmed and frustrated. She understands this is normal, gives herself time to wallow and then moves on. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

4. Work hard, act smart and you will get to where you want to go in your career: When Lorelai got to Stars Hollow she worked as a maid at the Independence Inn and then worked her way up to be the manager. She later realized her dream of opening her own inn, the Dragonfly Inn. She also took business classes somewhere in between, I remember.

5. Know who to trust: This is so important when you're trying to establish and grow a business, invest in a promising venture or just for advice. Always know who the right people are for a particular job/field of expertise. Make connections and build relationships. Have a good network of trustworthy people surrounding you and return the favor.

6. Have a good relationship with your staff, but know when to be the boss: Lorelai worked with her friends - she had a great relationship with them and it tuned out really well for her. Sookie was her best friend and an amazing chef! She brings out their skills and knew when the situation called her to make decisions and control her staff/business. It's great to go to work in such a comfortable yet professional environment - you learn to love what you're doing when you're in the company of great people. People are what makes a business and Lorelai's inn was a great example of that.

7. Don't panic: especially in front of investors/customers/employers. Always be calm and levelheaded, even if you don't know what you're doing. Always be in control of the situation and think on your feet.

Hope this helps you along the way to becoming a great business professional! Do you have any tips you like to share? What did you like most about "Gilmore Girls"?

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