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Business lessons from Jerry Maguire

By PJ STEVENS Published 25th Mar 2014
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The 1996 film Jerry Maguire was much more than a sports film with a romantic subplot. It was also an inspiration for many of its viewers, who chose to model their own working lives on lessons they learned from the main character's transformation. These lessons are as useful today as they were when the film was first released.

1. Put People First

"Show me the money!" might be one of the most famous quotes from the movie, but the most important lesson that Jerry Maguire teaches us is that it is people who matter most. Jerry might have won over his client by shouting about money, but what he is really proving is that he is willing to fight for his clients' interests. Strong personal relationships are the key to good business, and Jerry only helps his client to make money once they have developed trust and friendship.

2. Find Yourself a Purpose

Jerry seems to be a success at the start of the film. He is a charming sports agent with a job at a major agency and a great list of clients. However, when he finds himself refusing to put an athlete's health before his profits, he realizes that he has lost his way. He writes out a mission statement outlining the way he would like to work. He wants to work more ethically, doing the right thing for his clients as people. Although his mission statement gets him in trouble, it also drives him to work and live better after he is fired. Knowing what is important to him helps Jerry to succeed.

3. Start the Change You Know is Needed

Jerry learns that integrity matters more than money. The moment when he follows his heart rather than ignoring the problem or waiting for someone else to lead the way is one of his most courageous choices. Jerry's colleagues at the agency know that what he says in his mission statement is true, but they are also aware that it will cost him his job. They are too scared to take a risk, even when they know it is right. Jerry shows us that if we want things to improve, we need to start the change ourselves.

4. Learn to Turn Failure Into Success

Jerry's passionate pursuit of his new way of working does not make life easy for him. He is fired, loses almost all of his clients, and struggles to restart his career. However, his ability to turn a bad situation into an opportunity teaches us the value of perseverance, resilience and optimism.

5. Don't Sacrifice Your Personal Life for Your Professional One

Jerry's mentor, Dicky Fox, teaches Jerry, and the rest of us, that happiness comes from a full life. We should not measure success solely in terms of how much money or power we have. Our personal lives should matter to us at least as much as our professional ones, not least because they provide the support we need to enjoy successful careers.

There are some interesting potential lessons to be taken from this great film. It's not just about 'Show me the money!', it's about living on purpose and helping others to get what they want out of life.

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