Business Lessons Inspired by Harry Potter

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Feeling successful can be difficult sometimes. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you were working toward, or you are in the middle of trying to change jobs. Maybe you’re working a “traditional” 9 to 5 job, starting your own business, or attending graduate school, and are trying to find your way professionally.

While the success journey isn’t “one size fits all,” often a great deal can be learned from studying successful people that came before you. While many people cite legendary businessmen like Warren Buffett and Andrew Carnegie, and for good reason, you can find inspiration and learn from unexpected sources.

Believe it or not, one of those sources is Harry Potter.

The main character of a massively popular book series penned by J.K. Rowling, odds are that if you haven’t read the books or seen the blockbuster movies, you’ve at least heard of them. The boy wizard overcame adversity time and time again throughout the books, and was ultimately successful in beating one of the darkest wizards of all time. Potter demonstrated lessons in success that Muggles, non-magical folks like you and me, can put into practice.

Warning: For those who haven’t read the books or seen the movies, this article contains spoilers.

  1. Surround yourself with people whose strengths complement yours. How could Harry Potter have survived obstacle after obstacle without the help of others? The two characters who stand out the most are his best friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Hermione was book smart in a way that Harry and Ron weren’t. Ron had practical knowledge about the Wizarding World that Harry and Hermione lacked because they grew up in the non-magical world. It’s important to note that Hermione’s strength was different than Ron’s, and Ron’s strength was different than Hermione’s; they complemented each other, and complemented Harry at the same time.
  1. Accept help. Sometimes accepting help has a negative connotation, because some people look at it as a weakness. Recognizing when you need help, however, and being open and willing to accept, it is a vital component of success. In the books, Harry was surrounded by people and creatures that were willing and able to help him, but having them in his life wasn’t enough. For Harry’s network to make a positive impact he had to let them. If you won’t let your network contribute to your success (you contribute to theirs too), what’s the point in having the network?
  1. You can learn something from everyone. In the wizarding world there existed a social hierarchy that placed witches and wizards at the top and other magical creatures below. House elves were literally slaves, serving wizarding families for generations unless they were set free. Harry however, didn’t buy into discrimination and was helped by a variety of humans and creatures, characters like: wizards and witches Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore, Nymphadora Tonks, Severus Snape, two of the most “uncool” students at Hogwarts, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, the goblin Griphook, and Dobby the House Elf.
  1. Do the best you can with the information you have. If Harry had waited to have all of the information necessary, and have everything figured out before taking action, there wouldn’t have been much to read in the books. When fighting against Lord Voldemort Harry was constantly looking for more information, yet making decisions with incomplete information. In some instances, this dynamic is applicable in real life – minus the magic involved in Harry’s story. Some people call this “analysis paralysis.”
    Do your research, weigh out your options, and do your best to make decisions with the information that you have. Who knows if no decision may actually be worse than any of the options you were considering?
  1. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Ignoring the naysayers, especially when their voices can seem so loud, can be difficult. While Harry was questioned throughout his journey about his abilities and his honesty, he was committed to his truth through it all. When Harry told the wizarding world that Lord Voldemort had returned and many didn’t believe him, he stood his ground. In fact, knowing that many people didn’t believe him Harry agreed to give an interview to provide a first-hand account of his story. Part of being successful is putting yourself out there, even though others may not be supportive or understanding.

Get out there, chase your dreams, and remember the lessons in success inspired by Harry Potter. He is The Boy Who Lived, after all.


Mariela Santos-Muniz Picture

I’ve known I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was a kid and this year I founded Verbatim Translations LLC, which specializes in English to Spanish and Spanish to English translations. In addition, I currently co-tweet about women’s sports and female athletes from @WMNSPORTSWORLD. In 2015 I graduated from Boston University with an M.A. in International Relations and International Communications, after completing a B.A. in Humanities from the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico. Writing is a passion of mine and I’m enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to Women’s iLab. I also enjoy reading, listening to music, learning, and thinking that I would be a Gryffindor if I lived in Harry Potter’s world.

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