8 Business Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Wonder Woman
You don't stay at the top of the superhero game for 75 years without making a few pivots.
In 1942 Wonder Woman, created by internationally famous psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston, made her comic book cover debut. Since then, she’s been a suffragist, solider, sex symbol, one of the most popular comic book characters of all-time and, currently, the star of blockbuster movie. Not to mention someone millions of people around the world look up too as an inspiration.
But, did you also know that Wonder Woman is also an inspiration for entrepreneurs as well?
1. Rebrand yourself when needed.
Throughout the decades the character of Wonder Woman, and her civilian identity Diana Prince, has been altered, restored and updated. Even before her first appearance in 1941 (it took her a year to get a cover) her name was switched from Suprema to Wonder Woman, apparently by William Moulton Marston’s editor Sheldon Mayer. She was also originally from Paradise Island, then in the 1980s she was from Themyscira.
While today we recognize Wonder Woman as a diplomat and iconic member of the Justice League, she originally joined the Justice Society as their security but, in the 1960s when she lost her powers, she became a babysitter, fashion model, movie star, astronaut, businesswoman and even a mod-spy type. Few of these incarnations stuck with fans, except for the television series starring Lynda Carter which even influenced the comic.
Everything about Wonder Woman from her origins, customs and powers, has been tinkered with -- just like with most other comic books characters. Sometimes, like the Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot versions of the character, it works. Sometime it backfires - just ask Marvel about the fan-response to Hydra-Cap. If it doesn’t pan out, the mistake is rectified. For instance, Diana had her powers restored in the comics so that put an end to her mod-spy days.
Just like Wonder Woman and the superheroes throughout the years, you can rebrand yourself and your business as needed and when needed. Sure, your original idea or title sounded perfect but imagine if Google was still called BackRub or PayPal stayed Cofinity on a mission to that “beam” payments to your Palm Pilot.
When you realize you made a mistake, or market tastes have changed, rebrand yourself and your business.Listen to your audience and be flexible enough to adapt to these changes.
2. Be a warrior for truth, peace and equality.
Wonder Woman’s goals are to promote truth, peace and equality - despite being an Amazonian warrior. This dichotomy is what makes her character so appealing and a great leader and teammate. It’s also why her most well-known weapon is the Lasso of Truth that forces people to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear.
Truth, honesty and integrity also make entrepreneurs heroic. It’s what makes them exceptional leaders. It’s what rallies employees, investors, stakeholders, and customers around them. It’s how they make the right business decisions. It’s what separates them from questionable and shady competitors.
3. Wield the power of empathy.
Diana can detects others' emotions -- in other words, she has the power of empathy. That further explains why she’s such an important member of the Justice League.
Empathy is perhaps the most important skill that entrepreneurs can possess. By walking in someone else’s shoes you’re better suited to understand and solve their pain points. That is what entrepreneurship is all about -- making the world a better place.
4. Be fearless in battle, even when the odds are against you.
Diana has fearlessly battled monsters, gods and even allies, including Superman. Even when it appears that it’s against all odds, Diana willingly faces these foes for the greater good of humanity. However, Diana never goes into battle without a plan. She’s an excellent strategist and doesn’t just start smashing everything around her (like the Hulk).
The odds are always stacked against entrepreneurs -- particularly women entrepreneurs -- so always test the market and validate your ideas before going into battle.
5. Turn weakness into strength.
A Wonder Woman trademark is her indestructible, bullet-deflecting bracelets, but the origins of these bracelets are a bit on the sinister side. Known as the "Bracelets of Submission," the Amazons were forced to wear these bracelets after being captured and enslaved by Hercules. Even after their independence, the Amazons decided to wear these bracelets proudly as a symbol of past oppression they had overcome.
As an entrepreneur, you will have times of trouble, like your business failing or rejection by an investor. Instead of letting that hold you back, embrace your shortcomings and turn them in strengths. Personally, I openly discuss my previous business failures. It not only helps me deal with the situation, it made me a stronger individual with a constant reminder of what not to do in the future.
6. Superhuman stamina and endurance are required.
Wonder Woman posses superhuman strength, durability, speed and an enhanced healing power, but arguably her greatest power is her superhuman stamina and endurance. Wonder Woman can remain in any fight until the end with any foe. We all love Batman but he doesn’t have the stamina and endurance to stand toe-to-toe with villains like a clone of Doomsday, the big bad that actually killed Superman.
Justine Musk, author and former wife of Elon Musk, believes that stamina is what makes entrepreneurs great.
“There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that,'' she said. "Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp. It pays off.”
7. The world’s finest share the glory of success.
Diana has had her fair share of victories but she never gloats and always gives credit when credit is due. When Steve Trevor tells her that she saved the day her response is, “No, we did this.”
Great entrepreneurs don’t steal credit for other people’s work. They acknowledge the hard work of the entire team and celebrate all victories together. They never pass the blame to someone else.
8. The importance of mentorship - and paying it forward.
Diana sought a mentor before becoming Wonder Woman because she needed a guide to train her to become a warrior. One of Diana’s mentors was her aunt, Antiope. In the comics, Diana returned the favor by mentoring a number of potages like Wonder Girl and allies like Etta Candy and Paula von Gunther.
Entrepreneurs should also seek someone to train and guide them in order to help them hone their skills. Mentors can also share their mistakes and existing business knowledge. However, entrepreneurs pay it forward someday by also taking an emerging entrepreneur under their wings.
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