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Good Will Hunting has been my favorite movie for years. I’ve probably watched it more than 20 times and know the lines inside out. Its inspired me many times and because I grew up not that far from where the movie takes place, I can really identify with it.

I haven’t written this type of post in a long time and I also thought it fitting to write about this movie given the tragic death of Robin Williams yesterday.

If you haven’t seen this movie, you are missing out on a truly brilliant piece of work. The story is very deep and draws out real emotions in the process. It’s basically a story about a young man, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) a genius who has a photographic memory and is insanely gifted at processing math problems.

After years of suffering through physical abuse, he has become very hardened emotionally and instead of using his intellect, he partakes in violence and is embarrassed by his special gift. He is also ordered to visit with a psychiatrist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) after being court ordered to see a mental health professional in the wake of his arrest for assault.

The relationship Will forges with Sean during the course of the movie allows him to finally open up and release his anger, hurt, and raw feelings.

Will also manages to fall in love with a Harvard student Skyler (Minnie Driver), but pushes her away when he gets too close emotionally. In the end however, he decides to risk leaving his home in the Boston projects and travels to California to find her.

Why I’m sharing this with you is because I see so many parallels between this movie and what it takes to become successful in your online business.

Below are 8 lessons I have taken from this movie and have applied to my life and business:

Be Who You Are

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Will Hunting is a genius and although he wishes that he wasn’t, that’s who he is. After hiding the fact that he has solved several nearly impossible mathematical equations at M.I.T, he eventually accepts this fact and begins working alongside an esteemed M.I.T. professor and ultimately takes a job working for a company where he can use his skills.

Maybe you’re wicked smart or are an incredibly talented graphic artist. Maybe you have a gift that allows you to connect deeply with people or you are a natural born public speaker. Whatever it may be, your best chance of succeeding is to tap into what your greatest skills are.

One of my favorite quotes is “You cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of what you already are”. This is just as true in online business as anywhere else. Let yourself be YOU.

Whatever your business is or is going to be, do it because it’s from the heart and allow yourself to use your natural gifts.

Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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The movie ends with Will leaving the safety of South Boston, a place he has never left, and embarks on a journey across the country to find Skyler to tell her he loves her. That’s about as far a stretch for him as it can get.

In business, any business, it’s critical that you force yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s where the growth lies.

Given the fact that you’ll be spending a great deal of time alone working on your computer, it becomes very easy to fall into a routine. Often times, you will find yourself doing the same things over and over and that’s when things get stagnant.

In order to achieve success anywhere, you must be willing to break out of your comfort zone. That might be reaching out to someone you think is unreachable. It might be putting your ass on the line and getting your product out there. Or it could be hitting the “publish” button on a post that makes you wildly uncomfortable.

In order to grow your business (and as a person) you will need to take risks and overcome the fear of trying new things.

Discover Your Hidden Talents

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We all have skills and talents that make us unique in our own way. Every single person has something that they can offer this world that is different and valuable. In the movie, Will’s talent lies in the fact that he can solve highly complex math formulas seemingly without effort. He tries to keep this fact hidden but ultimately embraces it.

It’s your job to find what you’re best at. In my experience, not many people actually have a good understanding of where their talents lie. They just never think about it. This will take some soul searching to dig deep into who you are a person and I would encourage you to do so.

You can start this process by taking a free personality test, which is similar to the Myers-Briggs test. It may give you some valuable insights as to what you excel at and who knows, you might just learn something new about yourself!

Be Willing To Get Called Out On Your Bullshit

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You and I are full of shit. We already know this. In the movie, Will is confronted by Sean and called out on his arrogant and obnoxious behavior. Will doesn’t want to hear it but can be seen reflecting on it after Sean leaves.

In this business we must be willing to be honest not only with our audience, but with ourselves. If were lucky, we will have a friend or even an anonymous stranger call us out on something. We may not like it but we must be open to it. People are not stupid and trying to bullshit them can only work temporarily.

I’ve had a number of wake up calls over the last few years and to be honest, they hurt. They hurt my pride and ego but I knew I needed to hear them.

You and I don’t know everything. Far from it. Don’t pretend to be someone or something you aren’t.

Set Your Sights High

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If you’re going into online business, you must be aware that it’s a long and often difficult road. Building a loyal audience, creating tremendous value, and offering something unique is what we all strive for.

In the movie, Will sets his sights on Skylar, a pre-med student who obviously outclasses him, but he doesn’t care. He knows that he wants to be with her and in spite of their different upbringings, he pursues her.

In business, aiming low is a fatal mistake. There is no limit to the success you can achieve, but you must be willing to am for it. Flying under the radar, playing a smaller game, and just trying to be average will never get you to where you want to be. I know because I had done it for years.

The only thing holding you back from realizing your wildest dreams is you. Nothing more.

Surround Yourself With Your People

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Whether it’s a mastermind group, a Google hangout, or attending WDS, you need to be around your people. Your people are the ones who get you and support you.

Will hangs out with his childhood buddies, who are much more rough around the edges that he is, but still accept him for being different than them. He is intellectually superior to them but they continue to support him. In one scene, Chuckie tells Will that it it would be a waste of his time if he worked construction like the rest of them and and that he owes it to him to do something better with his life.

That’s Will’s people. That’s a true friend and the type of person you need in your life.

Start reaching out to people. Find blogs you like and connect with the owners. Open up discussions on Twitter. Read people’s “About” pages to find someone whose message resonates with you.

Having a supportive network is invaluable in this business and should be something any serious online entrepreneur makes a priority. For me personally, I have more than a dozen people I can email or call any time and get advice, support, or feedback and it’s served me very well.

Ask For Help

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You cannot do this alone, believe me. Nor do you want to even try.

In the movie, Will sends in his buddy, Chuckie (Ben Affleck), to an interview in his place. It’s a hilarious scene as Chuckie attempts to negotiate with a group of three staff. He does this because he is Will’s friend and is willing to help him in any way he can.

As big as the blogger/online community is, I am truly amazed at how small is feels. I have reached out to hundreds of people, some “big” names, and even celebrities and received responses, advice, tips, and actually a number of free products and services.

It’s because people care and if you ask for help, there is a good change you will get it. Just be willing to be just as helpful to those who need it as well.

I try to offer as much help as I can to anyone who reaches out to me and have dozens of emails from people who have wanted to personally thank me for taking the time to help them.

It’s a great feeling to actually help another person and if you do that, you will be amazed at what can happen.

Don’t Be A Douchebag

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In one of the best scenes in the movie, a pretentious asshole thinks he will make a fool of Chuckie, who is attempting to hit on Skyler. His arrogance is obvious and he believes he is superior to the crew of Will’s friends. Fortunately, Will steps in and embarrasses the hell out of the guy who ends up walking away with his tail between his legs.

Your online business will revolve around your relationships with others. Being a sincere and honest person goes a very long way in this business. Pretending to be something you’re not or even worse, being successful and flaunting it everyone’s face, just doesn’t work.

I’ve come across a few egotistical and selfish assholes in my days online and I can tell you that they have a very hard time succeeding. I’ve seen a lot of their businesses disappear over the years and it’s no surprise.

I am a believer of the mantra “do good things and good things will happen” and that’s how I am in my life and with my business. Do the right thing, help people, and be humble. Your success or future success will not be all because of you.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

So if you haven’t seen the movie, I apologize for basically spoiling it for you. But the good news is that you now have learned a number of lessons that will help you as you move forward in your online business!

Now I want to hear your thoughts.

Which of these lessons resonates with you? Do you have any to add?

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