Charm and the gift of a persuasive turn of phrase can get you almost anywhere. These skills can land people jobs they otherwise would never have gotten. They can get people elected to government through the power of personality. And, once mastered, these skills can have you perceived by your teams as mesmerizing and inspiring. One character that encapsulates these traits is Jordan Belfort (Di Caprio) in Martin Scorsese's latest movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
Although "The Wolf" is a deplorable character and a satirical anti-hero, there are lessons to be taken from any man who rises to the top of his profession. The attributes below, when separated from his complete lack of moral compass, are ones that can be emulated by all who aspire to achieve entrepreneurial success.
There is much about his stratospheric rise to Wall Street infamy that is strangely admirable. These lessons are well-hidden amongst bravado, excessive drug-taking and testosterone fueled money-grabbing, but when you analyse the traits that make him a great entrepreneur, you can see that these can be emulated without emulating the decadence and hedonism which Belfort chose to pursue.
On his cataclysmic rise, he mastered many skills that make him an excellent business leader, albeit one who lost all concept of morality. Here are a few entrepreneurial traits "The Wolf" mastered:
Inspiration and Motivation
One of the most important traits you can look for in a team member is that of self-motivation. Once you learn what makes each person tick, you can motivate them further and help them to achieve their personal goals. However, it is a manager's job to ensure that his staff reach their "motivation potential".
Jordan Belfort has an innate capability to inspire and motivate his beloved "Strattonites", allowing them to reach heights they never thought they were capable of. He provides them with more then just a wage packet: he sells them his version of the capitalistic dream.
In the scene above, Belfort's persuasive and motivational charm is on full display - he turns a mob of brokers from a position of anger to that of enthusiasm regarding an IPO they had dismissed just moments earlier.
The real-life Jordan Belfort now works as a motivational speaker, and often speaks on the philosophy that you should never allow yourself to be judged as anything but the person you are in the present moment:
When the young and confident Belfort first steps into the small penny-stock trading floor he immediately sees the bigger picture that everyone else misses. The other brokers' growth is stunted by their limiting beliefs. They suffer from a "group think" and "psychological block" - a situation where they collectively believe that something cannot be achieved, projecting this image onto the world around them, making it impossible for that goal to be reached. The entrepreneur must have a limitless mind-set similar to that of Belfort when he picked up the phone for his first pitch. You can tell by the look on the other traders faces that this is the type of sale they thought impossible.
Their limiting beliefs are shattered when Belfort gives them a live example of how penny stocks should be sold.
Belfort is a master of personal branding. He has an aura and a way of life which the other morally bankrupt Stratonites aspire to acquire. The nickname 'the Wolf' catapults him from man to myth. Most people know of him before they meet him. Although the personal branding of Belfort would only appeal to others aspiring to live in decadence and pursue money without moral fiber, the legend of the Wolf and the loyalty of his employees shows how powerful personal branding can be in business. It helps to keep you in the memory of your network with your name at the tip of everyone's tongue. If this is done in a positive manner, it can be very good for business as your name becomes synonymous with your sector.
Although there are lessons to be learned from the story of Jordan Belfort - let us not forget that it is completely immoral to talk people into dud deals with little chance of financial reward.
The real life Jordan Belfort, pictured below, now teaches people how to remain motivated and hungry throughout their careers. He has reinvented himself and now works as a motivational speaker, managing to filter his upstanding traits, separating them from the hedonism he pursued in his youth. He still carries a few of his old traits though, but only those which were positive - the quote below should prove that his "no excuses" attitude is still present and he remains free of the hampers of a limiting belief system.
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