Despite founding a successful pharmaceutical marketing agency, I’m never one for getting complacent. I’m constantly trying to improve. Whether it’s my knowledge or that of my team, I’m obsessed with making stuff better. As such, I learn from all kinds of places. Books. Blogs. Videos. Podcasts. People. Movies. Yes, I said movies.

So, for this post, I thought I’d share three alternative movie quotes that have helped me on my business journey in the hope they can help you on yours…

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free” – The Joker, The Dark Knight

This is an important lesson to freelancers and budding entrepreneurs selling a service. Put simply, it’s important to know the value of the work you’re doing. Don’t sell yourself short. Chances are you’ve probably found yourself doing a load of extra work to prove your worth before a client has even put pen to paper. Great news for your client, but what you’re really doing is underselling your own value.

There’s nothing wrong with being kind, sharing your knowledge and developing good relationships. But how much time have you spent gaining the expertise you have now? So, stop undervaluing it and giving it away for free. Having lived in the US for a few months, I know how expensive a college education over here can be!

Be confident in your own expertise and put a price tag on it. After all, the knowledge and experience that you’ve spent years gathering are valuable assets to someone looking for that specific skill. So next time you’re tiptoeing around the cost or going overboard with the freebies, keep that in mind. But please don’t follow anything else the Joker says!

“What the f*ck have you done lately?” – Wesley Gibson, Wanted 

For those of you who have seen Wanted, you’ll likely remember this James McAvoy line right before the closing credits. And while not all of us can be bullet-curving super-assassins, I think there’s an important message we can all take away.

It’s easy to lose sight of what you’ve achieved when you’re building a business, leading a team or delivering project after project, especially amid all the hustle and bustle and moving parts. But it’s important to look back on what you’ve accomplished and use it to set goals for yourself. Personally, I try to set myself three targets per quarter and make sure they’re ambitious. Don’t get caught in the ‘I’m busy’ trap like it’s a badge of honour.

Setting yourself those big, motivating goals is a valuable ritual that allows you to reflect on what you’ve achieved, while making sure you don’t become a busy fool. So, don’t get into a rut. And don’t forget what matters. Spend time on those important projects, and in three months’ time you can answer the question “what the f*ck have you done lately?” with confidence you’ve pushed yourself and genuinely moved the needle.

“I’m 50 moves ahead of you and everybody else.” – Eddie Morra, Limitless

I’ve seen a lot of people, myself included, get caught up in tracking new ideas from competitors, especially if they’re online for all to see. And it’s easy to try and devise your own versions of those ideas. But in my line of work, doing the same thing as somebody else doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd, no matter which way you spin it.

Instead, you should be working ahead of the curve. Why be reactive when you could be proactive? This doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel. The wheel works! But if you can make the wheel more efficient and/or make your clients’ lives easier, you’re already streets ahead of the version of yourself that’s sitting around watching what your competitors are getting up to. You’ll know, because your competitors will be mimicking what you’re doing. And you should take that as a compliment – by the time they’ve copied what you’ve done, you should already be 50 moves ahead…

So, there you have it – my three alternative movie quotes to help you on your journey. Do you have any movie quotes that inspire you to do better, work harder, or generally push yourself to achieve more? If so, please share!

Image credits and copyright:

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008) | © TM &DC Comics. 2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

James McAvoy in Wanted (2008) | © 2008 – Universal Studios

Bradley Cooper in Limitless (2011) | Photo by John Baer  © 2011 Dark Fields Production, LLC