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La La Land Taught This Business Owner (Me) Something

Spoiler alert:  If you haven't watched La La Land and plan to do so, this includes information about the movie’s ending.  Do NOT proceed unless you want to know how the story ends.

I watched La La Land and was surprised at how close it's lesson applies to me.  I run marketing automation firm specializing in membership sites.  As geeky as that sounds, I cope with the same struggles experienced by the characters.  I work hard.  I have a dreams and set goals to achieve.  I also have the practical demands.  I have a family.  I have bills to pay.  It seems to two are constantly at odds with each other.  And I'm the lucky one that has to decide between them.

In La La Land, Emma Stone plays an aspiring actress.  She’s a barista attending auditions looking for her big break.  Ryan Gosling plays a jazz pianist.  He wants to own his own jazz club.  They meet, fall in love and work hard supporting each other as they achieve their dreams.

Gosling’s character make compromises he feels he needs to make for her.  She takes a big chance, because of his encouraging, and it's clearly at odds with them staying together.  At one point, she fails in a big way and goes home.  She gives up.  He's the one that goes after her not so they can stay together, but so she doesn't miss what could be a huge opportunity.  They both decide between what they want and what they have to do to get by and grow up as they like to say throughout the movie.

As someone peeking into their story, it’s sad they part ways.  You were wanting them to make it big and stay together, but it wasn't meant to be.  It’s that classic tug-of-war I think everyone feels to one extent or another.

There is a scene before she heads off to Paris where they're having that heart to heart.  They know her leaving could mean and end to them and he says, “I will always love you.”  She does too.

Everyone’s life has that same back and forth.  I have a family to support while and I also work hard to achieve my dreams.  I put in some long hours, make compromises for my business and in my relationships.  Sometimes it takes me to my wits end.  I’ve been running my business a while and I still occasionally hear that voice asking, “Is it really worth it?  Would giving up and taking a day job be the better option?”

In my circle of fellow business owners, I see people running what look like solid businesses.  Then all of a sudden you see them take a job.  They decide getting a job makes more sense than continuing.  I’m not close enough to know the specifics, but I’m sure many see the struggle as too much and getting practical is what they believe is the better choice.

I’m sure in many of those cases, they face regrets later.  It could be they caved to meet someone else’s needs.  It could be that they couldn’t do it anymore and later they realized maybe they could have.  I'm sure others feel they gave it their all, gave up and now live comfortably knowing it just wasn’t for them.

As we all move forward with what it is we do, I encourage you to take the movie’s message and know you are not alone. We are all on on this journey and have choices to make.  Get yourself people to support you. Make sure these are people that will be straight with you.  Find people that want the best for you and understand what you do so they can give you good input as you make these life decisions.  You need that reality check to avoid those regrets and mistakes that are difficult for you to see without an outside perspective.

Hope this helps.