March 11, 2016

4 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Oscar Winner Leonardo DiCaprio

The Leo Lesson

It’s extremely hard to feel sorry for Leonardo DiCaprio. Let’s face the facts; he’s arguably one of the most talented actors of his generation, his net worth is estimated to be a cool $220 million, and he’s dated some of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Despite all of this, there is a little part of me that feels sorry for him. Why? I don’t know, I mean we can no longer question as to why Mr. DiCaprio hasn’t received an Oscar.

Perhaps it’s because Leo seems like a person who is amazing at what he does, but for whatever reason he hasn’t quite gained the recognition he deserves. Leo has always remained humble, focused on improving his craft, and he has never rested on his laurels.

This is a lesson that is equally applicable in the business world, and that got me thinking: What can we learn from Leonardo DiCaprio?

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

At first glance, Leonardo DiCaprio has the kind of fresh-faced good looks that usually spells a career in romantic comedies, not Scorsese and Tarantino movies.

DiCaprio didn’t let this perception hold him back, though.  From the age of 18, Leo started carving out a career in gritty dramas, such as This Boy’s Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and The Basketball Diaries.

Eventually, working his way up the ranks and establishing an IMDB profile that would make any actor green with envy.

The lesson is this: Never judge a book by its cover. The chances are that they’re capable of much more than meets the eye. Whether it’s a potential employee, contact or client, you never know when you’re going to meet an influential person who can change or improve your life.

Shoot for the Stars

Outside of the film industry, it’s fair to say that DiCaprio has a reputation for letting himself go, whether that be his dedication to physical mediocrity or more recently his questionable facial hair.

In spite of this, he isn’t afraid to shoot for the stars when it comes to whom he’s dating.

The lesson is this: In business, self-belief is just as important. There will undoubtedly be times when you run into people telling you something can’t be done; here you’ll need to focus on establishing an unbreakable belief pattern that will enable you to push past the doubters.

It’s OK to Finish Second

Before this year, DiCaprio had been nominated for four Academy Awards, each time missing out and leaving the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles empty handed.

Rather than complain, or drop off of the scene, DiCaprio has continued to dig deep with his on-screen performances, finding that next big role, all the while continuing to challenge himself again, and again.

The lesson is this: In business, perhaps you have competed to win market share and lost out to a competitor you know you’re better than.

Although at first it may be difficult to stomach, the smartest entrepreneurs are the ones who use these ‘losses’ to their advantage. Smart entrepreneurs tend to question why they haven’t succeeded in that aspect of business and look for ways to improve or do things differently.

Self-reflection is worth its weight in gold.

Kindness Goes a Long Way

It’s not unusual to see successful entrepreneurs endorsing a charity of choice. As founder of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation–which has so far granted over $30 million to a variety of environmental organizations, few have thrown themselves into their philanthropic activities as much as DiCaprio.

The lesson is this: In the world of business, showing empathy can be an equally powerful tool–albeit for different reasons.  Although it must be noted that insincere motivations rarely produce the results you want.

Happy staff means happy clients, which in turn benefits the bottom line.

That way everyone wins.

*Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio by Getty Images