How “It’s A Wonderful Life” Can Help You Get Noticed or Rewarded at Work

‘Tis the season of Yuletide movies and the age-old insights they offer about love, celebration and family togetherness.  From  A Christmas Story to Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas to A Miracle on 34th Street, we eagerly watch the “bah humbugs” evolve into good tidings of comfort and joy.

But, can those same feel-good flicks offer ideas on garnering success and happiness in the workplace?

Absolutely – particularly in the case of  It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the most beloved Christmas films in America. The heart-warming (maybe an eensy bit sappy) Frank Capra classic that shares the story of George Bailey and his impact on the small town of Bedford Falls offers some key lessons that anyone can leverage to get ahead at work, whatever your denomination:

Be  a problem solver.

When faced with significant challenges — in this case, the imminent collapse of Bailey Building and Loan — George refuses to take defeat as the final word. Instead of succumbing to failure, he thwarted the panic by using the $2,000 earmarked for his  honeymoon to satisfy the depositors’ urgent needs. 

The takeaway: Confronting a seemingly insurmountable challenge?  Take a step back and gain some perspective. There is usually a solution (at least one!).

When life hands you lemons, make lemon sorbet.

When George and Mary’s honeymoon is thwarted because of a town crisis, Mary (with the help of her community) creates a faux tropical paradise to enjoy, despite never leaving town. 

The takeaway: When the going gets tough, it’s easy to get down. If things aren’t going your way at work (e.g. you’ve made a mistake, didn’t get the coveted client, were passed over for the promotion), try to understand why and how things went awry (to avoid the situation from happening again). Then, focus on what IS going right and how you can get better results next time.

Community is key.

The crux of the film is that George is a selfless guy whose actions (no matter how seemingly small) affected an entire community. From saving his brother from drowning as a child to preventing his then-boss from providing a wrong (and possibly lethal) prescription to someone, his acts caused a ripple effect beyond the town’s borders. And, while he didn’t do those acts for rewards, they ultimately become his saving grace. Facing arrest, under suspicion for bank fraud thanks to his uncle misplacing $8,000 of B&L monies, the entire community steps up with more than enough donations to save him and the Association. 

The takeaway: Do for others and they will be more likely to do for you. Tout your co-workers’ efforts; raise your hand to help; refer a vendor for a new opportunity; cultivate your community. After all, as Clarence writes in a letter at the end of the movie: “Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

Happy holidays from your friends at Be Your Own Best Publicist!

What other lessons have you learned from holiday flicks or shows?  Share with us here, on Facebook or Twitter (@bestpublicist).

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