In a thrilling TED Talk that kept her audience engrossed, Kate Adams spoke about “Four larger than life lessons from Soap Operas”. According to her, while it is true those Soap operas embrace exaggeration and are perceived as unsophisticated and a waste of time by non-fans, Soap operas on the other hand is inspiring, fun, thrilling and reflects life. Our lives are filled with intensities just like in soap operas and we can relate with the projected characters; their fears, resilience, adaptability, vulnerability, inadequacies, bravery, short comings, choices, failures etc Hence, there are real life lessons that could be learnt from Soap Operas.

While making use of award winning Soap Operas and drawing real life examples from successful entrepreneurs, Kate Adams wittily highlights four lessons from soap operas that could be used to enhance self-growth, business success and shape you into becoming a better entrepreneur!

Here are four lessons Soap Operas teach according to Kate Adams:

1: Surrender is not an option.

The scene where Sussan Lucci known as Erica Kane in ABC Soap Opera “All my Children”  is stuck in the woods with a beast in the A depicts resilience, bravery and the fact that surrender is not an option. Rather than surrender to the beast, Erica Kane yells “You may not do this, you may not come near me. I am Erica kane and you are a filthy beast!” The beast of course bows.
Kate Adam illustrates this with the story of Timothy Brooks, the founder of Pandora who launched his company with two million dollars and after two years got terribly broke, rather than give up, Timothy Brooks chose to not surrender like Erica Kane and so for every two weeks for two years, he stood in front of his employees and asked them to sacrifice their salaries and this worked. Now, a decade later, Pandora is worth billions!

2: Sacrifice your Ego

Sacrificing one’s Ego is an acknowledgement of need, vulnerability and maybe even an acknowledgment that we are not as special as we may like to think.
An example as used by Kate Adams is that of Susan Flannery, an American actress and director who became best known worldwide for portraying Stephanie Douglas Forrester on the American soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful”. Susan Flannery plays the role of Stephanie Forrester, a manipulative matriarch of the Forrester family and one of the leading powers in fashion, who eventually has to battle cancer, opted not to pursue treatment, finally let’s go off her ego in her last scenes and dies in the arms of her daughter-in-law Brooke, her long time arch- enemy.

Kate Adams associates such display of sacrificing the ego with a typical life example of Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks who stepped down in 2000, due to exhaustion from growing Starbucks from a regional coffee chain to a global company over a period of 18 years. Howard re-joined in 2008, sacrificed his ego and apologized to all 180,000 employees, asked them for help, honesty and ideas. Within two years of Schultz’s return, the company was back on track. Starbucks’ stock hit a then all-time-high in mid-2011, beating its previous record set in 2006. The company’s stock reached its peak of $62.61 in October 2015.

Sacrificing the ego, accepting responsibility for your actions and inactions and sacrificing your desires to be right or safe all the time is a bedrock for becoming a successful entrepreneur, Kate Adams emphasized.

3: Evolution is real

Evolution involves a gradual development. In soap operas, these gradual developments and changes come in form of transitions such as recasting. In the Soap Opera “General Hospital”, four Characters played the role of Carly Corinthos. Each new face triggered a change in the character’s life and personality. While we may not change faces in reality, we can choose to evolve and open ourselves to business opportunities like Carly in General Hospital who went from nursing to being a hotel owner.
We have the power to initiate changes in our business and embrace varieties. A good example of this is Nigeria’s successful Business Tycoon, Aliko Dangote.

4: Resurrection is possible

Kate Adams depicts the notion that resurrection is possible with the soap Opera “Days of our life” where Stevano DiMera dies 13 times in the Soap Opera but comes back even stronger.
The lesson to be gotten from this is that our businesses or life as an entrepreneur can reach phases where it seems like the end has come but we can choose to make it a beginning.

Being a successful entrepreneur entails being brave and not choosing to surrender like Erica Kane in “All my children”, Sacrificing the ego and accepting vulnerability like Stephanie Forrester in “The bold and beautiful”, embracing change and evolution like Carly Corinthos in “General Hospital” and resurrecting each time your business experiences setbacks like Stefano DiMera in “Days of our lives”.

Izuehien Mary Ngozi

Social Media Manager