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Five Business and Life Lessons From House Of Cards

Popular culture can be a great source for inspiration and insight. Some people think watching TV is a waste of time and that you should spend hours on top of hours in your work. I’m of the belief that getting lost in a TV show can help you escape from the grind and find inspiration through someone else’s work.

Shows like Entourage, The Wire and Breaking Bad are just a few of the shows that I’ve taken inspiration and insights from over the last few years. Like the other millions of people across the globe, one show that has taken my full attention is the Netflix sensation House Of Cards.

The characters, plot lines and storytelling found in House Of Cards is nothing short of captivating. Frank Underwood is the perfect example of a character you hate to love. The ongoing drama in the plot is one that forces you to become immersed it’s complexity. It’s a show that makes you question social dynamics, political corruption and business as a whole. Some of the biggest lessons that I’ve taken from House Of Cards can be applied to both life and business. Here are the top lessons any professional can take from House Of Cards:

1. Relationships Matter Everywhere

As Frank Underwood’s political career continues to develop from one episode to the next, one thing you begin to notice is his focus on relationships. Whether it’s the relationships with Governor Russo or reporters like Zoe. It’s amazing to watch the intentional efforts that Frank makes to strengthen and establish relationships that matter.

The power and fragile nature of relationships is one of the biggest takeaways from House Of Cards. It shows us how relationships can help you achieve your goals but also the negative impacts that can happen from not managing them. It also shows us that relationships don’t just matter in sales but also in the White House.

2. Developing A Strong Core Team Is Key

Frank Underwood is committed to ensuring that those around him are beneficial to his career and progress. He makes an ongoing effort to strengthen his relationship with folks like Zoe Barns, Doug Stamper, Peter Russo and his wife, Claire Underwood. Whether you’re watching the first season or the second season, the development of a strong team is consistent from one season to the next.

In business, an organizations success isn’t dependent on its idea or product, it’s dependent on the team. It’s important to have a team that contributes to a common goal and has the right skillset to help get across the finish line. Frank recognizes the value that different individuals and different specialties can bring to the table and is constantly ensuring that he’s only surrounding himself with right people.

3. Go After The Things You Really Want

Frank once said, “If we never did anything we shouldn’t do, we’d never feel good about doing the things we should.” (Tweet This) One thing that Frank always does is go after what he wants. In fact, he goes after what he wants in every episode and strategically aligns himself with the people that will help him get there. He never loses sight of his end goal and is someone who can think with logic over emotion 9 times out of 10.

Do you want to reach quota this year? Do you want a new job? Do you want to a promotion? Whatever it is you want – Focus. Identify what it is you want to accomplish in your career and start planning a roadmap that will help you can achieve it. Be laser focused on your goal and establish a plan of attack that will get you closer and closer to that goal every month.

4. Recognize There Are Two Types Of Pain

“There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong and useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering.” A lot of people subject themselves to pain that doesn’t result in growth. People who spend too much time thinking about the past and things they cannot change are an example of people who focus on useless pain. It’s important to embrace pain that results in growth. Pain that drives strength and growth is the type of pain you can embrace. It’s the type of pain that you face when you do something that makes you uncomfortable.

5. Good BBQ Can Fix Everything

Freddy’s BBQ joint is the one place that Frank Underwood visits on a regular to get a good ol plate of ribs. Even though he’s a high profile politician who could make Matt Damon seem like a B-list celebrity, he loves this tiny BBQ joint. He meets with colleagues, peers and special guests at this raggedy BBQ joint that treats him just like everybody else.

The workforce can be a stressful place, sometimes you just need a little bit of comfort food to bring you back to your happy place. Whether it’s BBQ, Yoga, time with the family or a game of tennis – It’s important to strike balance.

What do you think? Any other tips you can take from House Of Cards & Frank Underwood?