Like every other Marvel fan in the universe, I was shocked to hear of the passing of the actor Chadwick Boseman, who was loved mostly remembered for his role as T’Challa in the Black Panther movie as well as other hit movies over the past few years.
To find out that he spent the last four years, not just making iconic movies that moved us emotionally and were intellectually inspiring but also did so between major surgery and chemotherapy was a shock.
It shows us what it means to take up your cross and walk your own path. He owned his crown as a leader in every role he was playing on set and in his real-life off-cameras.
His dedication to playing roles so powerfully and gracefully while maintaining his privacy is something that a lot of Hollywood actors have failed to achieve without alienating fans.
Chadwick Boseman, however, was able to find the balance between work and personal life, while making us rethink narratives every step of the way.
There are numerous lessons we can learn from this hero. Being a successful entrepreneur goes beyond just creating an idea that stands the test of time. It also involves genuinely leaving a mark, sparking meaningful conversations, and change. You can’t rely on talent alone – you have to be fully aware of the narrative you’re contributing to.
1. Create a platform big enough for more than one man
Excellence is the outcome of teamwork, and contributing to that means never seeing a responsibility or role as too small or too big. Be conscious of those around you and how they can use their individual talents to help grow your business.
I recently read that whichever film Chadwick Boseman was working on, he would attend the auditions for supporting roles. You would agree with me that that’s uncommon for lead actors in high-budget movies. But Chadwick understood that to develop an efficient team that could perform in unison mattered as much as his own individual performance.
2. Innovate by going deep and not wide
If there is one concept that is overused in entrepreneurship, it will be “innovation.” A lot of businesses are just changing the packaging and offering the same service, information, and support as everyone else. Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel – it’s about taking note of the small details that no one else has thought to notice.
Some of the big companies we have come to love are innovated by materializing this trait. Think Netflix, which revolutionized the way we consume television and movies, or even Apple, which placed the world in our pockets through the iPhone.
Boseman knew the importance of paying attention to details. Ryan Coogler, the co-writer, and director of Black Panther, once said that Chadwick would often talk about lines and how to add depth and life to each scene. What really touched me, though, was his attention to the smallest of details.
Coogler mentioned that Boseman was conscious about everything from military practices to costumes.
Chadwick once told Coogler “Wakandans have to dance during the coronations. If they just stand there with spears, what separates them from Romans?”
That height of awareness is what every entrepreneur should strive to attain. Honestly, ask yourself: What separates you from the rest?
3. Be brave enough to change the box
A lot of people feel being an entrepreneur has to do with fitting everything into a neat box and marking things off your to-do list. However, that is not always correct; a true entrepreneur redefines the box so that the parameters can be expanded, never to return to the way they were before.
It may seem as though I’m overestimating the importance of what entrepreneurs can create, but if you look at every entrepreneur that has introduced new possibilities are actually stretching our imaginations beyond what we previously knew.
All the innovations and technology we see now, the evolution and change we never thought we possible 20 years back, is because their inventors were bold enough to change the box.
This was why Chadwick Boseman was loved in all his roles, from playing Jackie Robinson, to reliving the life of the godfather of soul music James Brown, to bringing the Black Panther character to life.
In each role, Chadwick stepped up not only as an actor but also as a leader. As an entrepreneur in this oversaturated environment, now more than ever, we need to stop imitating and start stepping up to become leaders.