One of the best things about movies and TV shows is how we can draw parallels back to our own world. Even when events within these forms of media get so outrageous that we could never experience them directly in real life, there are almost always elements which break through to reveal greater truths.

Taking a look at some popular examples within The Devil Wears Prada, You’ve Got Mail, and Parks and Recreation, we want to examine which qualities the key characters show, and how these can relate to real life. Whether you’re a boss yourself, or just searching for a realm of inspiration, these examples give us all something to think about.

You’ve Got Mail

Dating back to 1998, You’ve Got Mail still tells an appreciable story owing to its take on the David vs Goliath theme. With a small family shop behind her, Meg Ryan’s character of Kathleen struggles to keep afloat while Tom Hank’s Joe Fox and his mega-chain push her out of business. While Kathleen remains steely in the face of adversity, never abandoning her business, she eventually faces the inevitable. But she also finds another path, and begins following her secondary career goal of writing children’s books, with this story being an epitome of the idea that, when one door closes, another one opens – if you try hard enough to find it.

The Devil Wears Prada

Despite its place within the elite words of New York fashion, The Devil Wears Prada is a surprisingly relatable take on competition within the business sphere. In this film, Anne Hathaway’s Andy takes the new job of junior assistant to Meryl Streep’s Miranda. Initially ridiculing the position for its pomp and ostentation, Andy eventually falls into this world entirely, changing who she is, and adopting a cut-throat personality along the way.

devil wears pradaHowever, at the close of the film, she realises this world isn’t where she belongs, and leaves it all behind. The movie is a strong reminder that you should never let a career choice shape who you are; you should be the one shaping your career.

Parks and Recreation

One of the best examples of female empowerment within film and TV in recent years, as we were reminded of by the recent cast reunion, is the character of Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. Aptly played by Amy Poehler, Leslie might seem outwardly disjointed and often bizarre, but her commitment to her staff and her job raises the bar of everyone around her. Leslie faces an enormous range of challenges through the seven seasons but, together with her team, she always manages to overcome adversity while maintaining a positive attitude.

Finding the Inspiration Within

From You’ve Got Mail, there are two main lessons which businesswomen could learn. The first is that failure is not always an end, it can also serve as inspiration for a new beginning. The second is that no matter your business, precautions need to be taken to protect against the future.

Take, for example, if a person wanted to open a painting and decorating business. Firstly, you’d want to ensure you aren’t facing insurmountable competition, on top of this, you’d also want to consider safety measures like painters insurance. This would cover potential future issues like cracking a vase or paint spills, both of which could be common concerns. This advice is apt for businesses of all kinds, from painting to personal training – in other words, take in the bigger picture and protect yourself against what will and might come, and you’ll be better off for it.

In The Devil Wears Prada, the lessons are more centred on maintaining a balance. When getting involved in a business, we can lose ourselves in ways which can change who we are and damage our personal lives. The key, as this movie illustrates, is to stay true to the person you want to be, while still being open to adaption and new lessons. Too much either way and failure is an inevitable result.

Ending on a more positive Knope, Parks and Recreation is very much a story about holding yourself to a high standard, but also trusting in your team. Leslie is a force of nature, but the few times she does make mistakes, it comes from overworking herself and taking on more than she can handle. Be like Leslie, and surround yourself with people who can be trusted when you’re at your limit.

In a greater sense, take in the experiences of Leslie, Andy, and Kathleen, and you might be surprised at how valuable and applicable their collective lessons can be. Real-life might not be as easy as life in the movies, but that doesn’t mean inspiration is impossible to find on the screen.