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Top Gun – Maverick: Entrepreneurship, Mentoring and Completing the Mission

Art and life often mirror one another. In the new Top Gun movie, Maverick decides to prove to his team that the impossible mission is achievable, just as entrepreneurs ignore background noise, believe in their journey and recruit like-minded investors or partners to take the company sky-high.

The first time I saw the movie Top Gun I was in the army. Last week, as part of my 32nd wedding anniversary celebrations (yes, true friendship) we decided to watch the sequel, Top Gun Maverick.

One of the interesting things in the film is the link between faith and vision, between the initiator and the leader, between the student and the guide. The moments in the script which expressed this formative connection sparked my familiarity with the world of entrepreneurship and more specifically, with the course charted by entrepreneurs seeking their moment of success.

Maverick knows and fully believes that his true calling is to be the best pilot in the Navy, if not the world. The price he paid was high and personal, in friendship and professionally. His colleagues climbed the ranks (admiral) while he remained a captain.

Maverick believes in his journey and works based on his gut instinct rather than his head, or the rule book. None of the command, organizational, interpersonal, intergenerational or social background noises matter to him. He has faith in his journey, trusts his gut and his life experience.

An entrepreneur's path is full of ignorance, uncertainty, limited resources, family, friends and colleagues who doubt the idea, undermine confidence in the journey and the solution. Constant learning and repetition of how to tell the story, live it, feel, present and pass it on to potential partners or investors in a clear, concise way.

An entrepreneur has 3 minutes to present the company and tell why the problem is big and so is the opportunity, and why it would be a shame to miss this train. Maverick sets an (unattainable) goal of 00:02:15 to complete the course (I'll avoid a spoiler here…).

Maverick as an instructor understands that the key to the mission's success is returning home in one piece, and that this can happen only through teamwork, team consolidation, practice and more practice, a process to bolster faith and trust among the team of pilots.

As ntrepreneurs select their team based on similar values which encourage collaboration and self-awareness, as well as professional experience. At the end of the day, the investors are seeking a leader and a quality team they can trust.

Maverick takes it upon himself to prove to his team that the mission is achievable. Entrepreneurs ignore background noise and believe in their journey to recruit an investor or partner and to take the company higher.

Maverick's purpose lies in returning the squadron safely while carrying out the mission perfectly. This reminds me of a lecture I saw a number of years ago by Dr. Boaz Shalit, where he quoted "The summit is not the summit"; that the idea of climbing a peak and reaching the top is not the goal, rather the goal should be to reach the top and descend safely.

The keys to an entrepreneur's success: strong faith in their path, work with nearly no resources, ignoring background noise and a quality, consolidated team.

What do you consider to be the keys to an entrepreneur's success?

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