3 Career Lessons from Dany Targaryen

With the final episode of HBO’s mega hit “Game of Thrones” airing on June 26, millions of fans will be on the edge of their seats to see what happens next and who will rule the Iron Throne. Although the drama series is fantasy, some things can be applied in real life, especially when it comes to careers. “One of the show’s most popular and striking characters is Daenerys Targaryen, a queen and the mother of dragons,” said Lindsey Plewa-Schottland, an Associate Director of Graduate Career Management. “She is not only a fascinating character but also a terrific source of inspiration for our work lives.”

game of thrones dany Lifestyle Blogger Mercedes Sanchez at a Game of Thrones viewing party 

According to Plewa-Schottland, we can learn three valuable lessons from Daenerys Targaryen whether searching for a new job or building a career:

1. She has trusted advisors. Don’t go at it alone. Daenerys Targaryen selects loyal people who she trusts to give advice when needing to make tough decisions. Right now, Tyrion Lannister and Grey Worm are just two of the many people in her inner circle. Whether making a career change or negotiating for a higher salary or new title, think of who you want to be in your circle of trusted advisors. Just as commanding an army and overseeing dragons is a tall order for Daenerys at times, the changes that come with our career can be challenging. Having another point of view to help sort through difficult decisions can make a huge difference for your career in the long-run.

2. She promotes her brand wherever, whenever. Create and stick to your personal brand. Daenerys Targaryen is always consistent in describing herself - “I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen. Daenerys Targaryen: The First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khalisee of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.” There are two parts to this lesson. The first is knowing your personal brand; what are the character traits and skills that you are known for by colleagues? What is unique about the way you do what you do? Once you’ve identified these traits and skills, promote them through various channels: your email signature, your social media profiles, on your business card, and when being introduced.

3. She trusts her instincts and doesn't give up. Cultivate confidence. Whether negotiating and ultimately securing 8,000 unsullied soldiers in season 3, or confronting a large group of Dothraki leaders in season 6, Daenerys always exudes confidence despite some major setbacks along the way. Searching for a job or navigating the next chapter of your career is hard, and sometimes scary, as we often don’t know where a path will lead. The main thing we can do is trust our instincts, follow leads, be open to conversations with new people, and attend industry events we find intriguing. By taking these small steps each day, we can eventually end up where we want to be; we just have to start somewhere.

Lindsey Plewa-Schottland has coached thousands of students on how to successfully navigate a job search for over a decade. She is currently the Associate Director of Career Advising at the Zicklin School of Business where she ensures that MBA and MS students' needs are met through effective coaching sessions and innovative programs.  She holds an MA and two professional certificates, one in Adult Career Planning and one in Leadership Skills, from NYU.

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