After eight epic seasons, Game Of Thrones has finally come to an end. While others scramble for a bit of Iron Throne shrapnel, some of us were finding souvenirs of the business kind…

LOVE it or loathe it, there’s no denying that Game Of Thrones has successfully captivated an audience of millions over its eight season run. With its heady mix of medieval battles, feuding families and fantastical beasts, the series turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters in television history.

But, dire wolves, dragons and Ramsay Bolton’s infamous sausage wiggling aside, there were some great business lessons to be learned — especially when it comes to personal branding. And the best character to serve our educational needs? None other than Daenerys Targaryen, Mother Of Dragons.

(WARNING: THERE ARE TEASERS BEYOND THIS MARK!)

She of the golden tresses and eyebrows that deserved their own cast listings (one each, we reckon) took us on a journey filled with entrepreneurial tutelage, spanning her early appearances as a young maiden thrust into an arranged marriage to her final days as a powerful queen, filled with pain and rage and teetering on the edge of tyrannical rule.

Here, for your delight, delectation and in memory of dragons long lost, I present to you the personal branding lessons of our beloved Stormborn (with a few tips on entrepreneurship for good measure).

LESSON ONE: SELF-BELIEF

At the tender age of 16, our Dany was given away by her cruel brother, Viserys, who used her as a bargaining chip with Dothraki leader Khal Drogo. Rather than shrink, our blonde bombshell found her fire and learned to stand in her power — a trait that only made her new husband love her more.

That sense of self and determination led to her learning the Dothraki language and being seen as an equal by her spouse. Daenerys learned to stand up to her brother, gained admiration from the Dothraki as she tucked into the heart of a stallion and convinced her husband to help her take the Iron Throne.

Message: We cannot expect people to believe in us if we do not believe in ourselves. When we tap into that sense of self-worth and inner strength, when we step into our own power and speak from the heart, people are far more likely to believe in us and support us in our ventures.

LESSON TWO: FIND YOUR COURAGE

We’ve all heard coaches and personal development gurus harping on about comfort zones — hell, I’ve talked about them myself plenty — but nothing quite displays that depth of courage and determination to learn and grow than killing your warrior husband in an act of mercy, then walking into a raging inferno to join him (remembering to take the dragon eggs gifted to celebrate your wedding, of course).

It’s fair to say none of us are likely to walk alive from a giant funeral pyre, let alone with a trio of baby dragons, but the lessons here are plain to see: Daenerys had already started to win people over with her strength of character, but being brave enough to display such courage (as well as a pinch of vulnerability) won her an army of supporters and set her on a path that would lead to all of Westeros knowing her name.

Why am I talking about vulnerability when the woman had three fire-breathing beasts at her side? Because back then, those dragons were barely bigger than teacup Yorkies AND she was brave enough to walk from the ashes totally naked — you don’t get much more vulnerable than that!

Message: It’s one thing believing in yourself, but being willing to display that self-belief and faith in your convictions openly takes huge courage. When we stop hiding and start sharing our story — the truth of who we are and the dreams we’re striving to achieve — people sit up and take not even more. We move from people knowing who we are to people believing in us and becoming advocates for our business and brand.

LESSON THREE: MAKE THE MISSION BIGGER THAN YOU

Some people talk about having a ‘why’. I prefer to talk about having a mission — something that drives us, something we believe in so deeply and passionately that it gets us out of bed on those chilly mornings in the north, when we’d much rather stay under our furs than wonder what might lie beyond the wall.

Whatever we think about Dany’s personal desires as the series progressed, at one point she was utterly determined to liberate as many slaves as she could and, after leading by example and becoming known as The Breaker Of Chains, she earned more respect and admiration from those who believed in her cause.

When she took the Unsullied under her dragon wing and commanded them to kill all the slave masters and free all the slaves in Astapor, she created thousands of fans and followers in one fell swoop.

Message: Be brave enough to share your mission with the world and make it something with heart — something that matters and has far greater and wider impact than growing your bank balance for personal gain.

LESSON FOUR: BE WILLING TO DIVIDE OPINION

There was a good old class system teaching when Daenerys and her army of unsullied freed the slaves and set about liberating even more, in Yunkai and beyond. In order to grant so many their freedom, our Mother Of Dragons made enemies of wealthy slave traders — and houses happy to depend on the services of people enslaved against their will.

Yep, Blondie Stormborn was not swayed by riches or titles — she stuck to her mission, even when the challenges grew deadly. Of course, it did help that she had dragons to burn her enemies and an army to protect her back.

Message: Don’t be beige. Beige never offends people, but it’s nobody’s favourite colour either. You cannot build a successful personal brand — or business — by constantly attempting to please everyone. Be brave enough to hold an opinion, and stick to your beliefs even in the face of trolls and naysayers.

LESSON FIVE: FORM GOOD ALLIANCES

Though Daenerys has been known to occasionally command her dragons to dracarys people to a pile of ashes, she would never have become so successful without her allies. Khal Drogo, Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm — even Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow as the series progressed. Oh — and her fiery, scaly triplets, of course.

Whether it was liberating slaves, vanquishing white walkers or setting her sights on the Iron Throne, Dany had carefully chosen advisors by her side to help her achieve her aims.

Message: Though your business and your ideas might be all your own, it never hurts to have trusted allies to help you reach your goals. For us, that might mean joint venture partners, coaches, accountability buddies or even friendly journalists, podcasters and media types who believe in our offering and will help us to spread our message far and wide.

LESSON SIX: BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO ACCEPT THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL AGREE WITH YOU

As pure as Daenerys believed her liberation mission to be, she was confronted by quite a tough lesson when she discovered that some of the slaves in Mereen were not happy about being freed.

Though it went against her own beliefs strongly, she had to concede that true freedom of will meant them being able to decide their fates for themselves.

Message: You might believe your mission — or your products and services — to be the best thing since sliced bread, but you’ll need to accept that not everyone will love them as much as you.

This one isn’t so much about being willing to divide opinion, but about being willing to swallow the odd slice of humble pie and not be offended by people’s indifference. It’s easy to go on the defensive and take things far too personally in business, but stomping your feet and needing a dose of mardy cream might not be the best behaviours to display when it comes to your personal brand.

LESSON SEVEN: BE OPEN TO NEW IDEAS

Sometimes it can be tough to hold onto self-belief, conviction and confidence without tipping into ego and arrogance. When Jon Snow first told Daenerys of the White Walkers and asked for her support in the battles to come, she did not believe they existed outside of myths and folklore.

Had she refused to listen to reason, things may have been very, very different. At the very least, Arya Stark might never have had her moment of glory with the Night King.

Message: Don’t be too stuck in your ways. Think about all those once big-name businesses who refused to change their practices as the internet came to desktops and smartphones across the globe. Instead of being dismissive — or afraid — of things you don’t quite understand, listen, learn and be willing to adapt.

LESSON EIGHT: BEWARE BECOMING A TYRANNICAL DICTATOR

Okay, this might not happen to many of us, but Dany’s suitability as a fair and just ruler of The Seven Kingdoms definitely fell into question by the time the final season of Game Of Thrones was well underway.

Feeling betrayed, full of pain and anguish at losing those closest to her, AND discovering her lover was actually her nephew and rightful heir to the throne, Queen Daenerys fired her remaining dragon’s burners at full power and needlessly torched Kings Landing — including all the innocent people within.

There was only really one way this could go. At the risk of mixing a bit of AMC with my HBO, just look at the flowers, Dany, look at the flowers.

Keen GOT fans (me included) will argue that the signs were there all along and that someone had to send her off to be reunited with her children, Rhaegal and Viserion. You might say her emotional woundings and battle rage sealed her fate and no amount of speeches about liberation and creating a better world would compensate for so many lives lost.

A better world according to who?

Message: Of course, you’re not about to hop onto a giant flying lizard and scorch up your competitors, but if we allow too much ego, arrogance (and sometimes a dash of fear or competition mindset) to cloud our outlook, we can start to display as, errm, a bit of an arse.

Remember your mission. Remember what’s driving you. Hold onto your compassion and kindness. Give yourself some downtime when you need it, get some good personal development, maybe invest in a coach to keep you on track.

Ultimately, it can take years to build a strong, respected personal brand that people want to support and encourage, and just a few thoughtless actions in the heat of the moment to bring it all crashing down.

THAT’S ALL, FOLKS

I hope that provided some useful food for thought — it has to be better food than the Red Wedding fare, doesn’t it? Or that fine wine supped by King Joffrey?

Of course, this has been a fun romp around the Seven Kingdoms, though there have been some serious lessons we can all use.

Please, when it comes to your personal brand, think about how you’d like to be remembered — and what’s more likely to make people want to do business with you. Would you rather be seen as Euron Greyjoy or Brienne Of Tarth? Jon Snow or Ramsay Bolton? Walder Frey or Eddard Stark?

You get the picture. That’s probably enough for now.

Until next time,

#UnleashYourAwesome,

Taz

x


Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.

Taz is also a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards), consultant and creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMastery personal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists.

She has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network.

Find her on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Insta.