What I Learned from Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia Movie PosterA few weeks ago, I watched Julie & Julia. I never had any intention to watch this movie, but there was something that intrigued me about it when it appeared on my guide while flipping channels. Maybe something about Stanley Tucci.

I was so glad that I watched the movie in its entirety. And not for the regular reasons like it was so entertaining or I need to watch it again, or it gave me a good cry. No, it was mainly because the life lessons in the movie are so true for everyone, and it beautifully captures many pitfalls to avoid on your path to success.

1. Set a Goal. Then divide it into digestible chunks.

Julie decided she was going to write a blog. A blog about working her way through each recipe in the Julia Child cookbook. Then she had to break it down per day, and decide when she was going to write. If you say that you are going to do 400+ things in 365 days, that’s pretty scary. But if you say that I am going to do 1-2 recipes every day and then blog once a day, that’s actually easy, and a great way to track your progress.

2. Don’t Keep up with your Friends/Acquaintances/Neighbours/Colleagues/Family/etc….

It’s amazing how easy it is to fall in the trap of doing what everyone else is doing so you don’t have to explain what you are doing differently. Follow the beat of your own drum. Do what makes you happy, not what makes other people happy. We are here to shine. Don’t dim your light for the sake of others.

3. Quality Time is the Best Time

There is a scene in the movie where Julie is at lunch with her friends and they are all comparing how amazing they are and how great their jobs are and Julie feels really out of place because she hates her job and she wants to write. A lot of the time Julie cannot get a word in edge-wise, and a lot of the time they are all taking calls on their cell phones. It reminded me of how important human connection is – really listening to those you are with, and putting away any distractions that allow you to not pay attention to who you are with. Remember, people always remember how you made them feel.

4. Opportunities can come from anywhere

Julie has a round-about way of starting her famous blog. It started from an extremely negative experience that she goes through. She then got a book deal and a movie out of it. Be open to possibilities. Even negative turns in your life can be the springboard to something beautiful and magical.

5. Keep at It

At one point, Julie’s mom was nagging her to stop blogging (keep in mind this was before blogging was really popular). She got discouraged more than once. But she kept at it. Find a reason to move forward. Whether it be the integrity factor (she made a promise to do it) or mastery (it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something) or because you blabbed it on Facebook and now you have to deliver. Your dreams will come true when you persevere.

6. Stay humble

Don’t let your mini celebrity get to your head. Don’t forget the people who helped get you to the top. Make sure you give yourself daily/weekly/monthly reminders as to why you started in the first place.

7. Trust your Instincts

Julia just moved forward with a fun personality and not taking no for an answer. From proving that a woman could be just as good a chef as a man, to keeping at publishing her cookbook, she just decided that this was what she wanted to do and no one could tell her different. Be the same with your dreams.

8. Bounce back from Setbacks

Setbacks, challenges, disappointments and problems are going to happen. Might as well learn from them and move on. I’m not saying you should ignore what’s happening, but you should definitely not wallow in the “should’ve been’s” and the “could’ve beens”. Ask, “What can I appreciate from this?” Tony Robbins said “The only problem is to think you shouldn’t have problems.” Feel, learn and move on! Failure is just another way of learning.

9. Build a Team

Search out people that will support you through your journey. As much as it seems easier to do it alone, most of the time it’s not. Find family, friends, church members, work colleagues, club members, life coaches, personal trainers…whoever you need to cheer you on and help you achieve your goals. Weed out the accomplices of negative thought/behaviours and focus on those who can help you thrive.

10. Measure Success in Your Own Terms

It’s easy to say “I’ll be happy when…” and it’s really easy to put our success on the shoulders of others. We do it every day. Will my boss approve? Will my parents like this? I say that you shouldn’t just do things without thinking of others, but you should also make sure that your happiness and success doesn’t rely on someone else’s opinion. Make sure you set out what success looks like for you before you start so you know what it will look like at the end (or even during!).

If you’ve watched Julie & Julia, I would love to hear what you learned. Even if you haven’t watched, is there something you can add to these lessons from you doing something amazing? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

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