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Eleanor Shellstrop has died and woken up in the afterlife, which looks a lot like an average suburban neighborhood. It’s sunny, full of frozen yogurt shops, and the residents get a customized home to live in, built by a local architect named Michael.
Eleanor is in what’s referred to as “The Good Place,” but there’s just one problem. Michael tells Eleanor she was accepted because she spent her life on Earth helping others selflessly … only Eleanor never did that. She’s actually a bad person in a perfect utopia.
Now, she has to hide her imperfect past from everyone she meets, from her assigned soul mate to Michael himself, because she’s guaranteed to be sent to “The Bad Place” if she doesn’t.
I know what you’re thinking—what does a TV show with an afterlife premise have to do with entrepreneurship? Without spoiling too much, here are some of the lessons “The Good Place” can offer entrepreneurs at every stage of their business.
Kristen Bell (Eleanor) and Ted Danson (Michael) star in “The Good Place.”
While Eleanor is in The Good Place, she gets to know more of its residents including her assigned soulmate, Chidi, the philanthropist Tahani, a silent monk named Jianyu, and Janet, a programmed guide who provides everyone in The Good Place with requested information.
Eleanor spends the most time with Chidi, a former ethics professor who promises to keep Eleanor’s secret and teach her how to become a better person. She also relies on Janet to answer questions she has about The Good Place and to keep the questions she asks confidential.
When entrepreneurs need help, the best thing they can do is surround themselves with a network of professionals that can assist them. These may include close friends and family, mentors, or personal/financial advisors who have all been there before and have plenty of experience to benefit you and your business.
Imposter syndrome—or the fear that you’ll be exposed as a fraud despite having existing accomplishments—follows virtually every major character in The Good Place. When strange things start happening in the neighborhood, Michael recruits Eleanor to help him investigate what’s going on. Eleanor knows that she’s the reason why all of those things are happening and nervously agrees to help, even though she risks her true nature coming out as a result.
No matter how accomplished you are as an entrepreneur, allowing imposter syndrome to creep in has the potential to harm you on a psychological level. Don’t let this to happen to you!
Eleanor’s tactic to keeping herself from being found out is by distracting Michael from his investigation as much as possible. For entrepreneurs, the key to triumphing over imposter syndrome ranges from embracing making mistakes to focusing on strategic steps they can take to reach big goals. Have faith in your own abilities and be ready and willing to keep learning.
As spoiler-free as I can make this sentence, Team Cockroach is the name of Eleanor’s squad including Chidi, Tahani, and Jianyu. They might look mismatched on the surface, but each member brings a special talent to the group that allows them to truly work together as a team.
Eleanor wouldn’t be able to go it alone in The Good Place without the help of her team members, and the same can be said for entrepreneurs. At the start they might try to do everything on their own, but attempting to wear a lot of different hats successfully wears thin on anyone. Make a point of recruiting talented people who understand elements of your business that you don’t. Together, you’ll ultimately help grow the small business to new heights that it might not have reached otherwise.