While the movie, Finding Dory can have age-appropriate life lessons woven into the story for children, many of these same lessons can carry over to teach freelancers of all ages a thing or two about their work or future path. Whether or not this movie is on your list to see, here are some lessons (and spoilers) that can help you find your way back if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or unclear about the next steps to take.

1. Keep swimming
In the movie Finding Dory, the main character, Dory has short-term memory loss which is an ongoing challenge. As a baby fish, her parents would create workarounds to help her accomplish simple tasks. She would learn songs to remember numbers and follow shells to find her way home. They were also meant to help her cope emotionally when she didn’t know what to do. If Dory were to ever get lost, her parents told her to keep swimming. It was encouraging advice they gave her to know what to do instead of panicking. It came in handy when she later found herself lost in the ocean without her friends and family.

There are times when things can go drastically wrong causing us to completely lose our way. Maybe a client leaves unexpectedly, you launch an online course but it doesn’t take off the way you expected or maybe you’re just tired of trying to collect payment from a deadbeat client. It’s easy to get discouraged and want to call it quits but like Dory, you can also keep swimming until your find your way.

2. There’s always another way

Since Dory was so forgetful, she couldn’t always remember how to do the most basic things. Following directions to go somewhere was extremely challenging. She knew she would forget the way as soon as someone told her it. By compensating for her weakness, she became very good at coming up with creative solutions to get the desired result based on the few flashbacks of her childhood with her parents that she could remember. She talked through the pipes at the aquarium with her whale friend to help her find her way. She also relied on another friend’s echolocation to spot a truck on the highway with her friends inside.

While it might not be ideal to comb through grains of sand with a metal detector at the beach if you’re not quite making ends meet as a freelancer, it couldn’t hurt to find other ways to generate more revenue. Think about offering your services in a different way or try getting free publicity for your business in print articles or podcasts. While initially this might seem like a big deal, it could just be a little bump in the road that can actually push you to increase your profits further than you would have otherwise.

3. Lean on others

While it’s great to do things on our own, we are often reminded that in certain situations we need to get help. When Hank the octopus and Dory first meet, he initially angles for a tag that is placed on her from the Marine Institute. He knows that he can escape if he gets it from her. Dory mistakenly ended up in the California aquarium and just wants to find her parents. They join forces and work together to leave. Once Hank does his part to get Dory where she wants to go, he gets the tag which is his ticket to freedom out of the aquarium.

Freelancers can also keep this in mind if you find yourself in a rough space because an article you’ve written accidentally gets deleted or content suddenly disappears from your website, leaving it completely barren and useless. While it is devastating and you might want to pull your hair out or kick the wall, it’s probably better to stay calm and take logical steps to work your way out of this type of challenge. Getting a hold of professionals in charge to see what they can do probably makes the most sense. If they can’t “flip a switch” to make it all better, at least they can possibly get a hold of some backup files.That’s a real life example of how you can lean on others when it’s easier to just freak out.

The Bottom Line

If you’re feeling discouraged, in a tough spot with your work or if you temporarily put your dreams on hold because you hit a snag, take note of Dory in Pixar’s Finding Dory movie. The simplistic life lessons can also apply to your more sophisticated work-related issues and help you find your way out of a jam.



Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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