1996’s Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise is a film that will forever be known for one line. When Cruise emotionally professes to Renee Zellweger’s character, “You complete me” as Secret Garden plays in the background it’s not easily forgotten. The film is full of great quotable lines, whether it’s “Show me the money” or “Help me, help you!  However, once you’re able to get past the films quotable lines, it does offer some extremely insightful career advice. Read on for the full breakdown.

Lighting a Spark

In the beginning of the film, the son of an injured football player asks Jerry (the player’s agent) what he stands for, and he’s shocked to find he has no response. “At 14 I wasn’t lost for that answer. At 18 I wasn’t lost for an answer. At 35 I was blown away that I had no answer” he states, bewildered. These are the thoughts of fictional Jerry Maguire who realizes he has been working for all the wrong reasons. Jerry has an epiphany that he should be focusing on personal connections and fulfilling work instead of quantity over quality.

These thoughts find themselves into the 25 page mission statement he writes and presents the next day at work, after a moment of inspiration the night before. Jerry hurries the mission statement to a printer, and distributes copies at work the next day. In the film the audience only hears a few select lines from the entirety of the statement entitled, The Things We Think and Do Not Say. Behind the scenes, Writer and Director of the film Cameron Crowe actually wrote out the entire 25 page statement. Although fictional, it provides great character background, insight, and job advice. If you’re interested in the full statement it can be found here on the director’s official site.

What You Stand For

This mission statement begins with Jerry discussing how out of touch their business is with anything real and personal, and he notes that, “After 35 years, I feel that I have never done that one thing, that noble thing that defines a life.”

His job has become too focused on profit, and he isn’t able to feel proud about what he does. He asks, “how can we turn a job, in small but important ways, into a better representation of ourselves?”. Every individual brings something different to a job in both their skills and their outlook. Realizing what you truly want to do to achieve your own goals within a role is incredibly important. Having this clarity will lead to a more fulfilling career. “Love the job, be the job” Crowe writes, in the mindset of the fictional Mr. Maguire.

The Importance of Personal Relationships

Within the film, Jerry has his own mentor, Dicky Fox, a fictional sports manager who has been in the business for a while. Mr. Fox wrote a memoir entitled A Happy Life that holds a lot of his wisdom and beliefs. Most importantly he mentions, “the key to business is personal relationships”. This sentiment is echoed at the end of Jerry’s mission statement to the letter. People have a huge impact on how we do our jobs, and whether or not we succeed. Making sure you surround yourself with meaningful and fulfilling relationships will go a long way towards job satisfaction.

Lastly, in his final quote in the film Dicky Fox says, “I don’t have all the answers, I’ve succeeded as much as I’ve failed.” This is just as important as his comment on personal relationships. Despite his failures, he is still regarding as a huge success in the industry, enough so to write his own book and act as a mentor to Jerry. It is easy to get caught up in our mistakes as employees. However, every mistake provides a lesson learned, and works as the foundation for another success. So don’t get too caught up in your failures, just use them to drive future success!