“Show me the money!”

I remember this legendary line that Jerry Maguire yells hysterically so vividly. Quite honestly, I rolled on the floor laughing when I heard it and continue to think that is one of the most hilarious scenes in modern film history.

After being in real estate over the last few decades, it resonates with me even more now. Jerry Maguire reflects the most perfect commonly known super successful salesman in this story. The director, Cameron Crowe, captures the nuances of this world so well; especially the internal struggle Jerry goes through on his way to enlightenment. You see, our main protagonist is THE top sports agent in L.A. and working for SMI, the largest and arguably best sports agency on the planet. It’s a fast paced, high intensity, high pressure sales environment and Jerry operates as skillfully as a modern-day Van Goh in a world of average commoners.

The movie opens as he’s visiting one of his clients in the hospital who’s recovering after his 4th concussion. When the players’ son hears his Dad say he must keep playing in order to be eligible to get his signing bonus, this child proceeds to ask why Jerry won’t “make him stop” playing the game to preserve his fathers declining health, to which Jerry condescends to the concerned child that “no one could stop your dad even if they tried”. Ultimately, the child calls Jerry out for being an insensitive self-serving “suit”, which strikes a very thick chord with Jerry as he realizes what he’s just done.

He literally thinks to himself, “Am I just another shark in a suit?” That evening sitting alone with his thoughts in his apartment, Maguire begins to have a moment of clarity and just starts writing; words flowed out from his soul and into his computer document. It was a true moment of self-reflection for Jerry and the start of his transformation. The end result… A “Mission Statement” focusing on building personal client relationships as opposed to bringing on more clients—he encourages leadership that their strategy as an organization should be about making less money and giving more attention to the clients.

Within the evolution of Jerry Maguire is where we find several themes throughout the film that we all can apply right now and better ourselves today!

Here are the 5 themes that stood out to me—and if you want to watch this film for yourself to see what themes stick out to you or you just want some good entertainment, Jerry Maguire is available for purchase or rental on Amazon Prime Video right now– happy watching!

Lesson 1. Know Thyself

Jerry provides a copy of the “mission statement” he wrote to everyone at SMI. Upon arriving to work the next day, he realizes everyone has actually read it and he immediately regrets what he had done, intuitively feeling this could backfire on him. For goodness sake, he was preaching about having fewer clients and making less money! There was probably a better way to convey this message but, this is his true self in that moment and he couldn’t help but let it out.

The take away here? Take a step back and get a good look at who you are– who are you and who do you want to be? Peel back your layers and get real on some things. If you have an “icky” feeling inside that doesn’t match the goal of who you want to be or what you want to be known for, then it’s time to change something. That’s called cognitive dissonance and if you are not aligned, it can eat you up from the inside out.

The good news is once you find out who you are, you can define who you want to be and take actions to get yourself there. Jerry had regrets for expressing his newfound good conscience, but that’s to be expected when you do a complete 180 as he did. Don’t be afraid to change the pattern of how you’ve been operating; just go with it. Change is never easy but it’s necessary.

By the way, if you’re curious to read the full manuscript of Jerry’s “mission statement” in it’s entirety, it’s been made available here– enjoy!

Lesson 2. Stay strong to your values in the face of adversity

Boom. Jerry’s protégé, Bob Sugar, takes him to lunch the same day the “mission statement” gets distributed company-wide and fires him. It’s the direct result of Jerry’s values being on full and vulnerable display.

Fight for what you believe in, my friends, even if it leaves you temporarily hurt mentally and/or emotionally. In the end, your values need to match your goals and who you are. Otherwise, they hold zero weight and you won’t push past your comfort zone to move the needle in your life. Fight and claw to find your tribe and work to enrich people’s lives with the gifts you’ve been blessed with. Your “why” will propel you past adversity and the people you surround yourself with will become your support system and accountability component. Iron always sharpens iron. Temporary inconvenience is the payment for long term happiness.

Lesson 3. Don’t stoop to someone else’s level just to win the moment

You might win the battle but you are not going to win the war.

Post Jerry’s firing, Bob Sugar uses every tactic he learned (from Jerry ironically) to steal all of Jerry’s clients. Jerry is clawing to keep everyone he can– making hundreds of calls, offering lower rates, promising more personal attention– but ends up sinking fast. Bob Sugar and his associates keep winning everyone over. Jerry finally reaches Arizona Cardinal Wide Receiver, Rod Tidwell, who is a talker to say the least. Tidwell keeps him tied up on the phone so long that Jerry ends up losing all his clients to Bob Sugar. However, Jerry sticks with it and puts all his attention on Rod during those moments. Jerry is Rod’s guide and he’s there to help. This is where the “Show me the money” scene takes place, so if you’d like to relive that moment, I suggest a quick Youtube search when you’re finished reading here.

Eventually, by taking care of Rod and making him a priority in that high-stakes moment, Rod ends up taking care of Jerry. They become more than just an agent and his client. They become friends, and ultimately family. Surface-level relationships are just that, surface level. Skim the top and that’s the kind of loyalty you’ll get. However, delving deeper into relationships, nurturing them and being authentically interested in helping others will unlock so much more than just a business opportunity for you. It will unleash purpose. That’s what Jerry found. His purpose.

Lesson 4. Do you not put all your eggs in one basket and for goodness sake, get the darn contract signed!

Jerry goes and visits “Kush”, the prospective #1 pick in the NFL draft. It’s every agents dream to represent the #1 pick, so this is like winning the Super Bowl for the sports agent world. Jerry persuades Kush’s father to select him to represent Kush in the draft. Even though they did not sign a contract, Kush’s dad says “My word is stronger than oak”, they shake hands and the deal is “closed”. Dream client … Check! Or so Jerry thought.

Maguire ends up at the draft and discovers Kush does in fact believe in signing contracts, having signed with Bob Sugar behind Jerry’s back. The ship sinks faster than the Titanic at this point. However, Rod Tidwell is sitting in the wings—ever the loyal client, sticking with Jerry, no matter what. Their relationship grows into an honest and evolving friendship as we’ve mentioned already. Sometimes you have to understand that going after the “Big Whale” in business is fine and dandy, but don’t forget to recognize those true relationships in your life—remain loyal yourself and help as many people you can on the way. It will come back to you ten-fold.

Also, putting all your eggs into one basket is never a good idea and takes away from all of your other potential opportunities. Be a seeker; never solely settle for what you think is best in the moment because chances are there are several opportunities out there just waiting for you to come along and nurture them.

Finally, does it even have to be said? Get your contracts signed people. And before you ever sign anything, READ IT FIRST! That’s just Business 101. Ok, moving on….

Lesson 5. Ying & Yang– finding your puzzle piece

Jerry inspires an accountant, Dorothy Boyd, from SMI to go with him and his goldfish to start his new company. Mind you, this new company is an organization of 2 (plus the fish) with no medical or dental insurance options.

Dorothy, a single mother, takes a leap of faith and blindly jumps in head first because of Jerry’s “mission statement”. She realized her values were in line with his and she was inspired by how those words made her feel. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different. He was a salesman, and she was a number cruncher. However, she fills in his gaps and he fills in hers. They even each other out and after falling in love, getting married and going through a roller coaster ride in their relationship, they finally come to the realization that they “complete each other”.

Now I’m not telling you to go out and marry someone just to become business partners. But the moral of the story here is to find someone that balances you out, whether in life or business. It’s impossible to be good at absolutely everything. When you align yourself with the right partners, clients and friends, they will inevitably fill in your gaps, whatever those might be, for the better.

That said, you and your business colleagues or life partner need to be equally yoked with similar core values and goals so that you can be efficient as a team, cover more ground and tackle challenges from a wide array of angles. Plus, it can be very insightful seeing things from someone else’s perspective.

These are just a few themes that stuck out to me about this brilliantly crafted and directed film, Jerry Maguire. Now what will you do to “show somebody the money?!?!?!?”