Dragons symbolize power, bravery, and heroism.

Leadership Lessons

These three attributes of dragons should be present in ideal leaders. By the way, leadership doesn’t always translate to being at the head of a boardroom or ruling a country.

We all have what it takes to be leaders of our own lives, and to choose our own paths by unleashing the dragons within us.

Lisbeth Salander and Daenerys Targaryen are two popular and recognizable fictional characters. They may have very different backgrounds, but there’s one thing they have in common: being attributed as mighty dragon women.

We all know Salander as “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” from the book trilogy of Stieg Larsson, while Daenerys Targaryen is The Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi from the book turned TV series “Game of Thrones.”

Now, what do these two women have in common? They know how to take charge of their lives. In short, they have leadership qualities that we can all learn from.

Here are five life leadership lessons coming from these “dragon ladies”:

1. Learning to Adapt

Life wasn’t a smooth ride for either of them.

In “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” series, we are introduced to Lisbeth Salander as a gifted and asocial hacker dressed in black garb, piercings, and a dragon tattoo on her back. Her past is just as dark as her get-up. It’s been found out later on in the books that her father abused her mother.

When she was 12, Lisbeth set her own father on fire while he was in a car, and for this, she was confined to a mental institution for children until she was 15.

She found a caring guardian through Holger Palmgren, and Lisbeth tried to live normally by getting a job at her guardian’s former company. When Palmgren got sick, Lisbeth was entrusted to Nils Bjurman, who then sexually abused her. She was able to take revenge on him, and freed herself from this harrowing situation.

Along the way, she helped disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist to solve a decades-old mystery about the missing niece of Vanger Enterprises’ owner, and also uncovered a serial killer going around Sweden at the same time. Life has never been the same for Salander after her encounter with Blomkvist.

Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen may be born with royal blood, but it didn’t guarantee her a charmed life. Her abusive brother, Viserys, sold her off to the Dothraki tribe for an arranged marriage with Khal Drogo, their leader. Viserys did this in order to gain an army.

At first, Daenerys was afraid and hesitant at having to live her new life. But she learned to deal with this situation by studying the Dothraki language, and finding out that she is more capable than she realized. She found love with her husband and discovered how to be a powerful and capable Khaleesi.

Looking at the lives of Salander and Daenerys, we all know that life gives us unfortunate situations. Sometimes, it’s more than what we can handle. But it’s up to us on how we react to it.

We can push forward. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you face the problem and deal with it. Even if we make wrong decisions, we can still learn something.

2. Defining your Goals in Life

What are your goals in life? You should have a clear picture of this so that nothing can stop you, even if circumstances aren’t always the best.

Lisbeth and Daenerys know this well. The struggles they experienced in life didn’t hinder them from living the life they deserved. They took charge of present opportunities, so they can achieve a better way of living.

P.S. Though it’s well known that Lisbeth Salander takes harmful actions sometimes to solve her problems, it’s not advised to necessarily do the same in real life. It’s about learning from her positive qualities (and others as well), and living life with your self-respect intact.

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3. Knowing Who Your Allies Are

You don’t have to go through life alone, as there would be people around you who will sincerely support you and help you out if needed. Daenerys did not lose support along the way long after her husband died, because she showed compassion towards the tribe, and that made her worthy of being a queen.

With Salander, it seems as if that there were always people who were ready to plot against her. She was accused of murdering three people, which included the death of her former guardian Nils Bjurman. But she found unlikely allies who were willing to prove her innocence, like her friend Mikael Blomkvist and his sister Annika, who volunteered to be Salander’s lawyer.

These allies knew that Salander was not as bad as people thought she was.

Know the people in your life who will always be there for you, whether it’s leading a company or even living simply.

People who are your true allies are hard to find. But once you’ve got them, don’t let go of them. And you can also be a good ally to someone else who needs help. Talk about a give and take exchange.

4. Overcoming Challenges

It’s been said that “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” This means that though the odds may be against you, there are still solutions that you can think of so you can overcome any roadblocks that you encounter.

By helping themselves as well as learning to accept help from their allies, Lisbeth Salander and Daenerys Targaryen were able to surpass difficulties that they experienced.

Though it wasn’t always a happy ending, they learned from their situations, and they emerged as stronger individuals.

5. Resilience and Persistence

These two traits are common denominators seen in both Salander and Khaleesi. They accept their current situation, but it doesn’t mean that they give up.

Rather, this acceptance comes with a resolve to make good out of the situation, and to persist in going at it, no matter how difficult it gets.

This type of persistence gives birth to resilience. Being resilient is not about being in denial of what happens, but rather, an acknowledgement of reality and not letting it get you down.

Being resilient means knowing how to adjust and adapt while staying strong in the midst of it all. These two traits can help bring out the leader in you, not just with a group, but also with how you live your life.

Start with Yourself

These qualities can help a person become a leader with anything they plan to do in life. Leadership isn’t about lording over everyone, but rather, it’s about starting with yourself.

You help yourself before you help out everybody else.

Seeing these positive traits of Lisbeth Salander and the Khaleesi will give you a picture of what it’s like to take the lead, starting with yourself. Then you can be sure that you can lead the way for others to emulate.

What Can You Learn from Dragon Women?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Eliza Sullin
Eliza is studying Psychology. Her love for reading the Millennium series by Steig Larsson and watching Game of Thrones helped her write this piece about leadership qualities as seen through Lisbeth Salander and the Khaleesi.
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