I read Laura Hillenbrand's thrilling story, Seabiscuit: An American Legend, and couldn't help but recognize the parallel between women in the business world and a great racehorse who has a fighting spirit like no other. With the film version of Ms. Hillenbrand's book in theaters now, women will see it and embrace the rich complexities of a subject similar to themselves.

Let's examine eight lessons women can learn from Seabiscuit, the horse that achieved greatness while captivating our imaginations.

1. Learn your horse... or person

Let's face it. Women can be mysterious—happy one day, sad the next. We can be ruthless but charming. Yet for a woman to do well in the business world, she needs a close observer who knows her, realizes her potential, cultivates it and sees that others get out of her way to enable her success.

Women must actively identify executives who have clout in an organization and with whom they have rapport and ask them to be mentors. Mentors help women learn what goes on in boardrooms and how executives make critical decisions. In other words, a mentor must “learn the woman,” for her to do well.

2. Make friends

Just as Seabiscuit required loyal animal companions to feel safe, secure and ready to do his best, women need something similar in the workplace. When you develop loyal friends, you learn how to relax and do your best work.

3. Turn your competitive instincts outward

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Laurel Delaney (LaurelDelaney.com) is the founder of GlobeTrade.com and the creator of "Borderbuster," an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog. She can be reached at ldelaney@globetrade.com.