The Little Engine That Could
In 1930, a children’s fairytale called “The Little Engine That Could” was published. The story was written to teach children about optimism and hard work. I’ve always loved the book and enjoyed reading it to others. As a refresher, at least one version, a long train needs to be pulled up a hill and the main engine breaks down. Bigger engines are asked to come pull the train up the hill, but they all say no. Finally, the request comes to a little red engine. The Little Engine says yes and manages to pull the long train up the hill by saying, “I think I can, I think I can.” It is a very touching and feel-good story.
Why am I bringing up a children’s story? Well, as business owners and leaders we find ourselves in similar situations. I know many CEOs and leaders, myself included, who at one point or another have:
- Questioned why we are doing what we are doing
- Hit a point where we are so tired and frustrated that it also affects our employees and our families
- Had more than we can handle with one or more of our people
- Wondered how we would make payroll for month
- Questioned our strategic plan
- More frustrations with people (it is big, so it gets two bullets)
- And more …
The fact is that things won’t always be smooth sailing in business or in life. There are always highs and lows. The question is how to get through it and find a way to keep yourself and your team motivated.
Yes, I Can!
Having a positive attitude like the Little Engine is great. “I think I can, I think I can.” Let’s make it a bit more relatable (although I personally love the Little Engine). Many have leaders who inspire them. These could be people in sports, business, science, or leaders in peace such as Ghandi or Mother Teresa. Think of those leaders as motivators and look at what they accomplished despite the trials they went through.
There is another way to potentially find a way to inspire yourself and your team. It’s so easy to forget all that we have and everything that we should be grateful for. Whatever your current situation is, it can be solved. There is always an answer.
Please watch this video, it will move you and inspire you. It will remind you that with an optimistic outlook and hard work, anything is possible. It reminded me of the Little Red Engine story, and that instead of complaining about having to do the dishes I should feel fortunate that I get to do the dishes (meaning there are many who don’t have food and aren’t able to do dishes). Most things in our life we don’t have to do, but we get to do.
Let me know how this motivated you and how you can apply it in your business and your life.
By Blair Koch