A classic childhood story we carry into our world of adulting, The Little Engine That Could. This captivating tale draws us into the world of the tiniest of train engines, who displays courage and bravery when she decides to pull an entire fleet of trains over an intimidating mountain so little boys and girls in need would receive their toys in time. After several other engines go by and refuse to help the broken down train toting toy cargo, the Little Blue Engine stops to listen to the request for assistance. Despite only being used for switching trains in the year due to her small size and having never climbed any monumental peak, the Little Blue Engine takes on the challenge.
Her journey to the top mimics most roads that lead to greatness. She begins with a tug and a pull and slowly starts off toward the mountain. The trip describes her as one who "puffed along merrily." From the onset, we see it wasn't the easiest decision to make, and the Little Blue Engine doesn't take off running. Instead, it is a slow and steady start leading to a place she had never been before.
We find that she struggles and hits a few snags along the way. "Then all of a sudden she stopped with a jerk. She simply could not go another inch. She tried and she tried, but her wheels would not turn," the story reads. The Little Blue Engine goes from an "I think I can" to an "I thought I could." She had run out of steam and felt she had arrived at the end. Her strength was depleted, and her resilience emptied. The weight of it all felt too much to continue ahead. But with another, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," the Little Blue Engine gets the train filled with toys to the top of the mountain, met with the smiles on the faces of the boys and girls awaiting her arrival.
Now, let's tackle a few facts about this story. Was the mountain the Little Blue Engine needed to conquer much bigger than she was? Yes, there's no doubt about it. This wasn't a fake it 'til you make it moment. It was just plain ole' massive. Yet, motivated by the outcome of meeting the needs of children, she was infused with a determination that told her she could reach this great height and achieve a win. The mountain did not deter her. She saw past it, envisioning what lay in wait for her on the other side.
Another reality check. The task was new. The Little Blue Engine had never tackled a mountain before. This ride would be her first attempt, and with that, she had no personal experience or evidence that she could do what was being asked of her. Neither her past nor present said she was capable of achieving this goal. With no proof points or historical context, the Little Blue Engine's hypothesis was, "I think I can."
Lastly, bumps in the road are inevitable. The unplanned is a guarantee. The specifics of them will vary, but one thing will be consistent. These unforeseen occurrences show up with a single job in mind—to cause weariness and doubt. Despite the interruption up the mountain, the Little Blue Engine found a way to keep pressing forward. The self-talk of just thinking she could created a vision of seeing herself on the peak of that mountain. Her "I think I can" became her "I did!"
This children's story is indeed one for the ages. In business, we are consistently challenged to ascend to places and spaces we've never been, face assignments that appear too big to accomplish, and go toe-to-toe with missions that offer unpredictable footpaths. There are only two options when it boils down to it. Will we talk ourselves forward or deliver a lecture on staying put? We can let the mountain stop us from accomplishing victory, or we can think we can. We largely determine the outcome.
Just because we've never been there before doesn't mean we can't get there. Just because it's too gigantic doesn't mean we won't arrive. THuS Marketing was a spark that was supposed to remain just that. It was never meant to kindle into a flame or blaze any fires. Yet, here we are. Since we have made it this far, we are more than committed to remaining flexible enough to defeat the unknowns and climb to our highest peak. Like the Little Blue Engine, THuS Marketing's plan is this: "Up, up, up. Faster and faster and faster and faster the little engine climbed until, at last, they reached the top of the mountain."
You coming with us?