The Little Engine that Could is an American fairy tale that became widely known in the 1930s. Through an online poll of teachers, The National Education Association rated it as one of the Top 100 books for children, because of its key message of the importance of optimism and hard work.
The story’s signature phrase, I Think I Can is a key memory I have from childhood on the importance of self belief and self determination. My wife Wendy and I did our best to instill this concept in both our children.
Where and with whom would a bunch more “I can” and “I know you can” statements support greater achievement and life satisfaction in your personal and professional communities?
“What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside you.”
—Wayne Dyer, late American Self-Help Author and Speaker
Image from Wikipedia
How many times each day do you brush your teeth to keep your pearly whites pearly white, strengthen your gums, and freshen your breath? Did you know that there are numerous additional uses for toothpaste that can be realized with a few more squeezes? Alternative uses include:
Cleaning your hands after cutting smelly foods such as onions
Cleaning crayon marks from painted walls
Defogging sports eye wear
Treating acne and other skin conditions
Removing carpet stains and shower slime
Where and how would a few more squeezing situations bring out even more of your unique talents and abilities? How would a bit more squeezing bring out more of the best in others in your personal and professional communities?
“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astrophysicist
Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carstens-Peters
Elementary school, middle school, high school, and college are what we call traditional education. If you were lucky, perhaps your upbringing included books, encyclopedias, and of course, highly committed parents who emphasized education as a key doorway to a bright future.
For many, once we complete our traditional education, we slow down or even stop our efforts for continuous learning. Somehow that song, “No more teachers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks” was ingrained in us, and we decided we were finished.
Consider yourself as your own home-schooling professor, creating the perfect curriculum just for you. The topics you choose are both important and relevant to a fully engaged and happy life. What could this self-driven education include that would result in a PhD in Thee?
—Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston
Image from andtodaysidiomis
Do you ever hear yourself or others making statements such as:
I work 24/7
I work 60, 70, 80 hours per week
I only need 4-5 hours of sleep
I can’t remember when I took all of my vacation time
I usually eat at my desk, and sometimes in my car
I bill more hours than anyone else in my firm
I’m burning the candle at both ends
Somehow, many of us took the idea of hard work, and got carried away. Some of us have gotten to the point that our self worth and value equates to “giving it my all,” taking it to the point of endangering our very lives.
The evidence that we need to conserve and recharge our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies before it is too late is overwhelming.
Select at least one personal or professional activity that you will do less of or stop entirely, so you can step back from the ledge of exhaustion. See if you can reclaim at least one hour each day, and then consider reducing or eliminating a second activity.
“When you say, ‘YES’ to others, make sure you are not saying, ‘NO’ to yourself.”
—Paulo Coelho, Brazilian Author
Throughout the seven years I’ve been writing The Quotable Coach blog, I’ve posted numerous times about saying, “Yes” and “No” to requests made by others in our personal and professional communities.
To add a bit more bite to this subject, I’d like to add the words, “Oh,” “Heck,” and even “Hell” before the No’s and Yeses, to see if it creates a bigger shift in how you react and what you agree to do.
Where would saying, “Hell No!” to others and “Hell Yes!” to yourself a few more times make the biggest difference in your world?
You may consider using the concepts from the book, The Power of a Positive No by William Ury to find more polite ways to communicate your decision.
Personal and organizational development are multi-billion dollar industries. It is estimated that the coaching profession is somewhere near the three billion dollar mark.
What causes this trend to continue pointing upward?
Perhaps it is simply that we all desire better lives, and that bettering ourselves is the easiest way to influence and control our own destiny.
When we work on bettering ourselves, we give our lives direction and set forth goals to pursue and achieve. This “creative tension” literally pulls, or draws us, to the realization of a better future.
Where can you or are you actively working on yourself to realize the better life you desire? Consider discussing this question with a coach, mentor, or close friend who will hold your feet to the fire and increase your chances of success.