Remember the story of The Little Engine that Could?
A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill.
“I can’t; that is too much a pull for me,” said the great engine built for hard work.
Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side.
“I think I can,” puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, “I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can.”
It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”
The challenge to bust free of comfort zones comes regularly. So does opportunity.
You can’t reach next level performance and achievement without exiting your comfort zone, the place where status quo thinking, behavior, and performance produce a non-threatening life.
Fear screams to keep you in “your place”. Your comfortable sense of security locks the prison door. Adventures end and mountain peaks remain picture postcards purchased at a government run rest area. You resign to life as a little engine, doing “such work as it was built for … limited” to pulling a few cars on and off the switches.
On the way to celebration
While others better built for the challenge refuse to go, the question remains: “Will you go for it?”
Advancement forces us to move in to the safety zone. Facing a calculated risk, you go for it. You could call this self-efficacy. Simply put, it’s believing that you’re capable of high performance. You can do what needs done … “I think I can.”
Something clicks. The wheels turn. You believe. “I can do this.”
Remember my own story last week…
Higher than expected bids rolled in. [Call to action and opportunity.] But so did knowledge and understanding of the solution. I milked each conversation for knowledge of stairway systems and solutions. Google “research” provided more inspiration and knowledge. Knowledge becomes power.
Buoyed by previous successes I became bold as Tool Time Tim. Experience builds confidence.
Last weekend, it all came together (in my mind) and I believed, “I can do this!”
What do you believe?
What you believe about your ability and how much you trust yourself will allow you to take “it” on. Research shows that self-efficacy beliefs…
…influence how people feel, how much effort they invest in actions, how long they persevere in the face of obstacles and failures, and how resilient they are to adversity (Salanova, Llorens, & Schaufeli, 2010).
As well, this same research in the Journal of Applied Psychology explains that efficacy beliefs indirectly impact our motivation and level of engagement in activities by influencing emotional state of mind.
What we believe about ourselves clearly influences how we perform. “I think I can.”
The thrill of victory
There’s nothing like it. Staring into the hollow eyes of fear. Silencing the whispering shout of doubt. Stepping into what is really a safety zone, you go for it. You persevere, fully determined to see it through until you’re “There.” Ah, the thrill of victory! “I thought I could, I thought I could.”
It is familiar territory. You’ve gone for it before.
Time for action; you’re Here and you can see There. You have knowledge and experience (power and sufficient confidence). It’s time to express your belief and go for it.
You’re built for greatness.
While others hear excuses, you raise your hand and chant: I think I can, I think I can. When the going gets tough, you prudently stay the course and persevere. While you may experience the “agony of defeat” you’re more likely to taste the “thrill of victory.”
What’s your call and opportunity?
It’s your mountain to conquer…