January 29, 2017
10th Anniversary Celebration Blog #1. “I Think I Can.”
By Maureen McCabe
Have you read my favourite childhood book, The Little Engine That Could?(*) The small train said, “I think I can. I think I can,” as though it were a positive affirmation. She set a goal to climb the big mountain. Yes, the train was female!
How did she accomplish this goal? With internal fortitude, she dedicated herself to delivering the dolls and toys on time.
Struggling with subtraction, I told my dad that I didn’t like grade-one math. I will always remember his question: “Maureen, what did the little engine say to herself?”
Squeezing my eyes and clenching my fists with determination, I said, “I think I can. I think I can,” to which my dad chimed, “I know you can!”
Over the years, I have shared this story with a touch of drama. She was my first business role model. This book instilled in me a foundation of key values: optimism, hard work and goal setting.
Success Tips: SMART Goals and Affirmations
Founded in January 2007, I chose not to create a traditional business plan, I did not hang a shingle with a wing and a prayer, I wrote multiple SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.
Thinking about the number ten, I penned ten positive affirmation statements, nicknaming this one the longevity goal: “I look forward to celebrating my 10th Anniversary in 2017.” Now you understand why I wrote ten, one for each year. Every morning including weekends my day began in front of the mirror, standing tall, smiling, and reciting the affirmations – with passion!
Like The Little Engine That Could with determination, working hard, and a great attitude, I knew that I would be successful. When times were challenging, sometimes I paraphrased my dad, “I know I can. I know I can. I know I can.”
Celebrating 10 Years
Do you remember your 10th birthday? My 10th business anniversary is more exciting than turning 10.
Why? Because I earned this milestone, it has been daunting with multiple challenges. At one point, I thought I might need a job at a grocery store, working evenings and weekends to supplement my consulting income. Thank goodness I did not have to, as the in-person cold call I made earlier that month yielded my then-largest client, the first $10,000 client!
I have been told that I have an easy life as a business owner, “You work from a home office, can sleep in and can take off as much time as you want, whenever you want.” Not! Business owners can attest to the long hours, including evenings and weekends.
I attribute part of my success to focusing on my SMART goals and “sticking to my knitting.” The phrase does not mean “knit one, pearl two”!
Like the little engine that reached the top of the mountain, the clown and toys cheered as “She smiled and seemed to say as she puffed down the mountain, I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.” I realize that I need a new mantra for the next 10 years.
I’m grateful to my cheerleaders, friends, family, mentors, and clients. Since 2009, Big Al has been a client; he is one of my biggest cheerleaders!
Every month, I will write a celebration blog and send a newsletter with a business success tip, client review, and various experiences, some of which could be described as lessons from the school of hard knocks. The following is an excerpt from Part 3 about branding and rebranding.
This error was costlier than the others. Colours can convey multiple meanings; I didn’t connect the dots when I chose fuchsia, my favourite colour.
Rebranding was a major investment. Learn about the process and see my previous logos.
(*) While researching The Little Engine That Could, I found the 1930 book with original illustrations, a four-minute video of the story being read and a cool TedEd lesson created for students. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Walt Disney created a movie in 1976; I ordered a copy from eBay. I forgot to search on Amazon. shame on me, as I’m a shareholder!
If I were a grandmother, every grandchild would be given a copy of this book; the life lessons are powerful. Movies are nice. Reading to a child is special.
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