Today on Thanksgiving Day 2018, many of us pause, spend time with loved ones and think about all that we are grateful for.
It was been a morning of reflection for me. I have been thinking about my friends in Haiti and some of the challenges they and others are currently dealing with. Here in Detroit, I know many people (many entrepreneurs and small business people) who are every day putting their sweat and tears into believing they can build sustainable businesses in this marketplace. This stuff is hard. It takes EVERYTHING you have to make it work.
One of my favorite childhood stories came to mind.
“In the tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain after its engine breaks down. Larger engines, treated like they have human traits, are asked to pull the train; for various reasons they refuse. The request is sent to a small engine, who agrees to try. The engine succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain while repeating its motto: "I-think-I-can".
The story of the little engine has been told and retold many times. The underlying theme is the same — a stranded train is unable to find an engine willing to take it on over difficult terrain to its destination. Only the little blue engine is willing to try and, while repeating the mantra "I think I can, I think I can", overcomes a seemingly impossible task.”
Detroit entrepreneurs and small businesses being sustainable, profitable and enduring might seem like an “impossible task”. Keep the faith. Create strong support networks. Speak your truth. Do the right thing. Be smart about contracts. Know it is bigger than you.
Enjoy each moment the best you can. Happy Thanksgiving.
See a wonderful original version of the story below.
Story of the Engine that Thought It Could (1906)
by Rev. Charles S. Wing
In a certain railroad yard there stood an extremely heavy train that had to be drawn up an unusually heavy grade before it could reach its destination. The superintendent of the yard was not sure what it was best for him to do, so he went up to a large, strong engine and asked: "Can you pull that train over the hill?"
"It is a very heavy train," responded the engine.
He then went to another great engine and asked: "Can you pull that train over the hill?"
"It is a very heavy grade," it replied.
The superintendent was much puzzled, but he turned to still another engine that was spick and span new, and he asked it: "Can you pull that train over the hill?"
"I think I can," responded the engine.
So the order was circulated, and the engine was started back so that it might be coupled with the train, and as it went along the rails it kept repeating to itself: "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."
The coupling was made and the engine began its journey, and all along the level, as it rolled toward the ascent, it kept repeating to itself: "I ---think ---I can. I ---think ---I--- can. I ---think--- I ---can."
Then it reached the grade, but its voice could still be heard: "I think I can. I----- think-----I-----can. I -----think----- I----- can." Higher and higher it climbed, and its voice grew fainter and its words came slower: "I -------think --------I-------can."
It was almost to the top.
It was at the top.
It passed over the top of the hill and began crawling down the opposite slope.
'I ------think------- I------ can------I----- thought------I-------could I----- thought----- I----- could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could."
And singing its triumph, it rushed on down toward the valley.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.