Every night I read my daughters a bedtime story or two. It’s probably one of my favorite Dad duties and I look forward to it every night.
We have a wide variety of books that are all fun but the ones that I like best are the books that contain a life lesson or positive message. I want to do my best to teach my girls how to grow up to be independent, confident and caring people.
The other night we read a book with a strong message that’s super relevant for everyone, and I wanted to share it with you now because I think it can have a great impact on your business.
So tuck yourself in and cuddle up for a nice bedtime story.
The book I’m talking about is The Little Red Hen (illustrated by J.P. Miller) from Little Golden Books. To my kids it’s a story about a hen and a bunch of other animals, but to me it’s the story of every entrepreneur (aka you).
One summer day The Little Red Hen finds a grain of wheat and decides it would be a good idea to plant it. She then asks all the other animals if they will help her, but every single one of them is too busy doing various leisure activities. They simple reply, “Not I!” and go back to their fun. So the Little Red Hen says, “Then I will plant it myself.” And then she does.
Soon the wheat grows and it comes time to reap it, and again our favorite rose-colored chicken asks the other animals if they will help her. A unanimous, “Not I!” comes back once again.
At every new task, The Little Red Hen asks if anyone wants to help out and none of those lazy bums want to be bothered with it.
Finally our peppy poultry hero takes a scrum-diddly-icious loaf of bread out of the oven. She found the grain of wheat, planted it, reaped it, carried it to the mill, made it into flour, put it in the oven and now because of her hard work, The Little Red Hen has her loaf reward.
She then asks the other animals one final question, “Who will help me eat the bread?” Everyone immediately shouts, “I will!” and runs over, only to be shunned by The Little Red Hen who tells them, “No, I will eat it myself.” And then she does – right in front of them.
The Big Question
Who would you like to be in this story?
I see this fable played out repeatedly in real life (minus the animals wearing clothes). Too many people see someone enjoying the rewards of success and don’t understand why they don’t have similar success.
When I meet another small business owner who’s struggling and they look at me and tell me that I must be lucky or must know the right people I feel a lot like The Little Red Hen.
I want to say to them, way back when I decided to become a dog trainer and worked for six months in a doggie daycare making $9/hour, learning dog communication and building an amazing relationship with the daycare owner I asked, “Who will help me pick up the dog poop” Those other trainers who decided that they didn’t like cleaning up crap while making very little money said, “Not I!”
Then when I decided to figure out online marketing that would eventually enable me to start my own digital agency I asked, “Who will pay lots of money on courses and education, and who will spend countless hours experimenting and implementing?” So many others said, “Not I!”
And when I signed up for business coaching I asked, “Who will drop some cash now to learn how to build a business that will last?” The answer was the same, “Not I!”
Success doesn’t just happen by accident. You can’t get there by sitting on your butt and hoping that things will just happen for you. There’s no short cut, no magic pill, and no easy button.
Every successful business is forged by hard work and sacrifice.
If you don’t want spend the money, get up early, work late and miss out on some things, don’t be surprised when you’re left behind by those willing to do it.
How do you spend your down time? If you find yourself watching TV and playing games on your phone you’re wasting valuable time that could be used on education and to build your business.
I’m actually writing this very post at 9:27pm after a long day of working and taking care of my kids. Trust me, I would much rather be in the other room snuggled up to my wife watching TV, but I have big goals that I plan on reaching.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying to work around the clock and give up everything. Not at all. Rest and down time is imperative. You just need to have some motivation, be willing to give up some luxuries and put in the time to make your dreams a reality.
When there’s someplace you want to go (business goal) you’ll need to buy a map (education) and get the car out of the driveway (ass off the couch) and start moving forward.
If you want to enjoy a piece of nice, warm homemade bread, you have to be willing to work your tail feathers off and make some sacrifices to get it in your belly.