Monday, January 18

Coffee Cup Chats | An Elephant Never Forgets (A Story About Failure)

Mondays are for putting on our entrepreneurial hats and learning how to be better business owners! 
Grab your coffee and get in a cozy seat because today we're talking about... failure. So sexy, right?!

I want to tell you about a story I heard. It's about these loggers in India and the elephants they used to help them in their work. (Stay with me, I'm going somewhere with this...)

Elephants, being much larger than the loggers needed to be restrained from escaping so that the loggers wouldn't lose their valuable assistants. There was no way that the loggers could restrain a full grown elephant, they knew that. So they took the elephants as babies and tied their leg to a stake that they drove down into the earth so tight that the baby couldn't pull it out. Night after night the baby elephants would try to pull themselves free but they just weren't big enough or strong enough. So eventually they gave up.

But the elephants grew. They grew to be strong giants capable of power the loggers could only dream of. And every night the loggers would tie the elephants foot to the same stake in the ground. And every night the elephants would stay put.

Didn't the elephants realize that they were now big and strong enough to pull free from a tiny wooden stake? They didn't even try anymore. The loggers knew that the elephants would give up trying as babies and they wouldn't realize as they got bigger that they had the power to break free.

They wouldn't even try.

Because they had tried and failed before.

So they remained in captivity. Even though they were more powerful than those that restrained them. Even though they could so very easily snap the rope or pull out the stake. They didn't try because they remembered trying and failing before.

Do I even have to draw out the parallels?  Everyone starts somewhere. Every business goes through it's infancy. And we all start with big dreams and big goals and lots of ambition. And sometimes, like the baby elephants we get staked to the ground by those that would try to keep us captive. We pull and we twist and we just can't break free. We're told we can't do it. Our dreams are laughed at, or worse. And we stop trying to break free. And then without realizing it we grow into these massive beasts of power and grace and we don't even try to break free from our old bounds. The ones we could so easily snap without effort. We're too afraid to even try. And because of our fear we are held captive. Our old captors are no longer holding us hostage, our fear is.

What is the stake that you're tied to today? Give it a little tug. You may be bigger and stronger now than you think.

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