“Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?
Because she said she would!”
Entrepreneurs are different. I have read variations of this statement over and over. I have always self-identified as average or normal, but I’m willing to admit that as a young, single woman I skipped the wistful dreams of the day I would meet that someone special and marry. Instead of the stereotypical wedding dreams of a young girl, I dreamed of building an empire and maybe meeting someone who I could trust enough to build it with me.
“She thought she could,
She said she would,
So she started in right at the tail.”
As a child, I played by improving existing products and creating new ones. As an employee, I found myself intrigued by my employers’ systems and how to improve their efficiency… and saddened when my improvement suggestions were praised but saved for later implementation, indefinitely.
“And everyone said, ‘You're much too small,’
But that didn't bother Melinda at all.”
You see, us entrepreneurial types, we are different. We care for (and are responsible for) more than ourselves and our families. We are responsible for our businesses. Their success and growth fall onto our shoulders. With this added pressure, it is no surprise that successful entrepreneurs are 24/7 entrepreneurs. As the saying goes “we eat, breath, and sleep” our businesses. It is often difficult to identify where our business ends and where we begin. (No, I don’t mean for tax purposes.) We are always at work, even when we are not physically there. Taking a stroll down the beach with a partner or grocery shopping can become fodder for brainstorming. We regularly find our minds wandering to our businesses and how they relate to what we are observing in our “free” time.
“She took little bites and she chewed very slow,
Just like a good girl should...”
With this great level of responsibility and focus, it should not be surprising that entrepreneurs must be stubborn and dedicated in their pursuits, which makes me think of the childhood great, Shel Silverstein and his Melinda Mae poem:
She SAID she would eat the whale, and although it took hear almost 9 decades, she DID eat the whale. What a keen demonstration of determination, focus, perseverance, commitment, and drive. Indeed, we are different; we are Melinda Maes. We SAY that we are going to create a product or a business and survive - no, succeed – so we must. We promise our creditors that we will pay our bills. We promise our employees we will pay them for their hard work. We promise our families we will support them. And so we MUST because we said we would.
Bite by bite Melinda Mae accomplished her goal. Although in the end she may have tackled the entire whale, there were surely moments of fatigue, fullness, and even doubt as she observed how much of the whale remained. Baby steps are critical when striving to accomplish a mammoth goal, but so too is focusing on how far you have come and finding a great support network for moments when you can only see what remains.
Sometimes my clients need more than business advice or strategic guidance. Sometimes my coaching includes providing encouragement and the perspective of the big picture. Thus, I am mindful of motivational quotes I can use to pepper my coaching. Recently I noticed the motivational quote “She believed she could, so she did” infiltrating Instagram and Facebook. I cannot find a concrete source of who said it first, but whoever the author is, he or she was pretty smart. This quote represents an important principle for entrepreneurs: believe in what you are most passionate about it and make it happen. Be a Melinda Mae. Ignore the naysayers. Just do.
We are different. We are Melinda Maes. And we should be proud of it.
This blog is dedicated to all things entrepreneurial. Included here we hope you find both inspiration and useful tips. Unless otherwise noted, this blog is written by Coach Jen, founder of Alayne Strategies.