Growing up, we’ve all read the common kids’ books where the moral of the stories are quite simple—never give up, work hard for something you care about, and treat others the way you want to be treated.
As I’ve been reading books with my kids, I’ve surprisingly seen how I’ve subconsciously ingrained these lessons in building a business. Here’s a list of three stories that have taught me as much about my career as they’ve taught my kids about growing up.
The Boy and the Nettles
Growing up in Romania, there were a lot of fables that parents told their children. One that has always stuck with me and that I share with my kids is the story of The Boy and the Nettles. In the story, a young boy is surprised that the sting of a nettle was quite painful, even when his own touch to the nettle was very gentle. His mother told him that next time, if he grabs the nettle strongly, it won’t hurt him.
What resonated with me from this story was the lesson that no matter what you’re doing, if you put all of your might into whatever you’re doing, you can overcome anything. And if you’re not putting your all into something, you shouldn’t be surprised that the impact isn’t very impressive and that you may be left feeling hurt or disappointed. Working as an entrepreneur in the tech world, if I’m not being bold in what I’m trying to accomplish, I won’t see the bold results that I want to experience.
The Little Engine That Could
This story resonates with me because it’s about having a positive attitude and perseverance to do something that otherwise seems too big or daunting. Rather than seeing something as if it’s out of your reach, get over your fear and go after something outside of your comfort zone. This was exactly my mentality when I made the switch from my academic career path into the world of tech. I saw it as a huge, life-changing decision and when the low times came where I felt that everything was beyond anything I was capable of, I came back to knowing that with resilience, I could do anything.
My kids were obsessed with Harry Potter and after watching the first few movies with them, I became a little intrigued and started reading the books. While reading them, I was very surprised to see how I felt connected to Harry’s story. We both grew up in environments where it seemed as if we were stuck and had one version of our lives to live, but we both experienced shifts in our directions. For Harry, it was discovering that he was a wizard. I didn’t discover that I had magical powers (which would’ve been a dream), but I discovered a shift in where I wanted my career go.
The Harry Potter series is all about facing your fears throughout your journey to achieve great things, and this has been quite present for me when deciding to run my own business, like addressing my discomfort working with other areas of the business like sales and marketing. Harry and I have both seen that overcoming fears and addressing the unfamiliarity head on, rather than running away, is where the real magic happens.
As I get caught up in running a company and as things get more complicated, I’m realizing that bringing these lessons into current business problems adds some clarity in what I’m trying to do. If you have any book recommendations (children’s books or not), I’d love to hear them! Feel free to share them in the comments below.
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