Have you heard the Legend of John Henry, the Steel-Driving Man?
Natalie and I sometimes watch Disney movies on Sundays. (We’re both suckers for that kind of stuff).
One lazy Sunday afternoon, we watched a Disney short film about the Legend of John Henry. Have you heard this story?
If not, here’s a quick recap:
John Henry was an African American Folk Hero who was famous for his strength, focus and amazing talent as a steel-driver for the railroads.
As the story goes, he battled a steel-driving machine for the ability to keep his and his fellow workers' jobs. The railroad company agreed that that if John Henry beat the machine they could keep their jobs and keep the land that was promised them....
So John battled this machine and won.
But he worked so hard that his heart burst and he died, leaving his now widowed wife and newborn son.
Soon after, machines replaced the workers anyways (despite his efforts) and John’s story faded into legend.
Overall, it’s a pretty sad story.
(I can neither confirm or deny that I cried like a baby after watching it...)
In business, life, relationships, I think a lot of us feel like we need to be like John Henry...
John was an expert in his field, a great guy, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, but he had one major flaw...
It was the same idea that plagues so many of us...
The idea that there was only one way out that and that he couldn’t get or ask for help...
And in the moment, I’m sure it seemed that way...
You know the quickest way to kill yourself and your business?
The idea that you have to do it all. That you’re the only one who can do what you do and that no one can do it better.
Sure starting out you’ll need to fill a lot of roles and do a ton you may not like or be good at, but this can't last.
You’ll keep hammering and hammering away until you pass out from exhaustion.
Henry Ford is famous for saying:
"I have a row of electric buttons in my office. All I have to do is press one of them to call the person who can answer any question on any subject I wish to know, relative to the business at hand. I take care of the business, they take care of the questions."
Henry Ford understood what takes many years to understand:
By changing the focus to the RESULT as opposed to the money, pride or how you look during the process, you can save your business...
...and your life.
Sure, there are entrepreneurs out there who are phenomenal at a few things and also grow great business.
Unfortunately, that’s not me. I can’t relate with that.
What I've learned is that I don’t have to be good at EVERYTHING.
In fact, I CAN’T.
But I DO have to be good at one thing: knowing myself well enough to know when I need to find someone that can get better results than I can.
By committing more to the RESULT instead of how you look, you can save yourself, your business and your life.
If you feel like you’ve been hammering non-stop, that the fatigue is catching up to you and your heart is about to fail...I would suggest taking a step back and taking a look at what you’re doing.
It might be that you are too focused on how you look to others than to the results.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know are not experts in one specific thing (like Facebook, YouTube, coding, website, design)...
They are experts at finding solutions to problems, regardless of whether they can provide that solution themselves.
They are expert "connectors."
For you John Henrys out there (like me), it might be worth a look at WHAT skills you are developing to see if by changing your focus, you can save yourself from a lot of strife.