A cat will find a way to win

There are plenty of magical animals in Pantoland – geese spring to mind, mice who become coachmen, and cats. There’s Puss-in-Boots who is a chancer and Lord Mayor Whittington’s faithful feline companion who helps him achieve worldly success.

Jack believed in magic beans and defeated a giant. Gerda believed in love and saved her friend from living death. Young Richard Whittington set out to find his fortune, as he heard the streets of London were paved with gold! Well, there’s not that much magic abroad in the world but Whittington and his cat persevered and became rich and famous.

Apparently, the real Dick Whittington never owned a cat (one theory suggests that a “cat” was a slang expression for a type of ship used in his merchant business). The cat is not actually supernatural but loyalty and faithfulness provide the real magic.


Persistence pays

Whittington and his cat were not daunted by adversity. Planning, preparation and persistence allowed them to find a home and job, to rise in the world, found a business, marry an heiress and achieve high office. A fairytale ending results from old-fashioned hard work; as the philosopher Bertrand Russell says “No great achievement is possible without persistent work”.

In the workplace, this means defining your values and strengths then delineating objectives and goals that align with your values and will enable you to achieve your aspirations. Make a plan, write it down, share it with people who will help and encourage you, then work towards your goal.

There will be challenges, setbacks and nay-sayers but if you have a real vision as to what success means and what it looks like then persistence is key. It is a good idea to anticipate obstacles and devise a contingency plan, prepare so that you are psychologically ready when life gets difficult.

Entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

A growth mindset

People with a “growth mindset” enjoy challenges, strive to learn, and consistently see potential to develop new skills. 10Eighty suggest this approach:

  • Check your assumptions – leaders should challenge the standard perspective, keep an open mind and resist the temptation to accept the status quo while being willing to consider the options and embrace the possibilities.
  • Value diversity – a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds can facilitate innovative approaches and reactions to barriers and challenges.
  • Provide training, development and networking opportunities – encourage wide-ranging interaction throughout the organisation, offer work assignments that take individuals out of their usual work environment, let people learn from their colleagues and make knowledge-sharing a reality; these are all ways to help the team broaden their horizons and spark new ideas.

The moral of the story is

Obstacles and adversity should not stop you from accomplishing great things. In Pantoland, self-belief, faith and courageous persistence are the qualities that guarantee success. The story of Dick and his cat shows that success eventually comes to those who don’t give up.

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

A blog about career and talent management, things that might help you with your career and in your job.