I used to think Eeyore was funny. Now I just think he’s sad and should be on Prozac.
Ever since I started out in business my favorite character in the Winnie-the-pooh stories has been Tigger. Why? Because Tiggers are confident, “that’s what Tiggers to best!”
I self-identify very strongly as an entrepreneur. That means among other things that I’m a self-starter, self-motivated and generally optimistic person. I don’t expect a hand-out, or a hand-up. I eat what I kill and kill what I eat. I work hard and I play hard and to be honest some days I have trouble telling the difference.
If there is one thing I cannot stand to be around it is negativity. When I am about to embark on a task, whether it is meeting with a dream client, developing a seminar or writing a book, I first must banish all negativity from my life. In short I channel Tigger and dive in. In the process I end up banishing Eeyore.
When I was first starting out in business I volunteered as a sound designer on a community theater production of the play “Lend Me a Tenor”. That experience was a bit of mixed bag. The director was crazy, I mean certifiably insane but I had the opportunity to work with some great people and I learned a lot. One line from the play has stuck with me to this day. At one point fictional opera star Tito Mirelli turns to his young fan Max and says,
“When you sing, you got to have the confidence. You got to say ‘I’m Max, I’m a da best, I Sing Good!’”
Some people say that entrepreneurs tend to be arrogant and over confident, even a bit delusional. That may be. Tigger does tend to get himself into trouble when he’s not careful but he sure has a lot of fun and most importantly he learns from his mistakes. Eeyore never learns anything. He never takes any chances and he never grows. Eeyore is nothing but doom and gloom from start to finish.
Of course there are other characters in these stories too. Winnie, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga & Roo, Owl and of course Christopher Robin and each has their own psychological profile. The point here is not to go into a long and drawn out examination of arch types or the “Tao of Pooh”, as one pop psychology book of the 1980s attempted. The point is that the spirit of Eeyore has no place in business. You need to find the Eeyore’s in your life and either get them some help or get them out. Otherwise they will kill your entrepreneurial spirit and bring the whole organization down.
What Winnie-the-Pooh character do you most identify with?
Can you identify the Eeyore’s in your life?
How do you keep them from bringing you down?