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The Power of “We Think You Can” | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

The Power of “We Think You Can”

“I think I can,” said the little engine that could.

There should be a companion book called, “We think you can.” And it should be read by upper management of every business that wants to keep and nurture creativity in their staff.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I found a company that for over a year has said, “We think you can” during my recovery from my heart attack. Not only did they say, “We think you can,” but they offered me opportunities I never imagined.

I had worked with marketing and then part-time in the offices of Goebel Realty in the year before my heart attack. When I got sick, their regional director came to the cardiac ICU unit to see me that night and then took my then 16 year old son home during a rainstorm. She promised us she would make sure there was no flooding or water damage and then told our son on the way home if there was, she would handle it and they wouldn’t tell us while I was in ICU. There was no damage.

When I was released to return back to work, Goebel welcomed me back in a limited capacity. I went to cardiac rehab three afternoons a week for two months, and they worked my schedule completely around my rehab schedule. As I got better, they gave me opportunities to increase what I was doing, asking me at every step, “Are you comfortable with this? We don’t want to stress you on the job.”

My husband observed that in the 25 years he has known me, I’m happier in this job, with this company than he’s seen me. He was the first to tell me, “They recognize your talent and appreciate you.”

They continued to work with me during the year during a subsequent hospitalization and then a surgery, at each step encouraging and welcoming me as I was able. In November, I signed on half-time and in December, I went to full-time employment. I’ve now been part of their team full-time for 6 weeks.

It’s taken me that long to realize how lucky I am to work for a company that says “We think you can.” They have not pushed me to do more than I was able, but they have nurtured my strengths and encouraged my creativity.

For a lifetime, I’ve worked with a variety of companies and nonprofits, both on paid staff and as a volunteer. I’m a creative who doesn’t see the world from a normal perspective. My husband’s favorite joke is the scariest 4 words ever are when I say, “I have this vision.” What he means is that my visions normally mean lots of work for him.

For a lifetime, with most organizations, I’ve encountered resistance to change and different ideas. I thought that was part of the deal – either that my ideas were bad or that change was so painful they preferred the status quo to the challenge of change. ┬áCommon responses I heard were:

  • We’ve always done it this way.
  • It’s too hard to change.
  • Why can’t you leave things the way they were?
  • No response – as in being ignored.
  • Or this past year – since you got sick, we decided you should take a break and we’ll make all the decisions now.

So for a lifetime, to have a creative outlet where others could neither stop nor discourage me, I wrote and cooked. I still write and cook.

But now that has completely changed. When I come up with new ideas, they get listened to. Questions are asked, and I answer them. The question I’ll probably be asked is, “If we do this, how will we make sure it works?”

I know my creative ideas can be exhausting to those who hear them and implement them. As I joked this week about bringing too many ideas to the table, I was told,

“We love your ideas. Keep them coming.”

I’ve found my niche. I still cook. And I’ll still write. But for now, my creative energies are focused on working for the company that told me, “We think you can.”

And with that chant, just like the little engine that could, I know I’ll chug to the top of the mountain and work my hardest to build their company.

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