During a tour of Dearborn, Michigan’s Greenfield Village several years ago, the guide took our group into Henry Ford’s childhood home and eventually quoted the great industrialist as having said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’ll be right.”
The remark triggered thoughts of the times I had worried about taking an exam in college, convinced I was going to fail the course anyway, so why study for the test? I never failed a course, but I did fail an occasional exam because my mind already was closed to success. And by giving into that attitude, my actions produced what professors call “the self-fulfilling prophecy.” Remembering those college challenges, I nodded at the guide’s reporting of Henry Ford’s comment.
Since that long-ago historical tour, I’ve had numerous opportunities to prove the truth of those quoted words. In fact, three years after my husband died, I became one of the growing number of women who change careers in midlife—when I left the security of teaching in Michigan to become an editor in New York. Even though I was excited about the opportunity, it didn’t take long for me to miss the familiarity of our Midwest community and my own classroom. Furthermore, I missed being a beloved wife.
One afternoon I was struggling with a story about Charles Sheldon, the author of the classic In His Steps in which his main character asks “What would Jesus do?” Even after repeated attempts, I couldn’t get a precise caption for the accompanying photograph. My boss finally intervened.
As I gave up my seat at the computer to him, I kiddingly said, “If I were younger, I’d just get remarried and have babies. I know how to do that.”
He barely glanced at me as he said, “You can do this.” Then he proceeded to show me how to make the needed caption fit the space limitation.
Instruction accomplished, he returned to his desk while I pondered his comment. He was right: If I could leave all that was familiar to move my family to New York, I certainly could write captions. In that moment, I turned his offhand comment into my personal encouragement. Soon, I was tackling projects with a quick prayer and a muttered “I can do this.”
So, no matter what you are facing today, I want you to pull encouraging thoughts into your being. Take a deep breath, send up a quick prayer and remember, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’ll be right.”