We’re all on a journey, aren’t we? We’re pushing ahead with our blogs and our businesses, putting one step in front of the other and hoping to see progress when we look behind us.
Our journey can be an inspiring experience, or it can be a slog through hell. It all depends on who’s walking with us.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has a motley group of traveling companions who seem like they’re going to be liabilities at the beginning of the story. I mean, what’s with all the whining?
“I don’t have a brain!” “I have no heart.” “I lack courage!”
“Great,” Dorothy probably thought, “as if I didn’t have enough problems!”
But it turns out her companions were exactly what she needed to make it all the way to see the wizard, and to achieve her ultimate goal to return home. They spoke the truth, they encouraged her when she needed it, and they supported her when she was wavering.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn claims we’re the sum total of the five people we spend the most time with. Let’s see how this applies to Dorothy, and how it might apply to you, too.
Who’s your Scarecrow?
The scarecrow is the first person Dorothy meets on her journey to find the wizard.
He believes he doesn’t have a brain, and yet he provides guidance and wisdom to Dorothy throughout the story. He turns out to be a loyal friend, too:
“I’m not afraid of her! I’ll see you get safely to the Wizard now, whether I get a brain or not.”
The scarecrow is like that quiet person in your life who doesn’t draw a lot of attention to himself, but whose astute observations and truth-speaking ways are important to your success.
Who’s your Tin Man?
The Tin Man longs for a heart, but throughout the story he demonstrates that he clearly has one, and it’s sensitive and thoughtful:
“Now I know I’ve got a heart, ’cause it’s breaking…”
The Tin Man is like that person in your life who’s always willing to listen when you’ve experienced a disappointment. He knows exactly what to say to cheer you up and encourage you to continue your journey.
Who’s your Lion?
The Cowardly Lion has some of the best lines in the classic film. He believes he lacks courage, and has big dreams about how he’d be king of the forest if he only had courage.
“The rabbits would show respect to me, The chipmunks genuflect to me, Though my tail would lash, I would show compash, For every underling, If I, if I were king”
The lion is like that person you know who’s got big dreams, and dares you to have them, too. He looks ahead and isn’t afraid to imagine a future where things will be much better. And — surprise, surprise — it turns out he has plenty of what he thinks he lacks:
“All right, I’ll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I’ll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I’m going in there.”
Despite his fears, he makes it all the way to the wizard, and ends up being crowned king of the forest.
Who’s your Good Witch?
Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, is a maternal figure who starts Dorothy off on her journey to find the wizard by showing her the way down the yellow brick road.
She informs Dorothy that the ruby slippers on her feet hold great power, but doesn’t reveal that they could take her exactly where she wants to go.
In the end — once she sees that Dorothy has acquired the knowledge she needs — she tells her the truth:
“You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.”
She knows that Dorothy needed to recognize this on her own. In that way, she’s like a good parent or counselor who realizes she can’t simply tell you the lesson you need to learn: her role is to step back and support you as you learn it on your own.
Who’s your Wizard?
The Wizard of Oz is feared and admired by everyone in the kingdom. As the story progresses, the wizard is revealed to have less power than everyone thinks.
In the end, he confesses to being blown into Oz by accident while performing at a state fair. When he was pronounced Wizard Deluxe, he decided to play along.
At the end of the story, as his hot air balloon floats uncontrollably away, the wizard — ever the showman — exclaims:
“This is a highly irregular procedure — absolutely unprecedented. It’ll ruin my exit.”
In the Kingdom of Internet Marketing there are a few “wizards” we all admire. Chances are, they’re mere mortals, too.
Remember that and find your own way to the lessons you need to learn. Don’t rely solely on the Great and Powerful Guru to show you the path you should take.
Who’s traveling with you on your journey?
Dorothy’s great revelation happens at the end of The Wizard of Oz. She stopped looking outside herself for someone to take care of her problems, and relied on her own power to get where she wanted to go.
She also realized that she was already surrounded by a cast of characters who loved and supported her all along her journey.
Are some of these characters with you on your business journey? What have you learned as you’ve walked along on the road to success? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
About the Author:
Pamela Wilson helps small businesses grow with great design and marketing at Big Brand System. Get her free Marketing Toolkit: it’s better than a pair of ruby slippers for getting you moving toward attractive and effective marketing materials.
In 2010, she founded Big Brand System to show small business owners how a system of strategic marketing and great design makes them look professional, cohesive and successful. She believes that your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG.
Pamela is now Director of Special Projects at Copyblogger Media, where she helps people build a strong presence on the web.
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