Anyone that knows me knows that I love Disney, and more specifically I love Winnie-the-Pooh and often reference him in leadership presentations. I think we can learn a lot from A.A. Milne about leadership and life:

“Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when he had decided which one of them was the right, then the other was the left, but he never could remember where to begin.” – A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: This is so true in our own lives, so often the hardest part of problem solving is knowing where to start; it seems insurmountable until we get started but no matter how big the challenge once you figure out where to start you can start chipping away at it and it starts to seem far less daunting.

“Before beginning a hunt it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for, before you begin looking for it.”
– A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: So often in life we are reactive when a problem surfaces and we just jump in and start doing something before taking the time to truly understand the problem, this leads to treating the symptoms of the problem but not fixing the problem; we never take the time to truly understand the objective “what we are looking for”.

“You cannot help respecting anyone who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right; but spelling Tuesday isn’t everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count.”
– A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: Winston Churchill said it a different way “Sometimes your best is not good enough, sometimes you must do what is required.”; There are moments in life that failure is not an option, times when we can’t be satisfied just saying “we did our best”; in these times we must find a way to do what has to be done and accept nothing less than what is required.

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: Everyone should have someone in their life that makes them feel this way.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: It is easy to always stay in our comfort zone; I am the worlds worst about doing this; it is important to work with people that challenge you and get you out of your comfort zone sometimes and push you to excellence.

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: I love this quote. So often in life the anticipation of things is actually better or worse than what actually happens. When kids wake up Christmas morning right before they run down stairs to see what Santa brought you see this, the flip side though is that if there is a problem you have to face know that the fear and anxiety is greater while you are anticipating it so if you avoid it you will only continue with that fear and anxiety. When that problem is faced that fear and anxiety decreases, things are rarely as bad as they originally seem.

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: So often an idea or thought sounds so great in our head but then when we try to implement it or express it in words we realize it looks completely different out in the open. Know this and always have a core group of people that you trust to run ideas by so that they can be vetted well before being made public, this is especially important if you are in a leadership position.

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: Story of my life!

“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: So often we get caught up in our daily grind and “how we have always done things” that never stop and re-evaluate if there is actually a better way to do it. Take the time to look at your processes and ask yourself, “is there a better way”. This practice will be time well spent, you will be surprised how often you are able to make life easier for your team by working to change the processes to make them more efficient, get your teams advice here, they are the ones living it every day.

“Never be afraid to sit a while and think.
– A.A. Milne; Winnie-the-Pooh

Wyman’s Note: This is a good life lesson in general; you are never too busy to take a few minutes to self reflect.

“Always watch where you are going; otherwise you may step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake.”
– A.A. Milne; Winnie-the-Pooh