Taking business lessons from the Blue Caterpillar

We’ve gone down the rabbit hole a few times this week. First at a wonderful Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the Museum of Oxfordshire in Woodstock and then with CBeebies Presents. 

Alice in Wonderland is a tale of the unexpected, where nothing is quite as it seems. What I wasn’t expecting as I idly watched the CBeebies stage version for the umpteenth time, was a business lesson.

CBeebies cut the story down a lot to make it suitable for an audience of under 5s. It goes like this: Alice, bored by the river one day, falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland. The Queen is holding a garden party and Alice desperately wants to go but she doesn’t have an invitation. Despite finding herself in a world of talking rabbits, moving playing cards, and a grinning Cheshire cat (who can disappear) she doesn’t believe she has the capacity for imagination. She goes on a series of adventures in the hope of getting to the Queen’s party.

When Alice meets the Blue Caterpillar she asks him how he is getting to the party. “By invitation,” he replies. 

What’s this got to do with business?

How often have you let an opportunity pass you by or not approached someone you would like to work with because you thought they wouldn’t consider you? Running your own business is tough and you can need quite a strong mental game at times. We sometimes don’t even approach a door, let alone see if it might open.

When Alice tells the Blue Caterpillar she doesn’t have an invitation, he tells her: “Your imagination is your invitation.”

It’s easy to ignore our intuition and instead listen to that negative voice inside our heads that tells us something is out of our reach.

What if we took ourselves to Wonderland instead? A place where “you can have anything you want, if you can imagine it”.

I’m not saying “imagine a 7 figure business and you’ll get one” but imagine the steps you need to take and the people you will speak to. Then instead of telling yourself it’s just a story, head down that path and see where it leads you.

It starts by imagining your invitation and then being willing to see if it will get you in to the party.

Rachel Extance (photo by Jemima Willcox)

Rachel Extance helps business tell their stories so they can reach a wider audience for their work and ideas. A professional journalist, she knows how to write stories people find relevant and engaging. If you would like help to get your message across, need someone who can write articles for you regularly, or you would like actionable ideas for how to tell more people about what you do, get in touch.

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Rachel Extance

Rachel Extance

Would you like more people to know about your work and how it can help them? Telling true stories about you and your business can raise awareness of who you are, what you do, and why it matters. I will help you tell them.

3 thoughts on “Taking business lessons from the Blue Caterpillar”

  1. So good Rachel. Simple and true. I wonder if there’s a follow up here. What allows Alice to head down the path? Is it imagining the invitation irl that’s the blocker or taking the action it suggests? Do we need to be through the looking glass before we do? Maybe realise that we’re through the looking glass already? You’ve made me think I have to go back and re-read.

  2. Great illustration here, Rachel! Most people always lift the quote about it not mattering where you go if you don’t know where you’re going.

    Your use of the blue caterpillar quote is golden. When I read the title I had not idea where it was headed! It’s an attention getter!

  3. Hi Rachel, I loved the story aspect of this post, such a fun read! I, too, was left with questions at the end. Are you saying don’t let the fear hold you back? Or give yourself permission to pursue things that seem out of your reach? Tell me more about “your imagination is your invitation” and more details of how I can implement this in my business!

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