Carrot, egg, coffee – what are you?
I found this awesome thinking story and thought I must share it with you to get your brain ticking over…
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.
She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” replied her daughter.
The mother asked her daughter to feel the carrots, who did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the young woman observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each had reacted differently.
“Which are you?” the mother asked. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, wilts and become soft and loses strength? Are you the egg that appears not to change but whose heart is hardened? Or are you the coffee bean that changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, your very essence will change your environment for the better, making it sweet and palatable.”
In my experience most people running a business don’t need more information, they want to get clear on what they think about the information that they have, how to respond to that information, and plan a way forward. It’s not always easy to clarify your current reality, but it is impossible to make any lasting plans or changes if you don’t, and this is particularly true in business.
Your current reality, whether in business or in your personal life, can be one of the most difficult things to face. It requires you to be totally honest as you to look at yourself, your impact on others and on current circumstances. Only from this point of clarity can you consider your plan for the future. Planning begins with thinking, so getting your head around what you want most in your business and out of your business is the place to start. Every planning strategy starts with a vision, a vision of success in both the short and long term. Do you have a vision of what you want your business to be? Are all your responses to issues and circumstance aimed in that direction? Or are you reacting rather than responding? Are you the carrot, egg or coffee?
Become clear on your part of the current reality. What are the things you can affect, and what are those things that you can not? The current economic climate is a reality that is difficult to face, but you can choose your response. Thinking and planning with eyes set firmly on your business vision and being clear on what you can affect, gives you opportunities to see innovation and creativity and plan to respond not react.