How to Deal with Overwhelm in Business – Are You a Potato, an Egg or Coffee Beans?
I had a great session with a client yesterday who alluded to feelings of overwhelm in their business. And let’s be honest, that’s more normal than many people think.
But on the way home it reminded me of a story, that turned into its own story and I want to share it with you.
More than a few years back, Kieran complained to me that his life was miserable and that he didn’t know how she was going to make it. He was tired of fighting and being bullied all of the time because he wanted to just be the nice kid at school. It seemed it just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed and was feeling overwhelmed.
So I took him in to the kitchen.
We filled three pans with water and placed each on a high heat and got them boiling. I then put potatoes in one pan, eggs in the second pan, and ground coffee beans in the third pan.
I let them sit and boil, and we just watched. I didn’t say a word.
Kieran did the typical thing, moaned and impatiently waited as boys do, wondering what the hell I was doing.After twenty minutes it was all done.
I took the potatoes out of the pan and placed them in a bowl. I pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl….burnt my fingers at the same time! And then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.
“So, Kieran, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” he replied.
“Go on then… touch the potatoes.” He did and they were soft.
Then I asked him to take an egg and break it. But you couldn’t because it was a hard-boiled egg.
And lastly he took his first sip of coffee. He loved the smell, but I don’t think he was particularly happy with the taste though.
He then pointed out it was all well and good and wasn’t going to win me Come Dine With Me, but I wanted to point out something to him.
You see, the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became tough as old boots.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and they created something new.
So I asked him, “Which are you,?”
“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
The moral or the lesson I wanted to show him was that in life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you? The potato, the egg or the coffee beans.
Which one is your business? The potato, the egg or the coffee bean?