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 boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
After several 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,” she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.
The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity … boiling water. Each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Returning to work after a holiday break and ‘hatching’ a plan for the New Year tends to come with its own adversities. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a bowl of coffee?! It’s definitely something worth thinking about…
Once we recognise our default pattern, we have the opportunity to put a strategy in place to manage our behaviour and attitude in a more positive and constructive manner.
So notice, when experiencing ‘adversity’:
Ø Do you go soft and weak?
Ø Are you fragile on the outside and hard in the centre?
Ø Or do you change ‘the water’ (aka environment/situation) and effect positive change?
(This story is an ‘oldie but a goodie and a great one for the set up for New Year goals and aspirations.’ The author is unknown.)
Jane Butler is a Business and Personal Relationship Coach, Mediator and Facilitator and is available for Individual Consults, Team Building, Communication Workshops, Conflict Resolution and Leadership Development.
She may be contacted on 021-732 230 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check out her website for more information: www.outoftherut.co.nz
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