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HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR LEMONADE STAND?
By Bob Garner
When my neighbor’s child was about 8, he decided that he wanted to lemonade stand. He asked me to help him, which I did. And he was very serious about the whole matter. The stand had to look like a “real store.” The “lemonade needed “real” lemons. We had to go to the bank, so that he would have, as he put it, “the appropriate amount of change needed to complete any sale,” etc. He had me sign a work contract with him – made out of crayons – and tested me on my ability to count out change. (Luckily, he was unaware of business insurance, city permits, and employee benefits!)
The stand actually showed a profit (something like $5.00) for the two days it was in operation. The reason why this “money maker” was only in business two days was because my neighbor’s child felt that he had achieved his goal, and was now going to “move on to something else.”
Through this ordeal, I never said a negative word, wise-crack or doubted his sincerity. What fascinated me was that he took the whole project so seriously. When I brought this episode up recently to him (he is now an adult!), he was himself amused at how much that stand meant to him at that time. He was amazed at how seriously he took the whole thing and that he felt that the stand was very important to his life and well-being. He also remembered how overwhelming and insurmountable he thought the obstacles were that he encountered while we created the stand.
However, don’t we react the same way with our dreams, desires, and goals? Don’t we react the same way, with regard to doing many of the things that we are asked or paid to do?
Replace the lemonade stand with an upcoming meeting that you have to attend. Perhaps you are taking it very seriously. You have prepared your documents and your presentation to the utmost degree. You haven’t taken any calls, returned calls or emails – because you must not be distracted from this mission. You have spent hours at home putting everything together. You have gone out of your way to create the perfect presentation. Regardless of the problems or obstacles that you have faced at work or home, you have set them aside for this meeting. As the lemonade stand was “very important” to this young child, this meeting is “very important” to your life and well-being.
The day of the meeting arrives. You are ready to do your presentation. You deliver your presentation successfully. However, there will be no decision made on your presentation at this time, because the boss has decided to “move on to something else” right now.
Another scenario might be that the boss decided to move forward on your ideas. Your ideas are successful and now your boss, and you, will “move on to something else.”
In either scenario, looking back six months or three months or one month from your meeting, was it really “that” important to your life and well-being? Was that meeting worth irritating fellow employees and/or vendors or customers by not returning their call or emails? Was that meeting worth disrupting your home life?
Obviously, the answer is “no.” If you even remember the meeting a year later, will you be able to see that all that “seriousness” did nothing but cause anxiety and stress in your life?
Take a moment and look at what you feel is so “serious” with regard to your professional and personal life. Ask yourself, “Am I inflating the importance of what I need to do?”
“Is it really ‘that’ important or am I making it appear to be ‘that’ important?’
Some inflate the importance of what they are doing or need to do, because of low self-esteem. We have all met people who take their job too seriously. Yet, do you also do the same thing? When you examine your current “to dos,” you will observe that very few, if any, are important to your life and well-being. By releasing this superficial importance, you release stress and anxiety from your life. You begin to flow with life, as opposed to trying to swim against the current.
The only true struggle in my young friend’s mind was the struggle that he brought on himself. Stuart Wilde wrote a small booklet years ago with a title that says it all, “Life Was Never Meant to be a Struggle.” And so be it!
Bob Garner is the author of "Masters of Motivation" which has been called a “must read” by business leaders. The creator of a number of CDs that have empowered thousands, Bob writes for numerous business magazines and speaks extensively worldwide on motivation, sales, and success. Sign up now for his free monthly newsletter called "Personal Success" at http://www.bobgarneronline.com