Resiliency in business is extremely important. There is a story I always love to share about a young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and how she wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.Every time she solved one problem, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she dropped a handful of carrots, in the second a few eggs, and in 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 poured 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,” the daughter replied.
The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She noted that they got soft. The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the girl observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, Mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked. “What’s the point, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity- the boiling water- but 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?”
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but become hardened from a tough experience? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I hardened and tough?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the hardship. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.
If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?
So, which are you…a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?