Potato, Egg or Coffee?

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that 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 hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”


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?

What are you tolerating?

Ever notice how some days you feel like you’re weighed down with the amount of ‘stuff’ that’s in your head…and your heart? Most of us experience times in our lives when we feel like shouting “Enough is enough! I’ve had it!”. We reach the point of being stretched to our limits and the option of hiding in bed under the covers is very tempting indeed. Yep, I’ve definitely been there (and more than once…).

There are any number of situations which can bring about this overload crisis and yet often it is the culmination of lots of little things rather than one big issue which tips us over the edge.

It’s the ever-building pile of minutia that wears you down and saps all your energy – the incomplete to do lists, the calls that need to be made, the washing machine that needs to be fixed, the car that needs to be serviced, the carpets that need steam cleaning, the spare room which needs to be sorted out, the 15kgs that need to be miraculously ‘lost’, the dog that needs to be wormed…and that’s without getting to the ‘big stuff’ that you have been tolerating for way too long.

No wonder it’s exhausting!Turning the page

I have good news for you…a simple approach to taking back the reins and letting go of some of the stuff that is weighing you down. I have seen my clients make some amazing shifts in their lives by following this technique and they are blown away by how easy it is to make significant changes for the better.

Clear the clutter & off-load the baggage

OK, so it would be easy to assume that getting organised and de-cluttering your life was really just a matter of filing away some bills in a cabinet and making a to-do list. That’s a start…but there’s so much more you can do to free up some of the head space currently crammed with all the things you need to do, should have done, must buy, should have called, can’t find, must put away and can’t even remember!

Very many people carry around with them a lot of baggage or clutter in their minds.

In some cases this relates to people who are still holding onto things that they say they should do but don’t, for others it may relate to unresolved conflicts or conversations with someone else, resulting in carrying the burden of not speaking to each other. For most of us, it can be the baggage or clutter of the coulds and shoulds in our lives that hold us back – we know we need to let go, but we don’t.

Those of us who have experienced this (or who are still living with it…), carry around clutter and emotional weight, which can often be simply off-loaded; freeing us to focus instead on things so much more productive! Does this sound like you?

If it does, you’re in the right place to tackle this right now…

“Out of clutter, find simplicity”
[Albert Einstein]

Let’s get started!

To make changes in your life, the first step is to create the time and space for the changes to occur. Think of your life in terms of a bucket filled to the brim with water. It is close to overflowing…absolutely full. Before you can add anything else to your life (like a cup of water), you need to take at least one cup of water out. If not, your bucket will overflow and you risk losing some of the really important ‘water’ in your bucket.

One of the strategies many people adopt to avoid making changes is to focus on the busyness of their life. By telling yourself you will get around to dealing with the clutter and disorganisation when you get more time, you simply procrastinate and add more emotional pain to the situation.

Disorganisation is the perfect story, justification or excuse for why we can’t get things done. So, how well-practised are you at using this strategy?

Before you start to create an action plan for changing the things you want to change in your life, you need to identify what some (or all!) of those things are.

Let’s take a look at your life so you can clearly identify and eliminate the issues. To do this, ask yourself a series of questions and complete the following exercise. What you’ll achieve by doing this, is making certain tasks complete, drawing a line under them and moving on. Another term for this is psychological completion.

You may not want to do anything about them right now, but just writing them out will raise your awareness and you’ll naturally start handling, fixing and resolving them. So, make a list of what you’re putting up with at work and at home to determine what might be cluttering your mind and slowing you down!

Examples could be: Incomplete tasks, frustrations, problems, other people’s or your own behaviour, clutter, shoulds, unmet needs, crossed boundaries, overdue library books/DVDs, outdated wardrobe, unresolved issues or guilt, lack of exercise, eating habits, being indecisive, procrastinating, lack of sleep etc…

Over time and as you think of more items, add them to your list.

What are you putting up with?

  1. Make a list of 10 things that you are putting up with at home
  2. Make a list of 10 things that you are putting up with at work
  3. Make a list of 10 things that you are putting up with in any other area of your life

Now…look at your lists and decide what you can (will!) delegate, outsource, postpone or ditch completely – start crossing off the things which DO NOT NEED TO BE THERE…simple.

Everything else becomes your current priority list. And it already seems much more do-able, doesn’t it?

So, go on, take a deep breath and start now!


Your fears…fight or flight?

Here’s a great fable shared by www.dynamiccreation.com.auAttitude is Everything

There was, living in Tibet about a thousand years ago, a Meditation Master whose name was Milarepa. So as not to be disturbed in his deep meditation he would seek out remote caves high in the Himalaya Mountains.

He had not long settled into one such cave when a large host of Demons moved in too. Their heavy presence and animosity distracted him from his meditation.

At first he fought them, but they just fought back and stayed right where they were.

So Milarepa tried another strategy. He recognised and named them. He treated them with honour, dignity,and respect. He was friendly and consider­ate towards them. Half of them left.

Next he invited the remaining Demons to stay as long as they liked. If they went out, he would welcome them back with genuine pleasure. Within a week all had gone except one particularly vicious and fearful Demon.

So Milarepa walked right up to that Demon. With no thought for himself, yet with an open heart and deep compassion, he gently placed his head right into the Demon’s gaping maw. And in that instant it disappeared and never returned.

From The Salmon of Knowledge – Nick Owen

The Power of Words

Here’s a video a mentor sent me today and I thought I’d share it with you…

It contains a really powerful message that you can apply both in your life and, if you’re in your own business, in your marketing.




So, what are you procrastinating about?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with countless to-dos and then later frustrated with yourself for not achieving the one thing on your list you really needed to achieve? I confess…this absolutely is my Achilles Heel!

Of course, the positive part of this (and you know I love a silver lining) is that by recognising and acknowledging my tendency to procrastinate, I’m able to kick it to the curb when I notice familiar signs occurring.

If you’re struggling to get your bigger, more important projects completed then we’ve got just the solution for you! Watch this short movie and see how easy it is to beat procrastination. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

And sure, you’ll also need to be mindful and aware of your own unique procrastination strategies (like “I’ll just put another load of washing in before I write that business plan…” or “I’ll just cook a 3 course meal before I tackle my social media strategy…”), but imagine how great you’ll feel when you master the trick to beating your procrastination!

Eat that Frog! Bon appetite…

Eat That Frog! video: http://youtu.be/0W7GB5Fh2XM

Whatever is your ‘thing’, get proactive and take action now!

Looking forward to seeing you soon and wishing you a wonderful February.


Is Gratitude your Attitude?

Here’s a great little story (shared by emPOWER online newsletter). Enjoy…

Be Happy: A True Story by Davy Jones

Around twenty years ago I was living in Seattle and going through hard times. I could not find satisfying work and I found this especially difficult as I had a lot of experience and a Masters degree.

To my shame I was driving a school bus to make ends meet and living with friends. I had lost my apartment. I had been through five interviews with a company and one day between bus runs they called to say I did not get the job. I went to the bus barn like a zombie of disappointment.

Later that afternoon, while doing my rounds through a quiet suburban neighborhood I had an inner wave – like a primal scream – arisePositive Attitude from deep inside me and I thought “Why has my life become so hard?” “Give me a sign, I asked… a physical sign – not some inner voice type of thing.”

Immediately after this internal scream I pulled the bus over to drop off a little girl and as she passed she handed me an earring saying I should keep it in case somebody claimed it. The earring was stamped metal, painted black and said ‘BE HAPPY’.

At first I got angry – yeah, yeah, I thought. Then it hit me. I had been putting all of my energies into what was wrong with my life rather than what was right! I decided then and there to make a list of 50 things I was grateful for.

At first it was hard, then it got easier. One day I decided to up it to 75. That night there was a phone call for me at my friend’s house from a lady who was a manager at a large hospital. About a year earlier I had submitted a syllabus to a community college to teach a course on stress management. (Yup, you heard me. 😉 She asked me if I would do a one-day seminar for 200 hospital workers. I said yes and got the job.

My day with the hospital workers went very well. I got a standing ovation and many more days of work. To this day I KNOW that it was because I changed my attitude to gratitude.

Incidentally, the day after she found the earring the girl asked me if anyone had claimed it. I told her no and she said “I guess it was meant for you then.”

I spent the next year conducting training workshops all around the Seattle area and then decided to risk everything and go back to Scotland where I had lived previously. I closed my one man business, bought a plane ticket and got a six month visa from immigration. One month later I met my wonderful English wife and best friend of 15 years now. We live in a small beautiful cottage, two miles from a paved road in the highlands of Scotland.

‘THE ONLY ATTITUDE IS GRATITUDE’ has been my motto for years now and yes, it completely changed my life.

We are the soul traders…

Here’s a brilliant article by Peter Crocker of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au) – a fantastic online resource for small business owners who are working on their own. It really spoke to me when I read it…hope you like it too!

We are the soloists.

Describing a ‘typical’ solo business owner is like trying to describe an ‘average’ person. But as diverse as we are, those in the flourishing soloist movement share many tribal similarities.

We are the third bedroom dwellers, the kitchen table perchers, the café lurkers. We are the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, cleaner, accountant, IT fixer, debt collector, sales manager and strategist. We are front of house, leading role and backstage hand.

We are the name on the van, the bottom line, where the buck stops.

We are the corporate escapees, the Branson wannabees, the little doers, the big talkers, the quiet achievers, the hired guns. We are top of our game, but under the radar.

We are plan A, B and C. We have no safety net, no expense accounts, no war chests, no slush funds, no parent companies, no casual Fridays and no fall back positions. We are familiar with the smell of oily rags.

We are proposals at midnight, invoices at dawn and mowing on Mondays. We are the soul traders – one email away from elation, one phone call from dejection.

We are the red hot go. The crazy dream. The shot at the title. We are the epic fails, the rising from the ashes, the self-made stories.

We are the outside of the box, the other side of the coin, the path less trodden.

We are something from nothing. Mind over matter. We are masters of our own universe. We are the nimble fish in the shark-infested pond.

We threw in the day job and made the bed that we lie in. We are the boss they bitch about.

With more than 1 million of us across Australia, we are the nation’s largest business sector – and the stampede to soloism gathers pace every year.

Welcome to the soloists century. You may be Flying Solo, but you’re not alone.

I am proud to be part of the soloist movement. Are you?

PETER CROCKER (www.flyingsolo.com.au)


Monday Musing: Never Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill.
When funds are low and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Author Unknown

Do you bounce back or give up?

I’ve got a question for you about how well you refocus after experiencing setbacks. How many times have you started a diet, a new way of thinking, or tried something new and then a setback occurs and you just go back to the way you were?

Don’t worry, you are not the only one!

Setbacks and difficulties occur all of the time – they are a natural activity of life. And as with most things, there is a choice – there are two ways of facing difficulties.

You either change / alter the difficulty or you can alter yourself to be able to deal with it.

Deal with difficulties correctly and it will enhance your confidence, deal with them incorrectly and they can do some serious damage to your self worth.

Your response to issues and difficulties

When you are faced with any setback, your ability to deal with it can be turned around into a position of strength by asking yourself positive empowering questions.  There is an unwritten rule that says:

Ask your mind a stupid question and you will get a stupid answer!

So, if after a setback you ask yourself something like,  “Why does this always happen to me, I never have any luck?”, your mind will probably come out with something along the lines of:

“Because you are useless and good things do not happen to you!”

Sound familiar?

Instead, if you ask yourself a positive empowering question like:

“What did I learn from this setback for next time?”, your mind will kick into solution mode and help.

Here are some rules and things to think about when setbacks do occur:

1.  Acknowledge that it has happened. Don’t hide from it. These things happen. So what?

2.  What positive empowering questions can you ask yourself?

  • What is good about this situation?
  • How can I make the most of this situation?
  • What can I learn from it?
  • What are the facts about this problem?
  • How can we make it a successful outcome?

3.  Acknowledge that setbacks occur to everyone and you are not being singled out

4.  View them as a challenge to overcome rather than an issue or problem

Consider the negative disempowering thoughts that you think on a regular basis after a setback.  What new empowering questions could you ask yourself to give some better answers!

Write these down now and make them a habit. I’d love to hear how you get on!