March 13, 2020
In late January, The Alliance held its National Convention in its Burlington, N.C. headquarters, with more than 1,500 attending from all over the United States. One of the many highlights from this event was our keynote speaker, Damon West, who has an amazing story of how a person can transform their life in a positive way even when the odds seem against it.
West wrote a book with my friend Jon Gordon titled, “The Coffee Bean.” During his keynote, West talked about the book and its fable that centers around what happens to water when three different things are added to the pot. When you put a carrot in water, it becomes soft like a sad person. When you add an egg, it becomes hard like a mad or angry person. If you add a coffee bean to the water, it magically becomes coffee.
We all get to decide if we are going to be a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean. When life happens, a lot of people go from a coffee bean to a carrot or an egg. My wish is that people work to become a coffee bean and stay that way regardless of the situation.
Are you living your life in a manner that puts you in position to change the entire direction of your world? Wouldn’t you rather be the agent of change, rather than letting something change your makeup? Do you find yourself helping matters when a problem pops up, or do you make it worse through your words, actions and behavior?
Life is hard. I know that. It’s not always fun. There are stresses, challenges, etc. Our environment can change quickly, whether we like it or not. When this happens, we are tested in a big way.
How do we respond? Do we let it weaken us? I hope not. I want you to set the example for others to follow. It’s not always easy to be a strong, committed leader, but it is necessary. The best leaders are great at staying like the coffee bean. They are not real big on becoming a soggy carrot or hardened egg in water. They would rather be the change that makes a difference instead of letting the situation change them. There’s a good chance if you start thinking more intentionally about the situations you find yourself in, then you can create better outcomes for yourself and others.
I don’t want you to be like the carrot or the egg. I want you to be that coffee bean that changes things for the better, even in difficult times. Being that person that transforms the environment can not only change your life for the good, but others will notice and be impacted by it as well. I believe you have great power inside you, and that you can use that power to be the best possible version of yourself. Too many people let fear, doubt and stress rule their existence. Don’t let fear cripple you, when there’s a good chance what you fear won’t even happen.
Operate with great faith and confidence in your ability to get through any situation. Your position will determine your perspective. Avoid toxic relationships at all times. Take personal inventory of where you are and where you want to be daily. Speak positive words. Encourage others and cheer them on. All these things matter. They can make a difference in people’s lives.
“Operate with great faith and confidence in your ability to get through any situation.”
Look, bad things will happen. The key is to react appropriately. Don’t let a minor obstacle sink you when it shouldn’t. If you wake up in America, then I think there’s a great chance for you to be successful. You should wake up excited each morning about what you have the opportunity to do that day. We are all blessed more than we realize.
Don’t let little setbacks make you soft and weak like a carrot in water. Don’t let a bad break make you hard like a boiled egg. Make the absolute best out of any and every situation. Be like the coffee bean and change your environment for the better, especially when things aren’t going your way.
This life is too short for us to get caught up in drama that doesn’t even matter at the end of the day. Focus on what is in front of you and, most certainly, what you can control. When things are going well, don’t get too high or bang your chest too loudly. When things seem really bad, don’t let the situation overwhelm you or bog you down.
Keep grinding away. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep moving toward the goal in your mind. Keep making progress. Make one more call. Take one more meeting. Speak to one more person that you think needs a kind word. Stay positive. Once you complete a task, figure out what you need to do next. Start working on that. Embrace the process.
In any given scenario – good or bad – you have a choice to make. You can react badly. This doesn’t help make things better. You can just NOT react, which is a response, but that doesn’t help the matter either. You can CHOOSE to react positively or correctly too. I’m a big fan of the positive reaction. Why? Because it will help the situation instead of amplifying the problem at hand. I believe that is always the best way to handle challenges. Identify the problem, figure out the best way to attack it and start working on the fix. If you are trying to put out a fire, you don’t throw gasoline on it. Don’t do that with obstacles and challenges that spring up in life.
The world is a big pot of water. It definitely needs more coffee beans to change the pot into a strong batch of coffee. I believe you can help make the pot better.
Becoming that coffee bean can start right now. Intentionally think about what it takes to be a coffee bean as you go through your daily routine. I hope that doing this makes you react in a more positive manner moving forward.