I’m writing this on my big day, the day my very first book launched. I should have been filled with excitement and pride, which I was, but I was also filled with an unexpected surge of emotion. It all of a sudden hit me – I had taken the lemons which life had handed me and….I’d written a book! And not only a book, but a book that is going to help others in my profession, and a book that has directly led to me landing an amazing job in an amazing company. How’s that for lemonade!
Let me start from the beginning, which was a year and a few months ago. I’d gone into work after the holiday season to be told that I was being made redundant (for non-UK readers this means that my company had decided they no longer needed my job . . . or me!). I’ve had this happen to me before, having been in the workplace for over 30 years, but this was made even worse by the fact that I had just picked up and moved my family, and we were in the middle of selling our old house and buying a new one. More lemons and more stress!
Needless to say, I came home shocked and scared, wondering how I was going to keep up a brave front for my children, and get through not only finding a new job but sorting out the challenges we were having buying and selling homes (which in the UK is not very straightforward!). Very early on in the process, my husband and I decided that we were going to handle both of these in the ‘right’ way – I was going to find not just any job but the ‘right’ job, and we weren’t going to settle on any house, but the ‘right’ house for our kids and us. Good decisions, but more lemons!
I began by taking charge of my lemons, putting on my determined and optimistic persona. This is when I came up with the idea of a book, deciding that it would be the perfect way to occupy my time, my mind, and my energies….doing something constructive with my lemons! I had never written a book before, and in fact it wasn’t something that had been high on my bucket list. It just hit me one day, I had something that I passionately wanted to write about, communications, and this was the perfect time to give it a go. Now I’m not saying it was easy, and using the lemon/lemonade analogy, I probably didn’t have the proper ‘tools’ to make lemonade, but hey, I did it and it ended up being something that I am extremely proud of and as I mentioned at the start, will help others.
Let me jump now to the other happy ending to my story, and that is about me finding the ‘right’ job. I had almost finished my book, and was asked to speak at a seminar about the model I created and explained in the book. I showed up, did my presentation and then sat back to listen to the next speaker, Glenn Elliott (CEO and Founder of Reward Gateway). What can I say about Glenn, he and his story was so inspirational that I asked him if I could interview him for the book. We met up for the interview, I got my fantastic story for the book, and then Glenn completely surprised me and offered me a role he decided to create after hearing me speak. I knew immediately it was the ‘right’ job for me, especially as I had walked away from others that didn’t sound or feel right. This was an even better happy ending than I could have ever imagined.
So what did this teach me and what do I want to share with you?
The first lesson was about the lemons – specifically their purpose. I learned that lemons don’t have to be something bad if you use them to create the right ‘recipe’. Avoid them and/or let them overpower you, and you end up with a bunch of useless ingredients or even worse rotten lemons surrounded by green mould! We need to take the time to understand them, and like ingredients in a recipe, understand if/where they fit in, and how they should be used.
The next lesson is about the ‘recipe’ itself – what you decide to do with the lemons. For me, it was writing a book, as I thought it would give me purpose and outcome which I’d be proud of. For you it may be different, but the point is, don’t start doing anything with the lemons until you decide what the recipe is going to be.
The final point is one that works alongside the others, and that is to have belief and trust in yourself. Believe that you can handle the lemons, and you can create a recipe which is right for you. As Arianna Huffington suggests in her book “Thrive”, you need to ‘evict you obnoxious roommate’, those negative thoughts that make you think you can’t do things. I had never written a book before, but that didn’t stop me (or my publisher) from believing in me, which is why I strongly believe that I’ve been able to achieve my happy ending.
In closing, my wish for you is that if you find yourself in a situation where you are handed lemons …..you find your own way to use them to create your own happy ending!