Last Sunday afternoon my 6-year old niece was, as always, trying to come up with something to entertain herself. I have to admit; her projects often make me lose my patience. She spills water all over, plays with food coloring around the house and creates many messes, and not only that, but she doesn’t enjoy the cleaning part, so it can become a battle to “encourage” her to clean after herself.
That day everything started the same way.
An idea came to her head. She rushed to check the pantry. With a focused face, walked towards the stool in the living room and brought it to the kitchen. She grabbed a knife and a cutting table (relax, her dad is a chef and taught her how to use a knife).
The rest of us were just on with the day, asking her to be careful, warning her not to make a mess.
This 6-year old child decided to take all the limes we had in our pantry to make lemonade and used brown sugar to make it look like ice tea. After she was happy with her creation, she started to literally recruit people to help her.
“Please help me get a table out”
“Who is coming with me outside?”
“Help me bring the stool”
“Help me make a sign”
She wanted to sell lemonade to our neighbors.
Easy business, right? She saw the lemons and thought: OPPORTUNITY! "I get to be outside, have fun and make money at the same time".
And this is what she got back from the people that love her the most:
“We don’t want to go outside right now”
“It’s too hot”
“If you are doing this, you are on your own”.
And so she did. She was determined. She was outside. On her own. Waiting for people to come to her stand so she could sell them lemonade.
Her mom (my sister) was watching her through the window (as any responsible parent would do!). As she sat there, seeing her child alone, patiently waiting for someone to approach her stand, she naturally felt remorse and decided to go outside with her.
The Magic Happened.
As my sister was getting ready to go outside, something magical happened: She opened the door and there she was, her child with a stand full of neighbors buying her product.
In less than 30 minutes she was $8 richer.
And oh boy, did she teach us a great lesson?
Not only did she keep going, insisting to move forward with her goal, but when everyone kept discouraging her to go ahead with her plan, she remained strong with her dream to sell lemonade. The magic didn’t end with the neighbors joining, but eventually she got everyone out of our house joining her as well.
I started thinking, what would I have done in her shoes? Would I have moved forward if those around me kept discouraging me after sharing my plans, goals or dreams? I’m not so sure…
Teaching Lessons from a 6-year old.
My niece taught me great lessons that day, so I agreed I would share them with the world.
-I learned that life is about me telling YES to myself.
-I know now that if I have a “crazy plan”, a dream or a big desire to accomplish something, I just have to go for it.
-Asking for help is okay. Others might do it reluctantly, but their attitude doesn’t matter. What matters is how I decide to let that affect my goal.
-I also learned that taking action builds confidence. She was very shy at the beginning, not really sure of how to present herself, but after selling all that lemonade she relaxed and had a big smile on her face, very proud of herself.
-It reaffirmed that if you have a gift (like making delicious lemonade/serving others/creating) we must share it with the world.
My niece didn’t care what others thought of her entrepreneurship project. She didn’t stop to think about whether it was possible or not. She just did it. She looked for the resources, did her work, got help when appropriate and made money out of it. On top of that, she got the community together.
Important note: She didn’t pay me for the lemons, but thanks to her determination and winner attitude, I decided to invest in her business (I can call myself an Angel Investor now). She’s opening her stand again this Sunday and she has plans to up-sell her clients to buy a chocolate chip cookie at a discounted price when they buy lemonade. Of course, I’m not only her investor, apparently, I’m also her employee because I had to commit to baking the cookies for this weekend’s sale.
You never know where your greatest lesson is coming from. This has been a good one for many of us in our family.
Keep your heart and mind open. Allow other’s experiences to inspire you to go for what you want, to dream BIG dreams, to see a world filled with resources and possibilities. A world, where a 6-year old, free of internal blocks, with a limitless mindset, can teach us how to lead ourselves, our business, our families and our community.
How different would your life be if you led it through my niece’s eyes?
Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here