5 for 5 – Making Lemonade

24 Nov


Good morning everyone.

It is Thanksgiving week here in the United States and as I have been trying to take my own advice and Slow Down (http://www.5for5blog.com/5-for-5-blog-slow-down/) as well as reviewing the many things I am grateful for (http://www.5for5blog.com/5-for-5-gratitude-a-foundation-of-good-leaders/), I began thinking this week about many people in my life that have faced down huge challenges and have overcome through perseverance and an amazing will.

In the United State there is a saying:

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

In other words, when faced with huge challenges, believe that you have the power, and the courage, to overcome them. This week, I am so very thankful for many people in my life that are lemonade making masters. I have been hugely inspired in my life by many people: family, friends, and co-workers, who when faced with the insurmountable, rose to the challenge and never gave up. I am thankful to have been a part of many these stories, since for me they serve as rocket fuel when I meet a problem that may, in the moment, seem significant, but ultimately pales in comparison to the trials that some of these people have been through.

There are many stories I can draw on, but I wanted to share the story of my youngest sister, Dr. Meg. For as long as I could remember, she had wanted to have a career focused on sports/physical therapy. And she was well on her way after graduating from a top university with an accelerated masters and doctorate in physical therapy. However, she was handed a bowl of lemons a few summers ago, while volunteering in a foreign country, she broke her wrist. To make a long story short after enduring a couple of very difficult surgeries and painful recoveries, she knew she could not continue in the career that had been her dream for so long; her wrist could not take the stress of the daily responsibilities required in physical therapy.

So what could she do…..certainly no one would fault her for giving up on a career in medicine. But that is exactly what she wouldn’t do….she wouldn’t give up. Currently she has gone back to school to get a new degree, as a physician’s assistant. She took a great chance to build on her knowledge from physical therapy, with a new twist. She was recently accepted in Phi Kappa Phi and is looking to graduate soon. Dr. Meg is a master lemonade maker.

So we all have people in our lives that we have seen make the choice to “make lemonade”. And maybe you have been handed a bowl of lemons. Perhaps it is your career, your health, or some other circumstance… here are some things to think about as you considering making lemonade

  • The choice is yours – If you look at the story I mentioned above, or think of one closer to you, it is about embracing a choice that you can do something better. It requires a practical view, but deeply optimistic.
  • Commit to the hard work – Anyone that has made freshly squeezed lemonade knows, it is exhausting work. Halving the lemons, squeezing dozens, just to make enough for a few people. Making lemonade means accepting the reality of the hard work ahead and committing to see it through regardless.
  • You add the sweetener – While I was preparing to write this post, I had Google searched the quote above and saw an interesting twist “When life gives you lemons, unless someone gives you sugar, your lemonade is going to suck.” Here’s the thing, you add the sweetener. Your attitude will determine many things as you begin making lemonade. Again, it is a choice…..believe that you can make the change. Persevere.

To all of my sisters, my parents, and my wife and kids, you all inspire me. I am very thankful this week and every week.

To all of the 5 for 5 readers, I am also very grateful for you too. I hope this post will inspire you, whether you have been given a bowl of lemons or you are making lemonade, never give up!

Here’s this week’s 5 for 5:

Get Better by Training like an Athlete – by Allison Stadd – via 99u


SO WHAT: Success is not earned in the negotiation, or presentation, or pitch…it is made in the thousands of little moments leading up to the event.

Tags: Learning


A List of Goals Is Not a Strategy – by Graham Kenny – via Harvard Business Review


SO WHAT: Read and re-read this article. If you are not aligned with your stakeholders, and them with you, you have no strategy.

Tags: Strategy


The Cult of Busy – by Dina Kaplan – via Medium


SO WHAT: “Busy should be a confession, not a boast.” The goal is for you to control your life, not it control you.

Tags: Productivity


Every Opportunity Counts! – by William Malone – via Sullivan Branding


SO WHAT: A great collection of quotes from a recent conference hosted by Creative Works. I think my favorite is “Think like a founder, act like an intern.”

Tags: Leadership, Creativity


How To Make Meetings Better, Faster, And More Fun – by Stephanie Vozza – via Fast Company


SO WHAT: Bold ideas on how to improve the bane of corporate existence, meetings.

Tags: Productivity

4 thoughts on “5 for 5 – Making Lemonade

  1. “Think like a founder — act like an intern” is going in my quote book! Thanks for the constant inspiration Kevin. And congrats to your sister! What a great story.

    Also, I love the comment about adding the sweetener. So true – happiness is a choice 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    • Brooke, thank you very much. Happiness and “postitivity” are definitely a choice……and contagious.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

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