At his office job, Abe’s ability to apply the lesson of the coffee bean was seriously tested. 7

from book

Abe worked as hard as he could at his sales job, but it seemed to be no use. No matter how much he poured himself into it, his sales numbers kept going down.  But it wasn’t just Abe who was floundering. His coworkers and his company as a whole were in the same trouble. Week after week, they kept failing to reach their sales goals and revenue targets. The market was tough, and there were major macroeconomic and technological changes happening in their industry. As a result, they were being squeezed by external forces beyond their control.  With his job in jeopardy, a wife and three kids to support, and a mortgage, two cars, healthcare bills and credit card debts to pay off, Abe was getting increasingly anxious and stressed about his ability to make ends meet.  Festering with these negative emotions, he started seeing his wife and children more as burdens than gifts, and he began to withdraw from his partner. When she tried to talk to him about his difficulties, he’d walk out of the room. In other words, part of him was turning into an egg.  He also started thinking about giving up. He contemplated quitting his job and finding a new one, rejoining the military or even running away from his life and starting all over again. Another part of him was turning into a carrot.  But then, one cold winter day, while he was drinking his morning coffee and thinking these carrot-like thoughts, he looked down into his mug and felt the warmth of the hot beverage below. At that moment, he remembered Mr. Jackson’s lesson of the coffee bean, which he’d forgotten about amid all the stress in his life.  Inspired by the lesson all over again, Abe went back to work and rolled up his sleeves. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, he focused on developing new relationships and opportunities for his company. His sales numbers turned around, and he got promoted all the way up to head of sales and marketing.  Under Abe’s leadership, the company regained its footing by streamlining its operations, adopting innovative ideas and technologies, and adding new products and services to its lineup. The surrounding economic conditions remained challenging – but instead of viewing them with fear, regret or resignation, the company embraced them as an opportunity to evolve.  Here, we’ll leave Abe in his moment of triumph and draw two final lessons from his story.