My, how times have changed.
There are two budding entrepreneurs in my neighborhood who occasionally have a lemonade stand close to my house. I always try to stop by, encouraging them with my words and my money. I’m not sure how much they actually sell, as we live in a pretty rural area, but these elementary-age ladies are showing early signs of the creativity, risk-taking and drive that makes self-starters successful.
However, when I stopped by over the weekend, there was something new on their table. When I asked what they were selling, the “boss lady,” who is probably 10-years-old said, “stress balls.” Stress balls? There on the table was a lineup of brightly colored balloons filled with cornstarch.
When did we transition from a cup of lemonade that brightens our day to needing therapy through squeezing a stress ball?
Me: “Stress balls! Well, that’s creative! How much are they?”
Boss Lady: “ We have two sizes. Fifty cents for the small ones, and a dollar for the big ones. We have several different colors to choose from.”
Me: “Well, give me a big one. That orange one is really pretty. I have lots of stress!”
So here we are, teaching our young girls about stress at an early age. Instead of witnessing us enjoying life, they watch us as we’re overwhelmed, crabby and exhausted. Instead of seeing us taking life in stride, they discern we’re overstressed and overworked because we can’t say no; we view our busyness as badges of honor, and we seldom indulge in a bit of pampering. As entrepreneurs, they’re solving a problem they perceive is widespread, perhaps believing the stress ball business will be more profitable than lemonade. After all, aren’t all adults stressed?
Is someone watching you? Are you modeling a life that needs a stress ball, or a cup of lemonade? What would serve you better right now as you take a five-minute break?
I encourage you to create a lemonade-filled life, one that enjoys a slower pace with more white space on your calendar. Yes, there is so much to get done! But it will all be there tomorrow, and the next day and the next. As the old adage says: Every day is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.
The next time I see these young ladies on the corner with their stress balls, I’ll stop and say, ”My life is so great that I don’t really have stress! But here’s a dollar for your business anyway. Don’t ever stop creating! And remember to enjoy life along the way.”
When life gets stressful, squeeze lemons, make a pitcher of lemonade, and invite a friend over to enjoy the refreshment. It’s much more fun than squeezing a stress ball!