Coffee machine conversations at work have a reputation of eating into productive time, not in my case, simply because I am surrounded by some very talented and experienced colleagues; their stories, thoughts and ideas are something which I look forward to.
Recently I happened to take a quick coffee break with my immensely talented and assiduous colleague who also happens to be a mom of two handsome boys. She wanted to share a recent experience from home, and as always, I was all ears.
Her elder son, who is 12 years old wanted a PC /Laptop. He thought he deserved one, and why not… don’t all boys his age need one, especially for a lot of googling, researching, gaming, social media etc. He thought it would be easy, all he needed to do was ask his parents for a laptop and he would get it the very next day.
My colleague and her husband could very well afford the latest and the best laptop for their son, but they decided to teach him a valuable lesson, they decided to make him ‘Earn his Laptop’. But the question was how. After a lot of brainstorming, the parents finally decided to relate it to their son’s interest in Robotics.If he wanted a laptop then he would have to work on a Robotics project . They expected him to create a project report, work on the specifications, explain its workings, identify the need of a 6GB RAM, 15 inches screen, 500GB Hard disk mean machine to create another.
That he did with complete dedication, endeavour and every bit of detailing even to the point of clearly justifying the use of a laptop for his project. It helped him think of how to use his laptop for something bigger, beyond gaming and social media….The result? He Earned his laptop, and his parents’ admiration too.
I heard the story, I looked at my watch, break done without coffee but with some great learning. I began to wonder, “Have “I” earned my laptop?”
Do you remember your first jeans bought with your first salary, the first gift you bought for your family, how proud you felt, your hard earned money. It was not about the money it was about how hard you worked to earn it, it was more about the satisfaction.
The experience shared by my colleague, helped me look back and introspect:
When I expected people to trust me, was it preceded by worthwhile actions and words which helped me “Earn their Trust” or did I think of it is as just a “basic value I am entitled to” without even raising an arm.
When I expected people to respect me, was it after leading the way, displaying the art of respecting everyone and “Earning their Respect” or was it something I believed came stapled with the offer letter stating my designation.
When I thought that I had the Right to give advice, to give feedback, to instruct, did I ever think that a “A Right may not be Right unless I have earned that Right.”
Some very basic questions which return some very insightful answers.
What we earn comes as an achievement and what we expect comes as a grant. What we earn through our efforts, focus, commitments always leaves a sweet aftertaste. What we earn we cherish, not just for a few moments, but for a long, long time.
This helped me realise, “What I deserve” makes me think what others should do for me, while “What I can earn” makes me think what I should do for myself”.
I think I have earned a Coffee Break now! What have you Earned today?
Be Good..Stay Happy!