Skip to main content

Carrots, eggs, coffee...and pharmacy

A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling through LinkedIn and one of my colleagues had shared a post about carrots and eggs. The point of the post was that if you put a carrot and an egg into boiling water, over time the boiling water makes the carrot soft while the egg becomes hard.

The boiling water represents the environment where we find ourselves. We are all in the same environment, but what we become in that environment can be radically different. It’s an important lesson to recognize.

When I started writing for last year, it was to share some ideas and perspectives about how we lead, especially through difficult times. I believe many of us, myself included, were hopeful that things in the world would improve and return to some semblance of normal. I don’t know that I expect that today. I do expect things will get better. And I also expect this new better will look much different from the way things look today. 

Seeing the lesson of the carrot and the egg reminded me of a lesson one of my mentors, Jon Gordon, teaches.  He notes the lesson of the carrot and egg, then he goes a step further to remind us of how the coffee bean works. The boiling water softens the carrot; the boiling water hardens the egg; but the coffee bean is unchanged. Instead, the coffee bean changes the environment around it.

There is a mighty lesson to learn here as leaders. We surely find ourselves in the boiling water from time to time. I can tell you for certain that I spend too much time in my career allowing my environment to harden me like the egg. However, now, I look for ways to change my environment, like the coffee bean. 

There is an important caveat that we must be aware of: You cannot give what you do not have. 

While this is quite obvious, it is far too often overlooked. We have all experienced out-of-stocks, have we not? You cannot dispense a medication if you do not have it. We may not like the principle, but that does not make it less true.

So, what is inside of you? When it comes down to it, we are all coffee beans. What comes out when the figurative water starts to boil all around you? We must recognize that what is in us is what will come out of us during challenging times. 

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague earlier today. She commented on the huge amount of negativity coming from a physician regarding a problem she was addressing with him. What do you suppose the physician was consuming? If you cannot give what you do not have, then the opposite must also be true. You can only give what you do have. If this physician was giving all kinds of negative thoughts and attitudes, we can be confident that he consumes a lot of negative things.

I encourage you today to consume the positive things.  Let me encourage you to listen to the good music. I encourage you to read the good stories. I also encourage you to remove the negative things at the same time. When you turn up the positive, the people around you benefit – and reflect the positive back to you.

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn





More Blog Posts in This Series

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds