I had the privilege of hearing Ariane de Bonvoisin speak yesterday at the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction luncheon. It was my second time hearing her speak – and she moved me even more yesterday than the first time. Ariane held a top corporate job managing a $500 million venture capital fund at the age of 30. She was making great money and was miserable. So one day, her “inner microphone” said to her “Ariane… get out.” And she did.
She left her high paying, miserable job in search of the “thing” that fired her up. She travelled Europe (she was born in NYC, but is part Belgiun and part English) – and went on to visit all 7 continents. During her adventure, she started to realize how much she was changing – all because of this change she’d made in her life. So she spoke to everyone she met about just that – change. She asked people who had experienced incredible, miraculous changes what the best thing that came out of that change was. And she asked the same question of people who’d lost loved ones. The good and the bad. She compiled the lessons she learned in her book “The First 30 Days.” But two stories she told yesterday really struck a chord with me.
A group of five year old students were each given one marshmallow. They were told they could do whatever they wanted to with it. But if they waited five minutes before eating it, they’d receive a second marshmallow. 90% of the kids ate their marshmallow. 5% licked their marshmallow :) and 5% waited with marshmallow in hand for the second marshmallow. The group of kids who didn’t eat their marshmallow received a second one. And that group was tracked for the next 35 years. Without a shadow of a doubt – that group was wildly more successful than the group who ate their marshmallow.
Patience – and the realization that your greatest accomplishment or opportunity – that which you LONG for – could be just five minutes around the corner – can play a huge role not just in your business, but in your life in general. Emily’s greatest life lesson. Perhaps one day I will fully learn this :)
Ariane talked about how woodpeckers choose a tree. And every day they go back to the tree and peck away. Everyone else looks at the woodpecker and says ‘Crazy woodpecker, what are you doing day after day.” But the woodpecker keeps pecking, monotonously and with dedication. One thing’s for sure – their beak hurts every night. Another thing’s for sure… one day, that tree falls. And everyone else says “Look what that woodpecker did.”
The moral here? Never give up. Even when it feels monotonous. Keep pecking. And don’t eat your marshmallow just yet.