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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute – a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

An ageless folktale about dealing with adversity

Every so often, a conversation with an elderly relative reminds me of a tale from Indian folklore that I heard when I was a child. Recently, that happened again, this time on the topic of how one reacts or responds to adversity. The story tells of a young person who was complaining to his grandmother about the challenges he was facing in his school and job — difficult assignments, tough professors, a demanding boss, not enough time to relax, and always, a seeming shortage of funds. The grandmother responded by placing three pots of water on the stove. When the water in each was boiling, she placed two potatoes in the first pot, two eggs in the second, and a scoop of tea leaves in the third. About twenty minutes later, she pulled out the potatoes and eggs and placed them on a plate, and strained the tea leaves into a cup, and placed them all in front of the young man. Puzzled, he looked up at her.

"Touch the potatoes," she said. "They're soft," he answered.
"Peel the egg," she commanded. He did.
"Drink the tea." "It's delicious, thank you," he responded with a smile. "But I'm still confused, Grandmama", he said. "What was the point of all this?"

"The three pots of water were identical. But the potatoes, the eggs and the tea all responded to the same situation differently. In hot water, the potatoes softened. If you dropped them now, they'd likely break apart into mush. But in the same hot water, the fragile eggs hardened on the inside, and became stronger. The tea leaves however did something completely different — they actually changed the hot water and created something brand-new and better. Which one are you grandson," she continued. "When you are faced with adversity, are you the potato, or the egg, or the tea leaves? It is a choice that only you can make, and your choice will determine your outcome."

As leaders, this is a question worth considering. As you already know, the unexpected always happens in the workplace, and it's not always easy. How do you respond? Do you succumb? Do you become jaded by the experience? Or do you find a way to turn it into something positive? As always, I would love to hear your perspectives. Please share online at the blog at:

Making the switch to a supervisory role — continuing our popular series of video tips

In February, Merge began a series of 2-minute videos on the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog about the fundamental struggle that most first-time supervisors face — which is not understanding that they have changed occupations. And by doing so, they sabotage themselves and jeopardize their ultimate success as leaders. These were so popular that Merge decided to extend the series which finally wrapped up last week. Here are the ones that aired since the last Mega Minute was published.

Merge interviewed on CJOB 680 Radio AM

Stephanie Staples is host of the radio show Your Life Unlimited that airs on CJOB 680 Radio AM across Canada on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Merge was honoured to be her guest earlier in March where they talked about strategies to grow your mind and develop your abilities, based on Merge's best-selling book Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell? You can listen to the archived radio show here, and if you don't have the time to listen to the whole interview, you can still read about 17 strategies to grow your mind and develop your abilities, which have been selected from the 171 strategies listed in the book.

Turning Managers into Leaders

That Merge has over 100 leadership how-to articles available to you for NO charge?

If you've got a specific leadership challenge or issue you're dealing with, chances are that Merge has been asked that question before. Which means that she's probably written a how-to article on just that very subject! Our comprehensive article directory (along with the Turning Managers into Leaders blog, Merge's Mega Minute archives, the self-assessment library, and Merge's radio clips archive) will answer just about ANY leadership question or problem you're up against. Visit our Free Tools section, Merge's blog, or go directly to the Article Archive.

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