The residents would come to the dining room, and we would serve them a four-course meal—salad, choice of soup or juice, choice of one of two entrees, and dessert. They all came in at once, which is why we had to be fairly fast during the 90-minutes we had to serve them.
There would be seven waitresses or waiters on every shift, and we would each get our own row of tables to take care of.
While we were responsible for finding someone to cover our shift, stuff happens, and sometimes there would only be six waitresses on a shift, which meant we would each take an extra table.
It was a pain, but not nearly as difficult as those times when we would be short two waitresses. Those shifts were hell.
So, imagine everyone’s surprise when my boss decided she not only needed to fire two of the wait staff, but that she would do it right before a shift they were both scheduled to work. And no, my boss hadn’t scheduled anyone to cover.
You see, my boss didn’t actually stay and supervise the shifts. That was the hostess’ job (who was an adult) and the (adult) cook.
I can still remember the flabbergasted look on the cook’s and hostess’ face as my boss merrily locked up her office and waved a cheery goodbye, as the remaining five waitresses (including Yours Truly) stood there trying to process what had just happened.
(Side note—the hostess who was on that night, Ginny, could be a real jerk. No one much liked her. But, that night, she couldn’t have been nicer to us.)
One of the waiters who had been fired left immediately. I couldn’t blame him. Remember, we were all a bunch of sixteen and seventeen year-olds. Why on earth would he stick around? How many adults would stay for a shift, under those circumstances?
Except … the other one did stay. I don’t remember her name anymore, but I do remember I never liked her. She wasn’t very friendly nor was she all that fast or efficient (which is probably why she was fired). But, after she had a good cry in the bathroom, she pulled herself together and stayed for her shift.
She stayed for us. Not for our dippy boss. She stayed because she knew how crappy it was to be down to five waitresses.
(Well, maybe she didn’t stay for me. I doubt she liked me anymore than I liked her.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about mental toughness lately, and how to balance that with not pushing or forcing things to happen, but to instead be more “in the flow” with what is being presented to me.
Thinking back to what that teenager did all those years ago, I realize how she must have felt—humiliated, angry, resentful, and whatever else.
But, she pulled herself together and made it through her shift. She didn’t leave. She didn’t lose her temper. She did what needed to be done, and she did it with a surprising amount of grace.
How many adults would have done what she did?
Would you have done what she did?
Circling back to this idea of mental toughness, one thing I’m realizing is even when you’re in flow and surrendering to what God or the Universe or your inner wisdom/intuition is guiding you to do, you still may not want to do it.
In other words, just because you know in your heart that whatever you’re working on right now is what you’re “supposed” to be doing, you still might now want to do it.
There are days when you don’t want to get on the phone and coach your clients.
There are days when you don’t want to write that blog post.
There are days when you don’t even want to get out of bed.
But, you know if you want to build your business, or get your art or books or message out into the world, that particular task is something you’re meant to work on.
That’s where mental toughness comes in—doing the task you know you’re meant to do, regardless of how you feel about it.
One of the things that sets successful people apart from those who aren’t as successful is how mentally tough they are. Successful people are willing to do whatever it takes to make their goals and dreams come true.
If you’re not as success as you’d like, maybe the problem is you’re not as mentally tough as you could be.
That teenage waitress showed remarkable mental toughness, staying for her shift because she knew in her heart it was the right thing to do, even though I’m sure every part of her was screaming for her to leave.
If you’re serious about what you’re building right now, I invite you to consider your mental toughness. Are you as tough as you’d like? Or do you “let yourself off the hook” and not do the things you know would help you grow your business faster?
What you discover about yourself may surprise you.
If you’d like to dig into this topic more deeply, my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book is a great place to start.