Aug 15: Priming the pump

primingWhen I lived in St. Louis, we bought a house with a large yard which meant we needed to mow the lawn.  I remembered being excited about getting a lawn mower – I felt like a grown-up!  My husband brought it home from the hardware store and then we waited for the grass to grow, which didn’t take but a couple of days.

I remember wheeling the mower out and reaching down and pulling that cord (which takes more work than I gave it credit for initially.)  Nothing happened.  Hmm.  I pulled again – and again – and again.  Nothing.  I was getting pretty ticked off and thinking we have a lemon of a mower.

Frustrated, I sat down on the driveway and my neighbor walked over and asked if I needed help.  Sheepishly I admitted I did, the neighbor reached down found this fancy red button, pushed it a couple of times and pulled the cord.  Voila.  The mower started right up!

I thanked the neighbor, mowed the lawn and all the time wondered, “What the hell was that red button?”  When I got finished, I pulled the owner’s manual out and discovered what priming the pump meant.  Shaking my head and thinking, “Who knew?”  (Apparently not me!)

That lesson has taught me a lot about business and life.  Before I go into any meeting, presentation, party etc. I prime the pump for myself.  I learn what I can about the organization I am speaking with so I am knowledgeable in their area.  I look at who is attending a meeting and make a cheat sheet about who the people are so I am more familiar (and personal) with them during the get-together.  I set the stage for my kids at parties to let them know what the expectations are so we can all enjoy ourselves.

Something so little can have a profound effect on how an experience unfolds.  There should be a metaphorical red button in every situation in our lives to remind us to prime the situation before proceeding so we may experience the best outcome.

Sheryl Brown / @BionicSocialite

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