When life gives you lemons…

Most of you will have heard the saying “when life gives you lemons make lemonade” and you’ll be thinking – “yeah, yeah, I get it, make a bad situation into a better one” but, before you judge, let’s break that analogy down a bit more and see how it can be used as an illustration to help you endure the situation you’re currently facing.

Think about the Lemonade = Focus on the end goal

Obviously this is a very serious time for everyone.  People are dying from COVID-19, the economy is massively affected, people are being made redundant and many day to day changes are negatively impacting all of us.  But… that isn’t always going to be the case.  Does the coronavirus pandemic mean you’ll never get another job?  Does it mean you’ll never have contact with people you love again?  Or be able to shop again normally with enough to go around?  No, these are all temporary things. 

We have all been dealt with a few lemons in these last few weeks, some more than others.  A lot of the bigger things are out of your control but, when it comes to your individual situation, there are a lot of things that you can affect.  One of them is how you view the situation.  Try to have a longer term view, see past the current challenges you’re facing and focus on the end goal – the other side of this, a return to normality and where you want to be at that time. 

Now, lemons don’t magically turn into lemonade… some effort is needed and there is a process to be followed.  The first step has already been done for you, you’ve got some lemons.

Lemons = Your Situation

Lemons are obviously very bitter, which is clearly why the use of them in this saying is so relevant but, are they totally bad?  The answer is no, they’re not.  Lemons contain a high amount of vitamin C.  In fact, one lemon provides 31mg of the stuff, which amounts to around half of our recommended daily vitamin C intake!  As well as reducing the risk of heart disease, vitamin C builds up your immune system, helps iron absorption, helps wound healing and supports the maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth.  In other words, it strengthens you.

With the enforced lockdown, offices being closed and, in the worst cases, total loss of employment, it’s fair to say that ‘life’ has given all of us a lemon or 2, or 5 or 10.  Although the initial taste is bitter and it takes some getting used to, the situations we are now presented with can also strengthen us in the long term.

So what do we need to do with these lemons to make lemonade?  Firstly you need some additional ingredients.

Additional ingredients = get some help

How do you take away the raw bitterness of lemons?  Add some sugar.  How do you make it taste nicer?  Add water.  Both of these ingredients are freely available and cheap which is good, because you’ll need quite a lot of both!  You may be wondering how this relates to the illustration and your individual situation.  Well, in order to make lemonade from lemons, you need additional help; external things that are essential to turning your lemons into a far better tasting alternative.  So take advantage of the help on offer:

  • Online mentors – seek some advice on your next career step if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation.  There are plenty of kind and caring people out there who are offering their services at discounted rates or even for free.  Find them and use them because these offers won’t be available when things go back to normal.
  • Help with any mental health issues – There are a number of people who are available to talk to about the situation you’re in, the difficulties you face and how this can affect your mental health.  Some have even filled out forms with their contact details and posted them online so you can contact them for free.
  • Use the Government help – the situation is becoming clearer around what the £330 billion business loan package promise actually means, so look into it and see if you’re eligible.  If not, look into the usual support that are available for those who are unemployed, universal credit, jobseekers allowance.  For those of you who’s partners are still able to work, perhaps working tax credits is an option as well.  Again, you’ll need to find out more but help is available.
  • Help with getting work – Register with recruiters and let them know what you’re looking for and how they can help you!  Maybe they’ve got roles coming up that you won’t know about or maybe you haven’t seen their adverts.  Even if they don’t have roles right now, they will have in the future so register now whilst you have the time to spend doing it.  Some recruiters are offering a free CV review, including us at Finstech.  Please e-mail us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Mix up the ingredients = Blend it all together

These are unprecedented times, everything is all over the place.  You got the lemons, you added the ingredients mix it all up and give it a go!  If you just hang onto those lemons and do nothing, you will remain bitter for a long time.  Here are a couple of things you can blend in:

  • Work on your personal brand – Advertise yourself.  Use the time you have to update your CV or perhaps even rewrite your CV.   LinkedIn and other platforms provide us with an unbelievable platform to showcase ourselves, and connect us with others who can provide advice or even more direct help.  Reach out for feedback or recommendations.  Getting these on your company websites or LinkedIn will only enhance your chances of finding work or clients.
  • Make the best use of your time – no doubt you’ve always had challenges of varying sizes in our lives and yet you’re still here, reading this!  This may be the biggest challenge of your life.  Does anxiety and worry add anything to your life?  NO!  In fact, the opposite is true.  So use the time you have to sweeten your lemons.  Spend time with your family, help your children with home school projects, watch a box set (I’ve a couple of recommendations if you’re interested!), read a book, exercise (Joe Wicks, 9am every morning) and try to keep to a routine.  A good blend of all these things will keep you motivated, energised and balanced.

Drink the lemonade = Experience the outcome of your labour

It’s hardly a happy ending is it?  It’s unlikely that we’re going to look back in a few months time and laugh about all of this because it’s already been rubbish, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.  Nobody asked for this and it’s not your fault that you’ve ended up with a load of lemons but that is what you have got!  The illustrative lemonade may not be the future you saw for yourself even a month ago.  It might not even taste very nice at the end of the process but, and I believe I speak for most people when I say that, lemonade is a heck of a lot more palatable than lemons!  So stay safe, work hard and try to stay positive and focused on a brighter future.