Tales My Mother Told Me…Tale 11 "I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done"

Welcome to Tales My Mother Told Me…

Tale 11: “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done” – Buddha

I always do my best to remember this quote from Buddha, particularly when I get snowed under, or overwhelmed with work.

This quote always brings me back to reality.

Let me tell you why…

Fifteen years ago we owned a small chain of furniture and homeware stores in Sydney.

The business was demanding on many levels, with plenty of pressure. We were constantly busy with co-ordinating the furniture production on the manufacturing side of the business, along with selling the furniture in our retail stores. And then of course, there was the furniture delivery service too.

It was non stop.

We were very lucky to have the support of my parents at the time. Mainly moral support, but they certainly played a critical mentoring role.

My parents, particularly Mum, were great, full of encouragement, and they kept us focused too.

I can clearly remember one particular day. It was a one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong… You know those days…

On this day we were expecting a huge delivery of furniture from the factory, and of course, it was well and truly late.

Worse, because the factory was rushing to mean the deadline, the entire shipment that arrived was badly finished.

To say that I was very disappointed was an understatement. And stressed!

We were due to commence delivering to our customers within the hour. Our delivery drivers were waiting, and already on the clock.

Looking at the furniture, there were fifteen pieces of furniture that needed to be retouched, I totally lost it…

I started to yell and complain about the state of the furniture. “This is crazy Mum, we have to retouch the lot, all fifteen pieces, and we don’t have time!” I yelled. “Look at the dispatch area! It’s full of deliveries! We are so far behind with the delivery schedule, we’ll never be able to deliver any of this on time!”

In a very calm tone my Mother asked me, “So Son, which piece of furniture shall we get done first?”

Now I know my Mum was deliberately ignoring my yelling, my stress, and my out of control sense of urgency, but that didn’t stop my tirade. Everything spilled out at that point. All the things I still needed to do. All the things that were going wrong. All the things that other people had done wrong. All the things that I knew were going to happen now that everything had gone so wrong…

I’m not sure how long I was whinging and complaining for. Quite a while I imagine.

And all through that time my Mum was amazing.

Looking back on that day I can recognise that Mum felt all those stresses and worries too. And on top of that, she was subjected to all of my stresses and fears as well.

But here’s the difference…

My Mother chose not to be in the same emotional state that I was in.

This was what she said that brought me back to my senses. “My little one, at this moment don’t worry about what has been done. I understand that you are very upset because of what the factory has delivered today. We can deal with the factory latter. What we need to focus on right now is how to get the rest of delivery out to the customers’ home. So keep calm, and focus on what really matters… what remains to be done”.

On that day she knew what needed to be done to get us out of trouble. She never focused on what had been done, she only saw what really remained to be done. Mum was right about the delivery too. Although our delivery was running late we managed to inform all our customers about the delay and they were quite understanding. And we did complete all the delivery runs on the day, late, but everyone received thier furniture.

So that was my story about the quote. Now I would like to share with you how this quote  has changed my way of thinking, and how I run our business. You can apply these tips into your own business too of course.

Here are some of the tips:

Don’t make excuses or keep complaining about things that block the way in your life and business. Instead, find solutions to the problem and fix them.
The amount of time we spent on making excuses, complaining and whinging could better off invested into solving the problem. Whinging and complaining are time wasters, and they definitely won’t move you forward to achieve your goals and dreams.
As your own boss no one’s there to hold you accountable except yourself. Sometimes it’s easy to procrastinate and not to follow through all the important tasks in your business.
So have a list of things to do each day that will keep you on track for what you are trying to achieve.

Set regular purpose goals and review each one regularly.

Plan your 90 days activities planner so you know which task to focus on.

Be honest with yourself by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Know where you are and own the situation. Ask for help too.

Focus on the “NOW”. Don’t delve on the past. 

Once you do this you will embrace changes to your life and business and will be looking for solutions, or getting people to help you with your business.
Tune in for next week the finale tale  Series 1…  “Frog In The Well”

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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