Blog Posts


Motivational Monday: Life Lessons Learned from a Box of Tea

Back in College – eek, over a decade ago, I was making a cup of Celestial Seasonings tea and I noticed a quote on the box. It changed my life.

“Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.”

I was reminded of it the other day.

Think about the effort that goes into Bread and Water.

To Make Water: Combine Hydrogen and Oxygen (two flammable gasses) to create a completely new entity – one that, when applied to a fire, doesn't fuel it anymore, but extinguishes it.

Pfshew. That's a lot of work. Now, let's see what is involved in getting that turned into Tea.

To Make Tea: Heat water & Add a Tea Bag. Let sit.

My point is that oftentimes we stop short of excellence, when most of the hardest work has already been done. Of those two tasks, which is harder?

  • Turning two flammable gasses into a liquid?
  • Turning water into tea?

If I had to draw one of those two tasks out of a hat to perform for a million dollars, you know I'll be thinking “Please, let it be tea!” 🙂

Strive for excellence in all things personal and professional. Offer just a touch more than the next guy. That's usually  all it takes to really stand out.

It's oftentimes the small details that can turn a $100/month online business into a $10,000/month business, too.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments section below.

Have a wonderful week!


I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Alex

    Well you got me motivated…to go to my kitchen and now I have a stack of boxes of tea beside me and they all have fantastic quotes on them…from Emerson, Shakespeare, James Allen…I’ll just share this one because it seems to play into planning and realising the next year.

    “Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that sits in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for…if you remain true to them, your world will at last, be built.”

    James Allen

  • Emily

    James, I LOVE that quote. You have to be true to your own visions and dreams in order to find success and fulfillment. Getting distracted by what others are doing b/c the grass on their side of the fence looks greener ultimately results in frustration and dissatisfaction.

    I know this from recent personal experience. I have been trying to do things that I’m not called to do, and it has felt like trying to take two flammable gasses and turn them into water–difficult to impossible.

    So I’ve decided to take what I already have and “steep” it in excellence, hard work and determination. Just having made that decision has lifted a burden and restored my sense of hope.

    • Nicole

      “I’ve decided to take what I already have and “steep” it in excellence, hard work and determination.”

      Sounds like the perfect cup to me. 🙂

  • Steve

    So often we get so hung up in the bread and water mentality that we forget there even is toast and tea.

    We can never let go of our dreams or they become lost in the mundane.

    Let’s go make tea!!!

  • Robert Jenkins

    Hey Nicole,
    A great lesson, and the funny thing is, not only did you outsource the creation of water; you also had someone else put the tea bag together.

    And it’s also likely that someone else went to the store to get the tea for you (and if not they could have).

    So you’ve combined two resources together but outsourced a lot of the initial work, even though you are more than skilled enough to do at least one of the big inputs.


    p.s. Can’t wait to hang out soon at NAMS and SIMPLE!

  • Diana Walker, Cravings Coach

    Wow, Nicole!
    That is so simple, yet profound. I absolutely loved reading your analogy and also hearing how you had actually used that quote as a life-changing, pivotol moment for yourself.
    What a gift to you and also to us by you sharing that quote!
    Loved it!
    Thanks for the gift of “you” and your thoughts – can’t wait to meet you at NAMS!!
    Happy Holidays, and I know 2010 is going to be amazing!

    • Nicole

      Thank you, Diana. I’m glad that it was meaningful for you, too.

      Can’t wait to see you at NAMS in Atlanta very soon. You know I’ll be bringing my good Sunrider tea. 😀 Can’t leave home without it!

  • Lisa Marie Mary

    You’ve just hit the nail on the head, Nicole! Love this post! You just gotta be the AMAZING that you already are! I am finding this out the last few weeks – in a very big way!!!

    • Nicole

      ooh. I hope you’ll share your discovery.

      Pssst. I already thought you were amazing! You light up a room with your smile.

      • Lisa Marie Mary

        Omigoodness – what a sweet thing for you to say, Nicole! Thank you!

        I linked to a post (in my original comment) that kind of explains what I’ve been going through. Mostly it’s seeing the inter-connectedness of it all.

        Realizing I can’t wait for business to rock, and the rest shall follow. Realizing that I need to embrace my own awesomeness …and that shall lead to good business …and good life stuff …and good, happy, inner ‘me’ stuff – you know?

  • Valerie

    My favorite tea quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt…
    Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water!

    However some days I feel more like a recycled tea bag than a woman.

    I enjoy your motivation and posts!!!

  • marlon sanders

    Hey Nicole,

    I agree on the tea.

    Now, the type of tea makes a big difference. I don’t
    know where that fits in! Like, I prefer English


    Very nice blog header. I like the energy of it. Keep
    up the great blogging.

    Best wishes,

    Marlon Sanders

    • Nicole

      Honored to have you stop by, sir, and thank you for the kind words.

      I’m an herbal tea gal myself, but will certainly broaden my horizons if you recommend English Breakfast. 🙂

  • JoyfullyJanet


    Thank you, for that quote. I had seen someone make a statement, somewhere on line, how quotes are overdone on the social networks and in lieu of comments, etc. The writer was educating people what “NOT” to do.

    I don’t know the perspective of what he said, whether it was that it wasn’t “his” thing, or if he had found that when he left a “lazy” quote, that he wasn’t getting the response that he desired.

    Me, I love a “thoughtful” quote. Something that will pull me back to it again and again. Just as the “tea and toast” did for you. Which, BTW, I don’t believe that I ever pondered it quite the way you did.

    My favorite quote is by Muhammed Ali “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

    I’ll be 50 next year, and I became familiar with the quote in my late 30s. While I appreciated it a decade ago, my life has taken so many twists and turns and I’ve done so much re-evaluating, that now that I’m about to turn 50, the quote has become defining to me.

    At 20, I was smug and confident that I knew more than I probably should and more than most, now, at 49, I’m grateful for every experience that I had and the lessons that I’ve learned. There are many times that I revert back to being 20 (in my thoughtless mind) only to remind myself, how ignorant those thoughts actually were then, and still are today. I find that I have to check myself often, lest those 30 years have been wasted.

    • Nicole

      Ooh. I’m definitely sharing your comment with my mom. She’s older than you, obviously, since I’m nearly 37, but I know she’ll love it, too!

      And, I’m a sucker for good quotes, too, so thank you! I’m guessing the gentleman who was anti-quotes was referring to the services that some people use to automate their Twitter communication. These services feed in quotes for you and automatically post them to your Twitter stream as if you were hand-picking them and sharing. That’s certainly not my cup of tea. 😉

  • The Mom

    Oh wise ones… Celestial Seasonings Tea and Nicole!

    I love those little quotes, but most of all I love how you dissected that quote and turned it into your own personal life lesson. Very cool, my dear. 😀

    If the naysayer of quotes mentioned above in Joyfully Janet’s comment, or anyone for that matter, can’t get something useful out of that quote then something is missing from the deep thought process.

    I happen to be a big fan of quotes, surprise surprise… apple, tree…

    Here’s one of my all time favorites. As you know, I have many occasion to point to my refrigerator and lament this one…

    – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Albert Einstein –

    Keep the quotes, but especially the insightful dissection, coming!

  • Dawnaurora

    Love the analogy. I am a huge toast and tea fan. Very insightful and effective

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.