What Two Girl Scouts Can Teach Us All

It happened at a grocery store on a Sunday evening. Hubbie and I were pooped from a day of errand-filled frenzy and this was our last stop on the journey.

As we made our way down to the parking garage, loaded up with bags, there stood two adorable little Girl Scouts. Lily and Lisa.

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I don’t mind telling you that, as we made our way down the stairs and saw them position themselves squarely in our path, full of excitement at the prospect of unloading some cookies on us, I resented the heck out of them.

Together they sang in their loud, sing-songy voices: “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?”

I smiled weakly, shook my head even more weakly, then prepared to leave, hoping that they would recover from the undoubted soul-crushing rejection.

But then something happened.

After letting us pass, they got right back into position and gave the same, sing-songy sales pitch to the next guy. And that guy? Well he smiled, nodded, and forked over his cash.

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I stopped in my tracks and watched them. They did it over and over again. Sometimes they’d score. Sometimes not. But they never stopped. And their energy never waned. And through it all their voices stayed sing-songy.

And I realized that all of us who want something in life – which is every one of us – can learn some things from Lily and Lisa.

And so, without further ado, here are just a few:

Girl Scout Lesson #1: Lose the armor

It can’t be denied that Lily and Lisa were adorable, and that this worked in their favor. But they were also unafraid of taking that adorableness and putting it out there. All the way.

They enjoyed their task wholeheartedly and let the world see it, their energy buzzing all around those cute little uniforms and out of their smiling, wide-eyed faces.

They had no inhibitions. They had no fear because…really…there was nothing to fear.

I mean really, what was there to lose? And why do so many of us forget to ask this question?

Girl Scout Lesson #2: It ain’t personal

I didn’t reject Lily and Lisa because I hated them. I didn’t hate them. I was just tired, I was nowhere near my buried wallet and…let’s be honest…Girl Scout Cookies are dangerous for this “I’ll-just-have-one-more-it-can’t-hurt” gal.

While many of us adults do everything we can to avoid rejection, Lily and Lisa just accepted it and shrugged it off. They knew it wasn’t personal. They knew, in the end, it didn’t matter. And so they didn’t feel badly.

So why do we let simple rejections and the word “no” cut us so deeply? Why do we take things so personally when so often they’re not? And why do so many of us forget to ask these questions?

Girl Scout Lesson #3: Get a buddy

I can’t help but imagine that one of the reasons Lily and Lisa were so resilient, so full of constant energy, so good together, is because they were…together.

Sometimes we need to tackle projects on our own, and sometimes we just do it because we don’t think of inviting someone else along for the ride. We don’t want to bother people, and we assume they wouldn’t want to be a part of it anyway. Or we want all of the glory when the thing is done.

Having someone you trust on your ride – whether physically in it with you or as an emotional support to turn to at all times – can make or break your success and happiness in so many ways.

Why do we feel the need to go at life alone so often when it could be so much better with a buddy? And why do so many of us forget to ask this question?

So there you have it. A few lessons from two little girls who didn’t even know the amazing things they could teach us all. And who, in the end, were pretty hard to resist.

Which is why, in the end, I didn’t.

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This week…

Ask the right questions. And then…

Realize that you don’t have so much to lose when you put yourself out there.

Realize that many, many things aren’t personal.

Realize that having someone with you can make a good experience that much better.

Learn from Lily and Lisa. In the end, you just might find you get all sing-songy yourself.

Now go do good…and do it well.


8 responses to “What Two Girl Scouts Can Teach Us All”

  1. Mark Avatar

    Deidre – You’ve taken a page right out of Sales 101. While it helps to be extroverted and get energy from the people you meet, the simple fact is that few sales are made by people wounded by “no.” In the Tao of Pooh, the bear convinces himself that Owl will know the answer to a question, concluding “I know that sure as I know my name is Pooh, and it is, so there you are.” I’ve told my sales people (in the past) that if they’ve done their homework and are talking to someone who can benefit from our services, then “no” just means “I haven’t figured out what you know about what this will do for me.” In retail sales, it’s no different. It’s an internal thing – “these cookies are good and I’m nice, so you’re NO just means you’re not thinking about that…” As you said, you weren’t rejecting the girl’s offer out of anything related to to them. Very good points. – Mark

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Thanks so much, Mark. I love the Tao of Pooh (very wise words) and am honored you would reference us at all together in your comments! 🙂

  2. Anna Quinones Avatar
    Anna Quinones

    Very eloquently written. We should all unleash the inner Lily and Lisa within us! They are already two fine Advancement professionals. Thank you!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Thanks Anna – and they really were amazing. It took a lot to stop this tired girl in her tracks and they did it. I’m trying to remember their lessons regularly…

  3. Patty Avatar

    Very well said Deirdre. I really like the part of not taking it personally. Accept that not everyone is going to react the way I want them to and it probably has nothing to do with the wonderful person I am!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Exactly! Unfortunately it’s so ingrained in us to take things so very personally so very often. It’s always so refreshing to watch kids in action before they’ve learned this debilitating habit!

  4. Rancy Avatar

    Another lesson Lily and Lisa can teach us is persistence. I’ve noticed that it often takes L&L and their sisters 25 (or more) “No’s” to get to “Yes!”

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Great point…and when you don’t take the “No’s” personally, that persistence is much easier! 🙂