Lemonade and Gypsy Trips


Truth Byte #62

“Self-doubt will slow you down.”


When life gives you lemons, what do you do?


I know when I heard that phrase as a child, I panicked.  I had no idea how to make lemonade. The closest I ever got to that sweet and tart beverage was dumping a can of frozen pulp into a plastic jug and stirring.


Last summer, I learned how to make lemonade. From scratch. You see, my son has a friend whose older brother is a bit of an entrepreneur. With his mom’s encouragement, he made hundreds of dollars over the summer selling lemonade in the park. He didn’t think it through, didn’t really plan for it, just dove right in. Grabbed a folding table and his mom’s secret concoction, and off he went to the busiest walking and biking junction on the seawall to sell the good stuff. He didn’t have a permit or food safety training.


He was just a kid selling lemonade.


My son joined in one Saturday, and was amazed at the power of the lemonade chant they had devised. People actually stopped their bikes to buy from them! Mostly, he was stunned at the money he made. Over seventy dollars split three ways is a killing for a little kid.


We decided we would re-create the magic at our place.


And failed.


Because I just could not move through the self-doubt.


I wasn’t sure if my lemonade tasted right. Which made it harder for my little ones to sell to strangers.  They couldn’t say, like their friends did, “My mom makes the BEST lemonade in the whole world!” and then grin up at the customers through their long black lashes. They couldn’t jump and holler and sell the way they had in the park downtown.


Because I was hovering and correcting and apologizing.


And slowing them down.


That was a big lesson for me, one that I remember a year later.


My self-doubt slowed everything down.


I am very aware of how my self-doubt has quieted as we plan this summer’s adventure, our Epic Gypsy Road Trip. We are buying an old van, taking out the seats, and hitting the road for three weeks to finally drive the California Coast with our two kids. We have no plan, and no idea what we are doing, but the difference this time is I do not have any self-doubt. I am fully convinced, from the bottom of my heart, that we will figure things out.


I am that kid with the jug and folding table, fully trusting in the kindness of strangers.


And let’s be honest, there are times I have open-heartedly trusted someone and been badly burned. We all have. But still, that did not dim my optimism and hope that people are essentially good.

And that’s the legacy I want to pass on to my children.

And now you. What is your lemonade story? When did you doubt your skill, talent, or gut feeling? How did that slow things down for you? And what’s your Epic Gypsy Roadtrip story? Where have you been truly brave and had some incredible stories because of it?


This week, I would encourage you to have an adventure. It could be something simple like trying a new drink at your favourite coffee shop or taking a different route home from work, or something a little more involved like testing out a new campsite or swimming hole. Or maybe you are ready for something epic like starting a walking club or touring a new country. Whatever you choose, let it be something that will leave you with a story to tell.  Because a life lived with self-doubt is a life barely lived at all.


Have a question about spiritualty, psychology, relationships, or personal development? Email me at connect@talktosaira.com with your question, and I will answer it on my weekly YouTube Show: Ask Dr. Saira. Check out the first episode: Being an Optimist.


And keep your eyes peeled for my grown-up version of a lemonade stand: Chai and Chat! A weekly drop-in group on spirituality, personal development, and community-building that will officially launch after the summer. Details coming soon.


It’s your life, and only you can live it.