Aw, priming the pump. Some of our life lessons are not always as obvious to us at a certain age or time as others. That said there was this aha moment when I was talking with Jonathan Milligan from Blogging Your Passion about my blog’s progress. A moment and remark made in that conversation reminded me of a story.
Priming The Pump
My grandmother’s house was old and well loved. The only running water that went to the house was in the kitchen. It was fed from the springhouse that was quite a distance from the house. The water came from an old-fashioned pump in the kitchen that set on a very large kitchen basin.
I know what your thinking. Why didn’t they have running water brought by an automatic pump or city water that we now so take for granted. The answer to that question is the farm was way out in the middle of nowhere, and they had yet to sink a well and install a regular pump. That would eventually come later. What this meant for the household was we used an outhouse and all cleaning, bathing and washing up was done in the kitchen. For a 4 year old that was way cool. I loved watching my grandmother use the pump to get water. The sound of the pump grinding and gurgling from the pump and water was a fun thing for a kid my age.
I remember asking my grandma why she always had to pump to get water; we didn’t have to do that in my home. She would tell me that was how she was able to get the water to come up the pipes to the house?
On a rare occasion Grandma would become a bit frustrated, saying she had let the pump loose its prime. She would yell for my grandpa and my uncle to help her prime the pump so that the water would flow freely again. I would watch in fascination as my uncle and grandpa would pump and pump and then pour water down the pipe and pump and pump again. It was really hard work priming the pump, and it took a while to get the water to flow.
As a kid, all this didn’t make any sense as to why the water won’t just come up when you pumped the handle. Then there was the puzzle of why you would pour water down the pipe to get the water to come up to the house. I would cock my head to side and just watch as all the work ensued.
It always took a while, and much hard work to get the water to come. The water started with a trickle and then it would flow, full and heavy. When that happened it was cause for celebration.
Like any four year old, I was full of “why” questions. What was priming? How did you lose it? Why was it so hard? Why did you pour water down to make it come up? Why didn’t the tadpoles always come up with the water? On and on the why questions would go.
My grandma listened, and then did her best to explain. This is what she said; “Priming is the work it takes to get the water to come up the pipe to the kitchen. Sometimes you need to pour some water down to pipe to encourage the other water to come up the pipe. You lose your prime when you don’t pump very often. There is a screen on the pipe at the other end that keep the tadpoles in their springhouse home.”
My grandma’s answers seemed to satisfy my questions. All I said in respond was “Oh” and went to off the play. It was many years later when I understood how all this priming and pump thing worked.
As it was with the farmhouse pump, so it is with life and business. It takes a lot of work and personal resources (priming, pumping and water) to get a business, project or relationship going. Once the business or relationship is successful, (flowing water) keeping it going is much easier. However, it still requires regular attention (regular pumping) to keep it going. The last thing is it’s important to put the proper processes or practices in place (screen for the tadpoles) to ensure you prevent any unexpected issues.
So here I am, busily priming the pump to my blog and business. I know that if I keep learning and working on all that I need to do, the business like the water will come.
How about you? Are you priming the pump business to get it all going? How do you correlate this to your life or business?
Life’s journey continues…
PS: What are some of your favorite stories? If you would like to write a guest post about an experience, we would love to hear from you.
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