There is a beautiful evergreen tree that stands straight and tall in my yard. It provides protection to my home from the cold Idaho wind that (especially this time of year) feels like it blows nonstop. To look at this tree now, you would never think that it had been the “Charlie Brown” tree, the “Runt of the Litter” tree, or the ugliest tree in the nursery. Why would I purchase such a tree when I had many beautiful trees to choose from? Well, my family asked me the same question numerous times, and to them, I would always reply… “Be patient.”
Sometimes we have to wait and be patient while navigating through winds, storms… and changes that life throws our way. In the case of this particular tree, it was completely confused on which end was up. It would fight against itself to see which branches it would point straight to the sky while having a united effort in helping it grow healthy and strong. Branches going in so many different directions made it look very odd and misshapen. The top of the tree had too many tips trying to compete. The poor thing did not look like it would ever get a clue on what it was supposed to be. My family often advised me to just “pull it out.” However, with some pruning, fertilizing, sufficient water, and years of patience, this tree might be my favorite tree.
I often think of how this can correspond to life and business. Sometimes we have so many priorities and areas we want to improve in. While all of them could be great, they are just pulling us in opposite directions. Every once in a while, we have to ask ourselves what is good, what is better, and what is best. Having a unified effort can give us better direction and will help us to grow stronger in the areas that need it most. Then we are able to move on to other areas that need improvement. First, we need to establish our core values and most important priorities. Once those are established, then the rest will fall in line.
Don’t listen to the naysayers. Get a group of people around you that will inspire and support you. Living in a disposable world can teach us to throw something out or abandon what we have for something else that appears better. Have we given ourselves, our abilities, and maybe our relationships a chance to become something better? Or do we give up too easily if things get hard? Our support group should believe in us and want us to continue to get better no matter how difficult or slow the process.
We live in a world of “NOW.” Most of what we want can be given to us within seconds and at the push of a button. Having patience is a struggle. Being pruned or admitting we made a mistake can be painful. Choosing a different path can be uncomfortable. Enjoy the journey! There will be awkward moments and times where we wonder if we will ever succeed. Don’t give up! The finish line could be just around the next corner.
Growing and improving ourselves, our relationships with others, and our businesses are essential if we truly want to succeed. We can be the best versions of ourselves if we can be like my stalwart tree. Be patient, welcome change, and continue to keep focused on what matters most.