It has been said that everything in nature is in a constant state of decay. And yet, nature is continuously renewing itself as the autumn trees let loose their dead and dying leaves so that they may be still through the winter and renew in the spring with unfolding abundant green.
If a tree resists … the roots, trunk and branches struggle through the harsh winter months to supply nourishment to leaves that have long since expired. In this state of resistance the tree steadily declines into poor health and succumbs to disease and blight.
In life, if we hold on to hurt, anger, resentment, loss, or shame we become like a tree stubbornly refusing to let the autumn wind take its leaves—we too begin a slow decline. Yet when we allow the dying leaves of negative emotion and shame to cast off we place ourselves in a vacuum of possibility for renewal and regeneration.
So too, in business. How many businesses, large and small, have failed due to stubbornly holding on to a way of doing things that once worked, in a day and time in which changing conditions rendered their ways obsolete? If we fail to embrace the constantly changing landscape in which we live and work we may well fall pray to the false axiom that says, “Past success will dictate future success.”
Past success may well provide the impetus, experience, and inspiration for future success, but it may also give us a false sense of confidence and close our minds to new and different ways of doing things. Releasing the leaves of the old and embracing the seasonal renewal that is an inevitable part of nature, life, and business alike frees us to create anew.
Stubbornly holding on to the old tried and true methods and strategies constrains our vision of the future. Casting off old precepts, ideas, and notions allows us to enter a vacuum state of not knowing and trusting in our creativity and drive. In this state of vacuum—this state of being comfortable with not knowing—we may find that the tried and true is, well, still true. Or we may find that trusting in the planting of seeds and the renewing green of spring will lead us to new vistas of creativity and innovation.
Tip of the Week
Something I think most people tend to fall prey to, myself included, is to spend less time in nature as the winter months make the outdoors feel less pleasant to the senses. Yet this is one of the most important times to be in nature because there is so much change going on around us that we would otherwise miss. So the tip of the week is to spend time in nature this week, no matter how cold, how wet or how inhospitable it may seem, and observe the change. Observe how nature adapts and changes with the seasons. This is an important metaphor for our lives and work.