Posts Tagged ‘growth’

What doesn’t kill you makes you strong

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I was out walking last weekend and I came across these three trees which had all somehow found a way to go on thriving despite all Nature had thrown at them.  The first was twisted and broken by a storm and resumed its vertical growth, the second had been left with a fraction of its trunk and yet was still growing and the final one found it could root in the soil and roots of another tree that had been blown down.  It seems amazing to me that Nature is so resilient and its creations seem to know how to grow despite all that is done to them.

If people, or businesses, are allowed to learn from their mistakes and misfortunes they can go on to be successful.  In fact there is a saying that if you have never failed, then you simply haven’t been trying hard enough.  Most successful businessmen fail a few times before they perfect their offerings.  The difference between those who thrive and those who wither away is that some learn and give it another go.  When coaching people, it is important to ask them what hey have learnt from their experience rather than just judge it.

It is all a matter of timing…

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

I was out walking a week or so ago when I came across this unusual sight.  I don’t recall ever seeing a daffodil blooming in mid-January and it was made even more striking by a blanket of snow.  I have no idea if this plant will survive its premature growth spurt.  I suspect it will probably have to wait a year before it has the resources to try again.

It is worth considering that there is a lesson here for us.  Often it isn’t the idea behind the change that is wrong as much as the timing is premature.  People change when they are ready to and it is famously difficult to try to force change upon unwilling or unready people.  How do you get them ready?  By communicating effectively with them; ensuring that they understand not only what you are trying to achieve, but that you understand the impact the change will have on them.  They have to perceive some positive benefit to themselves in order to invest their resources in changing.  Once you persuade them to ‘bloom’ you had better be sure that you have created the right environment to support this change and to protect your delicate ‘flowers’ from unseasonal ‘snow’!  Get it wrong and you too might have to wait another year before they are ready to try again… 

Starting over

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

I was out walking the other day I came across this.  The picture isn’t quite as clear as I thought, so let me explain what I was looking at.  This is a stump of a tree that has been blown over and its trunk sawn off.  Growing over the stump is a colony of fungi, and from the root stock fresh growth is springing up, drawing nutrition from the old root system.  It is a fabulous example of how Nature uses resources and adapts. 

As someone who had to start over when my life was metaphorically ‘blown over’, I can relate to this.  You have to use what you have left and grow again.  It may feel like everything you had was destroyed but those systems continue to try to nourish you and, if you let it, new growth begins.

It is common for very successful people to fail multiple times before getting it right.  In the US they are more forgiving of this and understand that evolution works in the business world just as much as the natural one. 

If today you find yourself in a place where it feels like there is no possibility of going on, that everything is in ruins, then perhaps you can take a little faith that no matter the disaster there is a way forward.  Look to your roots; what is it that makes you strong?  Grow from that place and you will find your way forwards.


  1. Famous ‘failures’

Are you a pebble?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

A friend left this comment on my blog, which contained this sentence “I started thinking about the millions of stones/pebbles, how each was different, very different & yet if you lift your eyes the beach looks golden & could be a continuous strip of bronzed sand”.   And that got me thinking, I bet each of those pebbles considers itself to be an individual with its own unique character and history.  It has its own story of how it got there.  It was part of something bigger.  Bit by bit, over time, it is changed by its environment; its rough edges are abraded by time and tide.  And yet, each pebble is part of something bigger… the beach. 

Are we that different really…?

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.” Chinese Proverbs


Necessary Risk

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

I listened to John Varley of Barclays talking this morning about how the bank was behaving and fairing in these challenging economic times, especially given the fact that they just posted a £3b profit in their interim results.  He used an interesting phrase; he talked about the banks role in supporting businesses taking necessary risks.  I’m sure he was talking about commercial risks, but it got me thinking about how people handle other sorts of risks.  I’m not thinking about the sort you can take insurance out against, but the others that are part of building a business or a life.

We take all kinds of risks when we step away from the safety of the things that we know and those that we control.  If you think about it, that zone is pretty small for most of us, and yet most of our growth, excitement and achievement takes place beyond those limits.  If only we could go to our friendly, neighbourhood bank and get an infusion of courage or wisdom!  Most of us are (at least a bit) risk adverse, and yet it is the garden of our growth.  People talk plenty about chucking themselves down black runs or rollercoaster rides but it isn’t often I hear people talking taking these less adrenalin fuelled risks.

Maybe today is a good day for stepping outside that ole comfort zone and into the scary place where the real business is done…?

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”   Leo F. Buscaglia

“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.”  T.S. Eliot

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

As the schoolboy poem says.  We have crocus and snowdrops in the garden, the woods are green with the bluebell shoots and the garden is full of bird-song.  It is hard to believe that we were shivering under a foot of snow a few weeks ago.   (Of course, as this is England, there is plenty of time yet for more blizzards, fog and frost!)

It seems significant amidst all this economic doom and gloom that we also are on the look out for the signs of new growth and remember that the economy is as cyclical as the weather.  In the same way that we have to work with the seasons when we tend tend our gardens, we also have to prepare the ground, plant the seeds and do what is necessary to grow our businesses too.

Ode to Spring

“Spring has sprung,

The Grass has riz,

I wonder where the birdies is?

The little bird is on the wing,

But that’s absurd! 

Because the wing is on the bird!”

Locks & Keys

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Maybe it is was because we had new doors fitted on Saturday, but when someone mentioned “locks” yesterday it got me thinking. Of course we expect doors to have locks and very useful they are too… as long as we also have a suitable key. The thing is locks can keep our precious things safe and allow us to control who comes into our private spaces. However, I’m sure I am not the only one to have mislaid or broken a key and then the lock becomes a barrier that is coming between us and something we need to access. Worst of all are those hidden locks on bits of us that we have buried and thrown away the key in the hope that we never have to face them again!

We all have some dark places and ‘bugaboos’ that we don’t wish to visit or deal with. It is perfectly appropriate to bury something and mark it “To be dealt with when I am strong / wise enough” or “For detailed attention on another day when I really have the time to deal with this properly” . Unfortunately like pirates and their treasure we often never come back to these buried ‘chests’ and we just carry them round as so much baggage, a bit like Jacob Marley’s ghost.

Perhaps today is a very good day from exploring those encumbrances and baggage and turning them into what they really are… buried treasure. These are bits of us, often the very best and delicate parts are part of us, and need reclaiming. Unlock them. Show them the light of day. Throw away that that key… you don’t need it any more. Good Luck.

“It’s just a ride and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money, a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.” Bill Hicks

“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other.” Richard Bach