Entrepreneurship Perspective

Grow your own way

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My guest host for the WAKE UP call, Matt Kominiak, celebrated his ten year wedding anniversary over this last weekend. He and his wife Christine stayed in a condo in northern New Mexico with a view of a forest. So here’s Matt, looking at the trees, and he spots this pine tree that was different from the rest.

In most forests, trees grow right on top of one another. But not this one. It grew at great height when compared to the rest of the trees around. This was on a very steep slope with a river at the base; they were staying at a ski resort at the base of a mountain. This one pine tree grew away from all the rest of them and basically hangs over the river.

If you were to look at it from the top of the mountain, it wouldn’t look any different from the rest. The top of the tree, visible from the top of the mountain, is straight like the rest of the trees. You wouldn’t be able to tell the bottom portion is angled differently from up there. And this tree was HUGE.

This tree was very healthy compared to the rest of the trees around it, despite growing at an odd angle. Somehow, this tree “knew” that it had to grow out and then up to get the most light compared to the trees around it.

That tree is every one of us in the PRO community. If we want to grow in a way that will be the most nourishing to us and give us the best chance of success, we have to grow into a different space. We can’t pick where our roots are, but we can pick the direction we grow in. To do this, we have to grow in a way that bends us – and that hurts. But it gives us opportunities that we wouldn’t have had.

Look at the base of this tree. It’s big. And it had to be strong, growing sideways the way it did. That tree’s root system was so strong that it was able to bend in a different way from the rest. When you force yourself to bend, it may hurt but it makes you stronger in the end. And it gives you the right to attract more success (sunlight for the tree) than if you had done what everyone else did.

If your life is feeling crowded like that forest is, dare to grow in a different direction. If you have a strong root system in place (your core values and principles), you can grow in whatever direction you want to and break away from the rest. It’s gonna hurt, yes. It won’t be comfortable. But it will leave you better off in the end.

Take one last look at that tree. Is there any other tree in front if it now, taking any of its sunlight? Nope. Is it taller than the other trees around it even though they grew straight up and it grew sideways? Yes, it is. That’s the tree you want to be, and that’s the way you want to grow.

My WAKE UP call is every Tuesday at 10:30 am ET. Catch this week’s call here.

  • And it’s hurting Jay, it hurts!

    Thank you for sharing this, as just last night, I went to bed past midnight wondering if I was going to make it. I have taken on a huge challenge to write my first book ever. It revolves around intentional leadership on at home and was inspired by tough times I went through as a kid and how this shaped my present. It is a call to other parents to take their leadership role seriously. And I made my first installation to the publisher last night, how to pay for it over the next 3 months an even larger challenge. This is a pure act of faith, but I guess if I don’t do something useful that helps others, then what is the meaning of life?
    Having followed you for some time, I remember reading one of your blogs that challenged me to get my act together. I have a crisp mind, I have the experience and I have a keyboard. These are the only assets I can afford at the moment. The tree may be bent, but it will grow tall and strong.