By Scott M. Fay
Author, Discover Your Sweet Spot
In order to build my organizations, I first needed to build myself. And in order to build myself, I needed to create an environment conducive to growth.
Think about it. As humans, space is essential. For starters, we take up space.
But more than that, we also design space, build space, and even maintain space. In landscaping, we intentionally utilize space with a specific purpose in mind. But too often when leading ourselves and those around us, we unintentionally permit a space that sabotages our potential.
I’ve never met people who felt they achieved their full potential. This tells me that we’re all living and leading below our capacity. Imagine what we could do if we were just a few percentage points better. Imagine what we could create or accomplish.
When we look to nature, we can see a powerful and encouraging example. Think about an acorn for a moment. It possesses tremendous potential. As the fourteenth century proverb teaches, “Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
But if we place an acorn in a safe, comfortable, and protected place, we will watch it slowly die over time. In these types of environments, acorns will do nothing. Yet if we take this same acorn and place it inside the ground, something miraculous happens. This little acorn sends out a powerful signal to the surrounding soil. It attracts everything it needs in order to grow and thrive.
The acorn doesn’t need a safe, comfortable, and protected place. It needs a conducive environment to unleash its potential. And when it grows, it increases in size and strength, but also in productivity. This same acorn—now a mighty oak—produces other acorns.
The average oak tree produces 70,000–150,000 acorns a year. During the tree’s entire life, that number jumps to around 13.5 million acorns. 2 And this staggering number doesn’t even account for the other acorns that will come from that first acorn’s acorns and so on.
The next time you hold an acorn, realize the potential of 13.5 million other acorns coming from the one in your hand—all conditional upon its environment.
And then consider the value of one human life compared to an acorn. How much potential do YOU have? I guarantee it is much more than you can imagine. Create an environment conducive to growth.
2 Peter Gosling, “Fascinating Tree Seed Facts”, The Tree Seed Consultant, http://www.treeseedconsultant.co.uk/average-seeds-per-tree.html, accessed July 20, 2012.