Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I know I am not alone in wishing for SPRING, emphatically! It was a killer winter in the Midwest, and the snow is as high as an elephant's eye. (gosh, I used past tense, I hope that's a sign) These are my neighbors' mailboxes. We need a serious meltdown? And also one that is gentle on the floodplains.
I have no doubt that some of you have seen this story before. But, I will put it out there because it was new to me. A friend of mine sent it in an email this morning. How did she know that I needed it? May you find what you need in the story as well.
"It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you," said the retiring, successful businessman.
The young executives were shocked as the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today - one very special seed. I want you to plant it, care for it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
Jim went home excitedly with his seed, and told his wife the story. Together, they got a pot, soil and compost and planted the seed. He tended it with great care. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing grew. Three weeks, four weeks, months went by, nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. He just knew he had killed
his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim
didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and
fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.
One year later, the young execs brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew he had to be honest. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor in the corner, and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him. "Ho ho, Jim, way to grow 'em," they chided.
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim in the shadows with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
"What happened here, Jim?" Jim shrugged and told his story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down and then announced to all, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When
you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the
one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring
me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new
Chief Executive Officer!"
I'm so judgmental. I am a teacher who is a critical listener. I also am a judge who gets paid to differentiate between good and better performances. I can instantly have an opinion on almost anything. I hate it and love that about myself. It's almost impossible to turn it off. But that doesn't make it right.
May I keep striving to be planting good seeds, seeds of love and acceptance. Dang it, dang it, when I mess up without walking in anothers' shoes.
What are you planting?