Giants start small. The greatest leaders, innovators and communicators all started the same way – small.
Everything starts small.
If you are beginning something new in your life, whether it be a new skill, a new career or a new relationship, don’t despise the days of small beginnings. They are glorious days, filled with potential, possibility and nervous excitement.
Everything Looks The Same At First
In the beginning, it’s not clear how large things will grow. Everything from dynasties to lunch dates all look the same in the beginning – small and inconsequential.
The opportunities we face, moment by moment, can make our destiny or just make our day. It’s hard to tell.
So it’s important to ask these 3 questions:
- Where will this lead me?
- Do I like where it’s leading me to?
- Do I want to go somewhere else?
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step…so why despise the first step?”
Despising Small Beginnings
Once we have made a decision or started on a path, nothing changes on the outside. All that has changed is our minds. Everything still looks small so it’s easy to be discouraged, especially if growth is slow.
In these times, we need to be encouraged by an outside voice – a friend, a blog or even a note wrapped around a twiggy plant:
The Boy and His Sapling
The boy looked on enviously at another bucket of blueberries. The blueberry bush had just begun producing fruit, and there sat three proud buckets full of plump, blue spheres. The short sapling before him however looked feeble beside such a marvelous blueberry bush.
Dejected, he lowered his gaze. This was both to escape the jeering of the others – endlessly delighted with their harvest – and to pour scorn on his impotent sapling.
The spindly trunk was more of a brown stem, the branches mere buds. Just as old as the blueberry bush but half the height and bearing nothing but embarrassment, it innocently stood as tall and as proud as a sapling could. He missed the significance of its impertinence.
‘Did I make the wrong choice?’
‘Is it too late to switch to a blueberry bush?’
The ensuing weeks were filled with sweet, berry-centric thoughts. The only reason he returned to the grove at all was to snip a branch and replant his very own blueberry bush…
A white FLASH registered in his periphery.
Had it not been for the cool breeze he would have missed it.
A few feet to the right, wrapped around his tiny tree’s twiggy trunk, a piece of paper fluttered. For a moment he was struck: though it had only been a few weeks of growth, his little sprout stood somehow taller, prouder.
Peeling the paper off to investigate, he read slowly:
‘I am not a blueberry bush, I am something more. People are eating from that shrub now, but one day people will climb me to the sky. I will be home to the birds, the possums and a whole host of insects.
Children and grandchildren will climb me, my mammoth branches bearing the weight of their generations.
My bark will witness the history of a thousand years, my trunk scarred by experience and endurance.
Even after a millennium and in death, my form will prevail as a monument to the lasting.’
It was unclear who would write such a note and why. It didn’t matter. The boy left the grove that day – berries long forgotten – with as much resoluteness as his little oak tree.
Remember Your Oak Tree
You may have decided to plant an oak tree and like the little boy, forgotten the long term perspective. Maybe it’s time to remind yourself of where you are going, and why.
Remember why you didn’t plant a blueberry bush, and why you planted an oak tree. Remember that everything looks small at first, and don’t despise the day of small beginnings; just marvel at what has begun.
Picture by Pink Sherbert Photography