Are you the Sapling or the Vine?

Today, I was introduced to Bryce Courtenay’s book The Power of One by David Kanigan, at Lead.Learn.Live.  Somehow, I missed that book and it is now on my Christmas shopping list.  In his blog, David shared the following passage from the book:

“Always in life an idea starts small, it is only a sapling idea, but the vines will come and they will try to choke your idea so it cannot grow and it will die and you will never know you had a big idea, an idea so big it could have grown thirty meters through the dark canopy of leaves and touched the face of the sky.’ He looked at me and continued. ‘The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking. Most people you encounter will be vines; when you are a young plant they are very dangerous.’ His piercing blue eyes looked into mine.’ Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.”

Each and every day, we have the opportunity to create an environment where ideas can grow and flourish.

Do we encourage the young, the original and the creative to bring their ideas forward, listen to those ideas and allow them to try?  Or do we instead crush their ideas with phrases like “that will never work”, or “we tried that before”, or “wait until you’ve been here awhile, then you’ll understand”.

When an idea doesn’t work, do we look upon that failure with glee and an “I told you so” or do we encourage and help identify what was learned and alternate paths to success?

Being a leader means recognizing the potential we have to help others grow, flourish and reach their full potential or on the other side, the potential we have to choke their vision with our words and our actions.

It also means that, even when we are long past sapling years, we are still reaching for the sky ourselves. What new, unconventional, perhaps risky ideas have we brought forward lately?

Value and share the knowledge, skills and experience you’ve gained … and enjoy the nourishment of the new, creative, original ideas brought by the young.

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