The Leadership of Trees

There are over three trillion trees on planet Earth. They give off oxygen that we need to breathe. They reduce the amount of storm water runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways. And of course many species of wildlife depend on trees for their habitat. Trees provide food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals.

But even beyond their physical properties and offerings, I want you to consider that trees are natural leaders. And that they represent a steadfast example of lessons we could all learn and benefit from in our lives and businesses.

Trees know that it is crucial to lay down a root system and build a strong foundation under them. And that their foundation has a direct impact on how high they can grow.

While they are rock solid at their bases, trees know how to be flexible when needed. When the wind blows, they don’t break, they sway. But they hold their ground. We can learn to make adjustments on surface details, but that doesn’t mean we need to compromise on our base principles.

Trees may stand still but they are far from passive. They reach for the sun, they reach for nutrients in the soil, they use xylem and phloem to transport water and food around through their systems. They’re always moving.

And that action does not hesitate. And it’s consistent.

Trees drop leaves and seeds and fruits to leave a legacy, and to nurture the land that surrounds them. They network with each other and work in community with the environment around them. And they partner with each other to create shade and oxygen.

They are multifaceted and able to provide different things to different “clients,” but they always show up to be of service. They offer themselves willingly, fully, and they thrive when those around them also thrive.

Trees model the idea that when we give more than we get, we get more than we give.

So get outside, and take a deep breath of their fresh air. Or sit down under one and find some shade. And whether Palm or Redwood, Beech or Birch, Hickory, Elm, Spruce or Pine, also keep in mind their symbolism… remember who trees are in the world.

And any time you get stuck at a crossroads, and you don’t know which way to go, ask yourself… What would a tree do in this situation? At least their spirit, their essence. What quality do they possess that might be useful in this moment? Should I stand strong and let the storm pass? Should I reach up above this limited canopy and find new rays of light? Should I look to others around me and request support?

There are symbols and information, and valuable lessons, all around us. All we have to do is open up our leaves, reach up with our branches, and soak it all in!

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