Tree of Life (and Business)

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 is directly proportional to 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 compromise with others, 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 move water and food around through their system.

And that action does not hesitate. And it is consistent.

Trees drop leaves and seeds and fruits to leave a legacy, and to nurture the land around them. They work in community 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, 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 oxygen. Or sit down and find some shade under them when needed.

But also keep close by the symbolism of who trees are for us.

And any time you get stuck at a crossroads, and you don’t know which way to go, as funny as it is, check in. What would the spirit of a tree do in this situation? What quality do they possess that would be useful here? Should I stand strong and let the storm pass? Should I reach up above this limited canopy and find new rays of light?

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

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