A Secret to Success

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Blog

Dear Leader,

The bamboo plant is an amazing tree that presents to us an incredible success lesson. 

Did you know, that if you planted the bamboo seed today in 2020, you’d only see a little plant emerge from the ground sometime in 2025. And for this growth to happen, you will need to plant the seed in fertile soil and keep the condition of the soil conducive to germination and growth. 

Five years after planting, soon after the shoots are exposed to the atmosphere, the bamboo plant will grow to over ninety feet tall in just six weeks.

Like bamboo, in order to succeed, growth is inevitable. For growth to happen, one must understand that it is a process that starts way before success is in sight.  

The question is: did the bamboo plant grow ninety feet tall in six weeks, or did it do it in five years?

Many of you might find this question rhetoric! You would say, but of course, the plant grew in 5 years, not in 6 weeks. And you would be right! If we apply the same singularity to ourselves, we would soon realize that our success is often the result of a long process of growth hidden from the limelight!  

In my experience as a leadership coach for professionals around the world, the bamboo story has helped clarify why people do not invest in their growth, why they delegate their growth plans to their supervisors/employers or to chance, worse still, why some employers don’t prioritize investments in the growth of their number one resource: their teams.  This happens because they don’t see an immediate return on investment. 

I want to argue that the Bamboo growth process has a fundamental lesson. You do not plant it today and expect to see its shoots soon after. Most importantly, even if you don’t see immediate results, growth is taking place: the right roots are being formed, the solid foundation is being developed, and if you maintain a conducive environment to support growth, you will reap enormously.  

Growth is like a medium or long term investment. The duration of the investment determines the size of your portfolio. We might be tempted to treat growth the same as buying goods, like walking out of a dealer shop with your favorite car’s keys. As investors, we wonder what immediate change we will reap after a one-day leadership session or after graduating from a tedious professional program. At times, there is no immediate return, but trust me, you will see the shoots come up, you will enjoy “interest” earned. 

Your secret to success is understanding that growth is a process! It is not an event. Like my mentor always says, value the process more than events.  

“The secret of your success is hidden in your daily agenda” John Maxwell. 

Reflection 
Look at your schedule for the last year, where are you spending your time and money? How are you investing in your growth?

Decide on the changes you want to make to embark on a growth process because it’s what precedes success.