FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | December, 2009
During a lunch break with a client in Lincoln, Alabama, I came across this historic bank building from the 1930’s. It hasn’t been a bank for several decades, but stands out as a stoic architectural landmark from the past. Upon closer examination I could see a tree branch sticking out of the gable. The client who was with me indicated that the branch is actually alive, that it has made its roots in the nooks and crannies of the building’s façade and attic boards, and that in the springtime the branch blossoms and grows, as if it were firmly planted in the ground below. In spite of enormous odds, it thrives! The client also told me the story of how a bank depositor approached this once thriving community landmark in the 1930s to withdraw the bulk of his deposits, since the rumor was it would fail someday soon. He explained his concern for the future welfare of the bank, only to be told (probably by a bank employee), “Have you ever heard of a bank failing? Leave your money there, where it’s safe.” He did. The bank failed the next day. All of his deposits vanished.
As you are well aware, being overly exposed to metaphors is an occupational hazard of mine. (Fortunately no metaphor is yet known to have caused cancer.) I couldn’t help but see in this scene a metaphor of the new springing from the old. Perhaps it is the sign of a new, green, and changing economy springing out of the dead relic of past financial institutions. It could be like you and I, building on the foundation of our past and allowing the parts that are still alive and thriving to take root and flourish. Or perhaps it could be likened to the old year, giving way to the new, whereas each of us strives to extend further and higher toward our life’s goals.
Like this tender branch of an optimistic seedling, you and I are given a chance every day to exercise our proactive muscles and grow into something new and better. Take time this holiday season to reflect on the good that you have established throughout your life, the new highs and lows you may have experienced throughout this past year, and consider the new directions and opportunity that lie before you and within you. Don’t allow past failures to dictate the potential trajectory of your future. Decide today to rise from the frustration and disappointment of past shortcomings and chart a course for your personal life’s landmark. Thrive!
May you and yours be blessed by the hard work and perseverance that have defined your life’s journey thus far. It has been my rare privilege to call you friends, and I trust you will continue to inspire me and others toward new levels of personal and organizational innovation and greatness into the coming year.
All My Best,