Do You See Trees or Treehouses?
Larry Rottmeyer, PhD, Director of Innovation Education, The NIIC
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Some of the most powerful lessons I have learned in life have come from my family. I am sure that is true for you, too. Here is one of my most powerful lessons learned from my son.
Years ago, I was building my business, and it was really growing. A business trip took me to Washington state for a couple of days. When it was time to return home, I called home from the airport, as was my custom. My wife concluded our conversation with the comment, “When you get home, don’t be too upset when you see what our son has done.” I probed but did not receive any clues. It was time to board my flight.
The trip went well. I returned home on a low-cost, red-eye flight, arriving home near 2 a.m. I was exhausted and went right to bed. I had forgotten my wife’s “heads up” caution.
The next morning, I rolled out of bed early, went downstairs, made coffee, grabbed a cup, and looked out our kitchen window into the backyard. I was stunned. Walking out onto our back patio, I looked around the backyard. What happened? I was only gone for a couple of days. Our backyard was transformed.
Every tree had wooden steps nailed into its trunk. Large trees. Small trees. Even a couple of saplings that could barely support the added weight. Each step was painted or stained from an old inventory of supplies left in our garage. Some of the steps reached just a few feet, while others climbed ten or more feet off the ground. Our son must have spent two full days on this project.
Wow, I stood amazed. Then it clicked. It made sense. You see, our son had always wanted a treehouse. He took it upon himself to make several.
As I had looked out at our backyard over the years, all I saw were trees. In that same backyard, all my son could see were treehouses. Same view. Very different lenses. That day he taught me a lot about imagination.
Business builders are imaginative. They see things differently than others. Life becomes more interesting when we see situations and circumstances differently. Sometimes, we need a fresh view. New and great opportunities abound. They are nearby. They may be the trees in our backyards.
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