Author Jaroldeen Edwards tells the story of a time she visited her daughter, Carolyn, who was living in Running Springs, California. One foggy morning, Carolyn told her mother she wanted to take her for a drive to see “a very special field of daffodils”.
Jaroldeen protested, saying she had no desire to drive through a fog, but her daughter insisted, and prevailed. After a slow, winding mountain drive, they suddenly came upon the field. Jaroldeen recounts the moment…
I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight! It looked as though someone had poured gold over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. Daffodils were planted in majestic, swirling patterns of orange, white, yellow and pink. Each different-coloured variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. This was no small field! These were five acres of beautiful flowers!
Stunned by the beauty before her, Jaroldeen asked her daughter who had done this.
’Just one woman,’ Carolyn replied, pointing to a modest, well-kept home in the midst of the flowers. ‘Her name is Gene Bauer. That’s her home.” As they walked up to the house, they saw a poster on the patio:
Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking:
1. 50,000 flowers
2. One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.
3. Began in 1958.
For Jaroldeen, this was a life-changing moment! More than four decades ago, a woman had decided to bring beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one daffodil at a time, this unknown woman had succeeded in creating something extraordinary, and had taught her something in the process. — When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small elements of daily effort, we can accomplish magnificent things.
“It makes me sad in a way,” Jaroldeen admitted to her daughter, “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one flower at a time’ through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
Her daughter smiled and simply said, “Start tomorrow,”
Is there something you wish you had started earlier? Instead of regretting lost time, start tomorrow! And keep going. Because small elements of daily effort multiplied by pieces of times can indeed achieve marvellous things! Before long, you will be surprised how much you have gotten done by simply doing it daily, doing it diligently, and never neglecting to do it.
Have a great week!
We often hear about those who have ’made it to the top’. But what exactly is ‘the top’? Is it an achievement attained by beating the competition, or is it also something deeper that may or may not figure on a ranking list? Bestselling author and speaker, Zig Ziglar, faced the same question when he sent the manuscript for his book ‘Over the Top’ to his publisher.
‘My publisher returned the manuscript saying, “You can’t tell people how to go over the top until you identify ‘the top.’” For over two months, I struggled to come up with the definition of “the top.” Finally, I just threw up my hands and said, “It’ll come to me.”
And come to him it did, in the most unusual of ways. — While visiting a loved one in a nursing home along with his wife.
‘I felt like a fish out of water. I am one of those solution-oriented people who doesn’t know what to do when I’m faced with something that can’t be fixed. My wife, on the other hand, simply talks to everyone, hugs them, listens to them, and makes them feel every bit as special as they are.
On this day, I was having more than my usual degree of difficulty seeing suffering, so I walked outside to clear my head, wishing I had the kind of heart for others my wife did. And that’s when the definition of ‘the top’ began to come to me. I pulled out a pen and began writing on the back of a hotel bill, the only piece of paper I had …”
The words that Ziglar wrote down that day have gone on to inspire millions:
You are at the top when:
- You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night, and today is a brand-new day.
- You have made friends with your past, are focused on the present and are optimistic about your future.
- You know that success doesn’t make you, and failure doesn’t break you.
- You are filled with faith, hope and love; and live without anger, greed, guilt, envy or thoughts of revenge.
- You are mature enough to delay gratification and shift your focus from your rights to your responsibilities.
- You know that failure to stand for what is morally right is the prelude to being the victim of what is criminally wrong.
- You are secure in who you are, so you are at peace with yourself and your fellow humans.
- You have made friends of your adversaries, and have gained the love and respect of those who know you best.
- You understand that others can give you pleasure, but genuine happiness comes when you do things for others.
- You are pleasant to the grouch, courteous to the rude and generous to the needy.
- You love the unlovable, and give hope to the helpless, friendship to the friendless and encouragement to the discouraged.
- You can look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, around you with compassion and within with gratitude.
- You realise that the greatest are those who serve the most generously.
Have a wonderful and fulfilling week!
Have you noticed how Google Maps never yells at you if you take the wrong turn? It never raises its voice and says, “You were supposed to go LEFT at the last crossing, you idiot! Now you’re going to have to go the LONG way around and it’s going to take you SO much more time, and you’re going to be late for your meeting! Learn to pay attention and listen to instructions, OK??”
If it did that, chances are, a lot of us might stop using it. But Google maps never condemns or castigates. It simply re-routes and shows you the next best way to get there. Its primary interest is in getting you to reach your goal, not in making you feel bad for having made a mistake.
There’s a lesson for leaders (indeed, for everyone) there. It’s tempting to unload our frustration and anger on those who have made a mistake, especially those we are close to, and familiar with. But wise mentors and guides fix the problem, not the blame. Such people have three characteristics:
1) They ‘help us to see the lightning without feeling the bolt.’ In other words, they spare us the drama and help us see the error of our ways without making us feel like losers. They point out where we have gone awry, but without attacking our character.
2) Instead of just telling us what we have done wrong, they also help us do it right. In fact, they also show us how to do it right. As the poet Edgar Guest wrote:
‘The eye is a better student
More willing than the ear
Lectures can be confusing
But example’s always clear.’
3) They help us to learn what we need to, from the situation, turn disaster into teaching moments, and help us get the lesson. And like Google Maps, they help us ‘re-route.’
Have you had a “re-routing” moment recently? Or helped someone else have one? Do write in. We’d love to hear about it!
Have a great week!