Fishing in the Trees…

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

That’s from good ol’ Albert Einstein…

Every time I see, hear, or read this quote, it refocuses my mindset.  We are all individuals capable of greatness, but that doesn’t mean that everybody will be great at everything.  As a leader, this concept is so imperative to realize.  We build teams with the hopes of creating a multifaceted juggernaut capable of success in whatever our endeavor is, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  From a Biblical standpoint, we are to do our work as if it were “unto the Lord” himself, so striving for achievements and successes can be a noble cause, as long as our motives are pure.  BUT how do we reach greatness?  How do we conquer “obtaining that new contract” or “providing fresh water for all in need” or whatever our goal is?  We build a team capable of taking us there.  Seems simple enough, right?  Maybe not so much…

The easiest analogy I can think of to make this applicable is that of a football team.  Imagine this with me:  We are in the championship game (cliché alert) and our star quarterback goes down.  Not to worry, we’ll just replace him with our second string left tackle and win this game.  Wait, maybe that’s not the best case scenario.  Our second string lineman doesn’t have the skill set to play quarterback, but “He’s a football player,” so he should be more than capable.  (If that’s an irrational thought to you, you’re on the right track)

That concept doesn’t seem to make sense in the world of sports, so why would the world of businesses, nonprofits, churches, etc. be any different?  We must put the right people in the right place in order for our endeavor to be effective, as well as to get the greatness out of those around us. If fish don’t climb trees, maybe Martha doesn’t public speak.  Behind the scenes, she could be the most valuable asset you have as an employee, performing flawless work on a daily basis that is vital to the organization, BUT as soon as you ask her to speak in front of others, she closes down, shuts off, and feels like a failure.  Is she a bad employee, or was she perhaps poorly managed?  You can decide that on your own, I trust you 😉  Don’t get me wrong though, there are times when it is necessary to push someone beyond their own comfort zone for their personal growth, and those times arise when you see something in someone that gives you the inclination that there is something they could be great at but just lack the courage to tackle.

We have all worked with someone that no matter the training or number of times they try, they just won’t be a good public speaker.  God doesn’t gift us all the same, so don’t expect a fish to climb a tree. Let’s do our due diligence.  Let’s get to know the people we work with.  Let’s learn their strengths.  Let’s learn their weaknesses.  Let’s set them up for success by providing a fish a place to swim, and let’s keep the squirrels in the trees.

7 Things I was Unprepared for in Marriage

Everyone gives you advice before you get married – whether you asked for it or not. We were given some great insight into marriage by many couples we love and respect. However, in the 4 years that we have been married, there have still been some unexpected twists and turns that I just did not see coming.

1.       Making new friends doesn’t come as easily.

Before marriage, making new friends was effortless. There was always time for trips to the mall, lunch dates and Friends marathons.  It was as simple as “I like you and you like me” insta-friends! Throw in a spouse, full time jobs and house projects and there is hardly time to stop and schedule a tentative day to hopefully, maybe grab coffee. I have learned it takes much more intentionality, planning and sacrifice to build and maintain solid friendships. It becomes a joint effort as you team up with your spouse to hunt for that perfect vacation couple! Luckily, we’ve been blessed with some world class friends!

2.       Someone is always “too hot” or “too cold.”

If there is one thing in our marriage that never changes it is that Micah is always “too hot” and I am always “too cold.” This makes for riding in the car together borderline dangerous as we try to elbow our way to the temperature controls. A problem that could easily be solved if Micah would just buy me the snuggie I’ve been asking for.

3.       Man chores vs. Woman chores.

These do not exist in our house. I quickly learned that household duties like cleaning the bathroom, laundry, dishes, mowing the yard and washing the car are not assigned based on gender. I can’t even count how many times I have come home to a spick and span house, compliments of my better half. But, I also have found myself elbow deep in my lawn replacing sprinkler heads – one of my proudest moments. Of course bug killing and cleaning still falls to the men…always to the men!

4.       Being ‘Home Alone’ isn’t as fun as Macaulay Culkin makes it out to be.

This may have been my biggest shocker. After all, I had spent many nights alone before I was married, why should it be any different afterwards? In fact I should be excited to have an evening to myself to indulge in my criminal shows that Micah hates, but no! Every creak in the floor, every whistle of the wind makes me jump and grab for his pillow. I may have just stumbled upon an opportune time for a good ‘ole fashion girls’ sleepover!

5.       Not everything about me is “to love.”

It was a sad day when I came face to face with the harsh reality that Micah wasn’t absolutely in love with every aspect of who I am. He was brutal on my wardrobe…RIP Nordstrom jean jacket, you served me faithfully and proud for 8 years; said I was quite possibly the WORST singer he’d ever heard; and apparently doesn’t find it adorable that no matter what I order, I always want a bite from his plate 🙂 Men secretly like that though, right??

6.       Cooking dinner isn’t for the faint of heart.

Of course I expected to cook for my husband and I was excited to! What I did not prepare for was the recipe searching, meal planning, grocery shopping, and food preparing. Not to mention my obsession for needing an instant reaction as soon as the food touches his mouth, “Do you like? Is it good? What do you think? You hate it don’t you? I’m never cooking again!” Poor guy can barely even enjoy his food. On that note, I wonder what’s for dinner tonight??

7.       It takes creativity to find new ways to say “I love you.” 

I must say, Micah is much better at this than I am. Folded laundry, cooked dinner when I get home, a new pair of sandals or a card he drew and colored himself are just some of the ways he reminds me of how much he loves me! As our love evolves, the way we express it must also evolve as well. What fun it was to realize this and know that every day would bring new surprises and opportunities to show off our love for each other!

I am confident we will add to this list as we continue the adventure of our marriage. For now, we take each day as they come, learn from the mistakes of yesterday and try to love each other more than the day before – that last part is a piece of cake!! 🙂

– Olivia