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.


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