Be a Willow, not an Oak

In the previous post, I talked about things you need to do to be prepared for success in business.  Success takes some preparation and a good amount of things going in your direction.  In my psychology classes, I ask students if they would rather be an oak or a willow if they were a tree.

Most people, understandably, answer they want to be the oak tree.  It is sturdy, dependable and majestic.  And I agree with those descriptors.  And then I suggest that I would rather be a willow tree because of what I have learned in my life and business.

Oak trees stand firmly in the ground, with a strong, deep root system.  They are tall and majestic and have beautiful wood.  There was an old oak tree outside of my house and one year, during a thunderstorm, it was hit by lightning and had to be taken down.

Willow trees are also quite lovely and when the wind blows, the branches, which are long and flexible, blow freely in the wind.  The willow is likely to bend where the oak is more likely to break.  Both are beautiful and useful and to a combination tree (if that were possible) would be ideal.

In business, one of the keys to success is to be able to change course if needed.  To be flexible and ready for whatever comes your way so you can continue to meet needs and be in a position to change course quickly if needed.  If you look at the biggest companies, they are always in research and development.  They are looking at different arenas all the time because they know things can, and do, change and sometimes very quickly.

As a private practice or small business owner, you must also be ready to make changes as the world changes around you.  What services will you offer to begin with and then,what services can you add as you go along?  These are questions you want to be answering as you begin.  Reimbursements will change, society attitudes will change and you, if you’re a willow, will be flexible enough to move with those changes and stay in a good place.

So, in business, being part oak and part willow is an excellent place to be.  What are you?  Are you an oak or a willow?  How does that impact your life?  Something to think about!


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