Not Seeing Results? Why You Might Be Closer Than You Think

 

Executive Leadership Coach Diane Bolden of Phoenix.Do you ever feel like—despite your best, most diligent, inspired effort, discipline, and patience—you don’t seem to be getting anywhere?

Maybe you have a vision that excites you – an idea of how something could be done differently, a creation you’d like to breathe life into, a way of improving your quality of life or that of others. You plan, you prepare, you do the work. Repeatedly. But despite all that effort and persistence, you have little if anything to show for it.

You might question yourself. Are you doing it right? Are you missing something?

You might get angry and try harder to control the outcome – double down your efforts, research extensively to figure out how to foolproof your plan, do whatever you can to MAKE it happen.

You may take your anger out on others. Why aren’t they cooperating? And how is it that everyone else seems to have it easier than you do?

You may question your vision. Is this really worth investing your time and energy in?

You might feel like quitting and moving onto something easier, more mainstream, with less risk or exposure. You gave it a good run. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

But the idea of throwing in the towel feels even worse than fighting what seems to be a losing battle.  

And try as you might, you just can’t shake the hold of that vision. It beckons. It haunts. It enchants – revisiting you in your quiet hours, whispering about what is possible.

What do you do?

Have you ever heard the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree?

It’s quite unusual. A farmer who plants these seeds will water, fertilize, and tend to them daily. After a year of care and nurturing, the ground looks the same way it did when the seeds were planted.

Another year will pass as the farmer continues his efforts, with no seeming growth at all. A third year of care and feeding will go by. NOTHING. And then another year of watering, fertilizing, and patiently waiting. Still nothing.

In the fifth year, small sprouts will appear. And in the six weeks that follow, the little shoot will grow up to ninety feet tall.

These seeds are like our most precious dreams and visions.

What we don’t realize about them is that while patience, faith, and perseverance may not produce tangible signs of progress for quite some time, they work wonders beneath the surface, laying the groundwork for what will follow.

To sustain the towering height these trees grow to, the root system must be deep and vast.

We too must have a strong inner foundation to ensure we have what we need before we can share it with others. So many of our efforts are a quest to prove to ourselves that we are worthy. We often mistakenly think that accolades, prestige, wealth, and all that comes with success will allow us to feel strong and fulfilled. But that approach is backwards.

The “trappings” of success fade over time and are as easily toppled as a tree with no root system.

If instead we start with a strong, grounded feeling of worthiness and appreciation for ourselves, we can extend our gifts to others knowing that we have all we need and that sharing it with others will only make us stronger – in the same way that bamboo continues to grow after it is harvested.

This strength is cultivated over time, and often happens during times that feel most barren.

We endure disappointments, we try something and fail, we learn about who we are and why we are here. This is all growth that happens beneath the surface. And it makes us strong and resilient enough to stand tall, reach high, and do the work we have been inspired to do out of joy rather than necessity.

The visions worth working for often don’t come to fruition right away.

Their timing is not something that can be controlled. When we try desperately to speed things up, we will often experience frustration, and feelings of desperation that may lead to anger and/or withdrawal. Just as we cannot peel rosebuds open or shorten the time it takes for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, we cannot rush the progress and transformation that happens with our visions and our very selves.

The “overnight success” we often hear about is often the result of years of dedication, commitment, perseverance and faith that like the growth of the Chinese bamboo tree took several years to come to fruition. As you pursue your grandest dreams and visions, many will tell you that your efforts are in vain, that you do not have what it takes, that you should quit while you are ahead.

And you may begin to question yourself as well. But as you weather these storms and continue to believe in and cultivate something that cannot yet be seen, you will ultimately be rewarded with seeing that which you believe. And it will enrich your life – and that of others in ways you may never have anticipated.

For more on bringing your grandest dreams and visions to fruition and laying the foundation necessary to sustain them, check out The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom & Flow Group Intensive. Though the spring program is now full, you can get on the waiting list for priority access to the fall program kicking off in September. For more information, visit The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom & Flow Group Intensive.

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