"It is not necessary for all men to be great in action. The greatest and sublimest power is often simple patience" - Horace Bushnell
|Photo Courtesy of Kew on Flickr via Compfight|
One of the largest and weirdest flowers in the world is the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus Titanum) or Corpse Flower shown in the picture above. Why is it called a Corpse Flower? Because it literally smells like rotting human flesh when it blooms for a few short days. The real story behind the Corpse Flower is in the power and patience that the plant has before it blooms.
Titan Arum hails from hot and tropical Indonesia. It's the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom ( which means the floral structure is composed of many smaller individual flowers). It's umbrella sized petals open to 3-4 feet and it produces the largest leaves in the world - up to 15-20 feet! It loves hot warm day temperatures and high night humidity. The Corpse Flower is very patient and determined. It can take 10 or more years to bloom and demands particular growing conditions. One plant in Switzerland took over 75 years to bloom!The largest plant at Kew Gardens in England weighs over 200 pounds and grows 1/4 inch an hour! It only blooms after it has stored enough energy within it's underground stem. The Corpse Flower is highest on the smell-o-meter at night when it's very humid and it begins pollinating. Pollination releases a strong potent scent that is the result of 2 sulfur producing chemicals. The smell can be detected from 1/2 mile away! The smell does have a positive.It attracts pollinators such as the Dung and Carrion Beetles (shocking huh?). http://www.usbg.gov/return-titan
|Photo via Wild Sumatra at Compfight|
|Photo via Wild Sumatra via Compfight|
|Photo via wlculter via Compflight|
This incredible creepy sci-fi plant draws crowds to botanical gardens all over the world when it blooms. It generates more press than a sitting President while blooming. People literally spend hours just watching the plant come into bloom and quickly grab nose protection when it does. It's so creepy that it's mesmerizing. The patience and long term focus of the Titan Arum is really admirable. Nothing can hurry it's growth, no one can influence it to bloom bigger, brighter, or faster. The Corpse Flower develops at it's own pace and inherently knows that patience pays off when it pops out in all it's blooming glory. How patient are you?
"He that can have patience, can have what he will" - Ben Franklin
Patience is NOT one of my virtues. It's something that I really need to work at and focus on. I get really enthusiastic about new ideas and projects and want to jump right in. I want to make things happen and bring about change. I hate waiting on other people in order to get things moving. It's hard for me to understand why some people work so slow, precise, and lethargic. Not the best traits for developing and growing my leadership skills over time right? Leadership is one area where I have had to learn to pace myself and force myself to set long term goals on gaining more knowledge, experiences, and education.
Like the Corpse Flower, leadership can't be forced. You must have patience and focus on the end goal : strong and everlasting leadership.
If you are lucky enough to be a seasoned patient leader here is what your arch nemesis acts like:
- He won't make time or have an interest in hearing other's concerns.
- Lack of listening skills.
- Results oriented to the determent of other teams/projects.
- Little empathy or no Emotional IQ.
- Persistent yelling or sarcasm.
- Unreasonable goals or deadlines.
- No tolerance for delay or failure.
- Teams are a second thought. Get out of the way of this leader!
- One way communication - hers.
- Leader feels that the marketplace demands this method of leadership.
- No focus on the long term or the need for looking that far ahead. Just go!
Sound like anyone that you know? I bet that it does! Our fast moving world doesn't reward patience and long term thinking. Everything has to happen now, be now, and then it's on to the next thing. As a result, we are all pressured to produce now, act now, and hope that it all works out. Not conducive to personal long term growth nor the health of individuals or companies.
Leadership is a long term personal development process focused on experience, mistakes, education, and life lessons. Learn patience and practise patience.
Why IS patience a virtue? How can you use it?
- When you take the time to see things through the eyes of other's you see the bigger picture and what other's are experiencing or noticing. Step back and focus. Take time to learn.
- Patience allows you to evaluate tension within a group and without bias. You avoid taking sides, can remain open minded, and be patient under pressure. This gift may take years to develop.
- Listen. Really listen. Ask questions in a patient voice and have an open positive attitude. This too is a hard skill.
- Be willing to seek a new perspective from someone else. Have your own mentor who can guide you with patience to resolve issues and strengthen your leadership.
- Be a role model. Don't runaway from being responsible yourself. Responsibility and patience often go hand in hand.
- Some things just take a long time. You need to be consistent and focused. For instance, building a strong company culture won't happen overnight. Like our flower, it happens on it's own timeline and you need to nurture it.
- Mastering patience and building skills over time, even decades, build your brand and reputation. Patience is the foundation of so many regarded skills. It's your foundation and base.
- Patience brings results. It rewards with growth, sales, service, and even personal recognition.
- Learning patience bring you the gift of suspending judgement or making decisions long enough to consider the best avenues to take. This is critical when your decisions have an impact on the lives of others. Be patient. Be focused. Be responsible.
- Patience helps build strong character in both yourself and others. You learn the ability to step back and look at every aspect of a situation with calm and reason. This enables you to truly make clear, fair, and just decisions. Patience brings a sense of peace.
Like the Corpse Flower, patience can't be rushed. We all bloom when it's our time. Make the time to learn patience and put it to use. Bloom when YOU are ready, not when others want you too!
|Photo via The Rocketeer via Compfight|