If you had to choose between the two, which would you pick? Bigger or better? We have worked our fingers to the bone, strained our eyes and ears on Zoom calls, and taxed our brains trying to learn how to excel in “the new normal.” During my Leaders on Leadership podcast yesterday, my guest asked this question, “Are we growing for the sake of growth?” Her comment surprised me because she is no stranger to running large organizations. She serves as the CEO of a large credit union and she is paid and expected to grow.
I almost leaped out of my chair when she said this. I had been allowing myself to jump on the growth bandwagon. To heck with the Coronavirus, economic downturn, and inability to meet in person. I shall overcome! But what if I was doing this to pursue growth for the sake of growing—because that's what I was being marketed to do? Don't get me wrong; this global reset has given me time to reflect, put together a podcast, and connect with a bevy of tremendous advocates. But somewhere amid the strange new world of virtual networking, I became overloaded with a cacophony of experts sharing with me how they did it and what the next thing I needed to purchase for me to do it too.
I have a first-rate mind that can hold multiple streams of thoughts at the same time. But I have no idea how people intake, digest, and apply the swirling storms of suggestions that have filled the air of our home offices. I get daily emails from people sharing beautiful ideas on how to grow and what I must be doing to grow and how this other person did this, and now they grow, and guess what? It has the opposite effect of making me want to grow!
Now please hear me out. I am not thumb-sucking. My father taught me better than that. But I wanted to be authentic and share this because maybe some of you out there are feeling burnt out too. And contrary to what social and mainstream media is telling us, it’s not all because of division in the country or a global pandemic. We’re feeling burnt out because we are targeted to do something that is not what we need to be doing. It is subtle manipulation, and we need to be keenly aware of it.
So, at this point, I got to say "no" to the "grow." In the stage I am in, I need to focus on getting better, not bigger. I need to put to full use all the platforms, connections, apps, and technology I have before pouring precious resources into before even contemplating the next big thing. I need to stop working on Plan B while I am still on Plan A. Too often, in today's world, when we're sold a bill of goods, all we get is a bill. And this results in a plethora of reinvented wheels lying by the side of our desks, never to roll again.
The "to be bigger or better" question brings to mind the Parable of the Mustard Seed. In this parable, Jesus speaks of the tiny mustard seed's explosive growth. That's a good thing. Well, like everything else man touches, that's also a bad thing. The seed's growth attracts the presence of evil; in this case, all types of birds who claim the tree as their home and take advantage of its benefits. In other words, when we grow, we run the risk of diluting our DNA.
Too often, humble beginnings yield to showers of prosperity via explosive growth. Suppose we are not vigilant in allowing only the best to take up a residential roost. In that case, we experience mission drift and impurity. Let this parable warn us that bigger isn’t always better, and growth has burdens associated with it as well.
Speaking of mission drift, please check out the Leaders on Leadership interview with Peter Greer, President, and CEO of HOPE International. Peter is a hero of mine and knows a thing or two about staying on point.
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