Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trying Harder Doesn't Work

As a staff we've been going through a leadership study on DVD by Henry Cloud called, White Board | Red Couch. It's excellent! Seriously. Go out and get it.

This last month we discussed the third session which was on the Fig Tree. Dr. Cloud recounts the Parable of the Fig Tree. In this parable the the vineyard owner wants to cut down a fig tree that hasn't produced fruit for three years. The vinedresser asks him to wait till he works the soil and fertilizes the soil.

Cloud says that every leader goes through this. We have a time of bad, poor, or unnoticeable fruit, and after the evaluation process, we determine it's time to cut down the tree (just like the owner of the vineyard). Too often we view this as a two-step process, and don't look past this. If it stops here, we'll never develop and get better...trying harder doesn't work.

Enter the advocate. We need people who will, like the vinedresser, work our soil till it produces fruit. This needs to be a person who is neutral, safe and accepting. We need to ask ourselves the question, "Where do I go for someone to be in my camp?"

Here are some of my conclusions:

  1. If I am the fig tree in this story, there are factors outside of myself that need to be in place for me to produce fruit. Without quality soil and fertilizer in place the fig tree will never produce as it's designed to do. In my life, without someone in my life coaching, challenging, pointing out weaknesses, encouraging, etc, nothing will get better. Trying harder doesn't work.
  2. Producing fruit does nothing to further produce fruit. In fact, producing fruit takes nutrients away from the tree. This concept of an advocate needs to be a continual process, not a one-time-shot.

Where do you go for someone to be in your camp? Who challenges, encourages and speaks truth and grace into your life?