Waiting is hard, and there’s a temptation to find another way.
Shortcuts promise growth without all the time and work. They often come disguised as more effective methods of growth. You can usually recognize shortcuts when they promise growth by doing just this one thing, buying this one product, taking this one course. Often is something they're selling.
I once built a plant (pictured above). Yeah, you read that right. I wanted to illustrate to my team that you can’t build what must grow. When I first showed them the plant, I asked for observations. From more than two feet away, nobody noticed the tape. It looked healthy; the leaves were green and plentiful. But it was dying. Manufacturing growth is tempting because it feels like a shortcut to fruit. But, in actuality, there is no life to be found.
We love overnight success, but ignore the decade of work that preceded it.
There is a Chinese idiom 拔苗助长 (Ba Miao Zhu Zhang) which tells of a story of a farmer who would daily measure the growth of his crops and felt they grew too slowly. He tried giving them a slight tug to accelerate their growth. That day, his plants were taller, so he continued. They seemed to be thriving, yet they were dying as their roots were slowly ripped from the soil. Eventually, he destroyed his crop.
As a leader, manufacturing growth looks like trying to emulate an amalgam of all the success stories you hear. You're taking the leaves of others' success and taping them to yourself as I did with my manufactured plant.
You want your life to have meaning and impact.
What if your everyday work and life not only felt natural and intuitive but also aligned with your priorities and positively impacted those around you?