I can’t really tell you why, but this time I didn’t send Uncle Tom’s email directly to “trash”. Generally, I see the jokes, “cool photos” or other musing emails come through hotmail, and I click it with my other spam right before clicking “delete”. But for some reason, this time, I opened it. And I got inspired for this next blog post.
As a “hot shot” 9 year old skater girl, the only thing between me and my smooth moves was those blasted tree roots. Pushing up through the concrete sidewalk, sometimes big and other times barely visible, they were always just enough to launch me sideways. And sometimes fall and scrape my knee. Those darn sidewalks – with faulty concrete, getting pushed around and bullied by the tree roots. Licking my wounds (pride and knee), I could look at the sidewalk in front of me and see blocks and blocks of this battle of wills in the way of my awesome skateboard prowess. Nevertheless, I pressed on, limping along over the cracks and blemishes – imagining a better way.
Since then, an occasional stumble while walking the dog reminds me of the stubborn roots pushing and nagging the sidewalk to relent.
And then I saw Uncle Tom’s photo. And I thought, well finally. The roots and the concrete – they got it right.
At first glance, I didn’t think about what came first, did the roots or the concrete give in first. I didn’t think about who was winning and who was giving in. I didn’t think about if this was done intentionally or by accident. I didn’t over think any of it. I just thought… THAT. LOOKS. BEAUTIFUL. Seeing this on my block wouldn’t make me stop because I tripped over it or because my skateboard was wobbly – this would stop me too look at the beauty of these two strong wills, in this case – not fighting, forcing, pushing… but adapting, melding, changing. I imagine these two getting to know each other, familiarizing themselves with one another and then acclimating to where they want to go next; thinking, planning and carefully working for a common outcome. The stones allowing room to let the roots through and the roots moving through with more care and fit – reworking along the way as needed.
It makes me think of the way we are in life and in business and reminded me of how important beautiful relationships can be – as well as the outcomes of those relationships, when approached with a thoughful eye on collaboration and teamwork… and the willingness to adapt, shift and change in the name of a shared win. This made me think about change and asks that come my way for adaptation and how it has looked when I’ve fought against and how it has looked when I’ve adapted, collaborated and teamed. It hasn’t always been, and won’t always be, easy to adjust, to acclimate…. to adapt. And for sure I can say there will be times that I forget about all of this and in the moment, find myself as the root, pushing through a big challenge. And maybe I will find myself as the concrete, puckering or cracking under the strain of a change. But I hope more than not I will think of the beauty of what adaptation can be and sometimes… get it right.