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As a co-founder and director of a non-profit, I have spent much time outdoors. Thinking, observing, and learning from our world have satisfied me exceptionally. Regarding being an effective leader, manager, or designated person in charge, nature has been my most excellent instructor.

One of my favorite things about nature is how it is unapologetically adaptable. Nature does not yield its power or cave into immoral or unethical actions. Yet, it persists through adaption. One of the greatest gifts we have is our ability to pivot. Yet, so few people or organizations do.

A prime example of nature’s adaptability can be found in the life cycle of deciduous trees. Faced with the harshness of winter, these trees do not stubbornly hold onto their leaves, attempting to weather the storm. Instead, they shed their leaves, conserving resources and waiting for warmer times. They effectively pivot their approach, not fighting the obstacle of cold weather but adapting to it in a way that allows them to thrive when the conditions are right. They will perish if they were to hold on to what once was.

Again, we look at an almighty river.

Rivers are a prime example of the power of listening and adapting. They do not stubbornly force their way straight ahead, ignoring the landscape surrounding them. Instead, they listen to their advisors – the terrain, the pull of gravity, the hardness of the rock. They bend and twist, changing their path to follow the path. They flow around obstacles instead of fighting against them, using the energy from the current to carve a new direction. This is the essence of adaptability and resilience. Like a river, influential leaders listen to their advisors, respect their environment, and are flexible enough to change their path when necessary.

However, when rivers fail to adapt, they embark on a destructive path. Rather than bending and twisting in harmony with their environment, they rely on brute force, pushing against the limits of their banks. The result is often disastrous – flooding. Once a symbol of adaptability and resilience, the water becomes a menacing force. It is relentless and yields to nothing, causing extensive damage to landscapes, homes, and communities. The element that once carved beautiful valleys and sustained life becomes the agent of destruction. This stark contrast serves as a potent reminder to leaders, organizations, and each of us – Adaptability is not just a survival tactic but a strategy for sustained success. When we stop adapting and start forcing our way, we risk causing unrest and damage.

In the grand theater of life, nature serves as a profound and eloquent muse, whispering lessons to those who care to listen. Resilience, adaptability, patience, hope, and relentless pursuit – these virtues that nature imparts to us, the silent benedictions bestowed upon those who lead.

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