I may have mentioned that I am moving house at the moment, in between working and writing. Yesterday we had a blitz and moved all the three thousand books which litter my household. Previously the pest control people had been in and did a mighty job; corpses littered the carpet and odd corners. Various spiders, bugs and cockroaches lay in their death throes and needed clearing out.

The junior members of the family are not budding Entomologists, and my son-in-law who as a fireman is quite capable of abseiling down cliff faces to save frightened dogs was not having a bar of it. The husband claimed that surgery has a detrimental effect on his ‘insect clearing abilities” and the daughter merely looked at me.

It was obvious that “If it were to be then it was up to me” so armed with the vacuum cleaner and the dustpan I set to work. I insisted that the gigantic huntsman spider had a decent burial – just to get my own back and I was delighted to hear my grand-daughter (who is eleven going on twenty) say to her father “It’s a good thing someone is capable of taking charge around here!”

I was delighted because I had not always been noted for taking charge of anything. In my very much younger days I was more than capable of fading into the background when decisions had to be made; and I found that it was much easier and more satisfying to let someone else take the leadership role and then criticize when I didn’t like what was done. And I feel a groundswell of agreement out there!!

However, being a shrinking violet doesn’t go with progression in a military career, so eventually I had to face the difficult realization that “If it was to be, then it was up to me!” I remember the day that I changed my outlook. I had been offered a place in a promotional course, and I was undecided whether this was what I wanted. I liked the idea of have two stripes on my arm (actually one would do), but I knew that with rank came responsibility and I wasn’t sure if I was really up for that.

On this particular day I came across a quotation by Rousseau which said “We each hold within ourselves our own seeds of greatness.” He then went on to say “…but it is up to us to nurture them into growth.” As a child of the soil I was well aware of the preparation required for seed growth, I had been detailed to the weeding and watering party in my childhood, so this analogy spoke to my experience.

In that experience I was also familiar of allowing my seeds of leadership potential to land on stony ground, and the resulting failure had given me a feeling that maybe I just wasn’t capable of being a leader, of taking charge of anything. But thinking about the work involved of raising flourishing plants from seeds made me see that I had not done the work required to get the results. So I took charge for the first time in my life, and decided that I would take the course and work at growing my potential into a tangible product. The rest, as they say, is history.

I wonder what seeds of greatness are within you. Have you had chances to grow your potential that you have let go by you? Perhaps you felt the time was not right, or that life’s circumstances wouldn’t allow you to pursue your opportunities. If so, then take heart – my rural upbringing also taught me that even if the first sowing lands on unfertile soil, with work and application, with careful nurturing of young growth, you can achieve a productive outcome.

Leadership potential is one of the real seeds of greatness that Rousseau talked about, but it is up to us to care and nurture it. What are you Leadership Skills like at the moment? Do you need to water and fertilise them? Are they being crowded out by weeds? Why not take the Leadership Questionnaire which will be on the Trischel Blog this week.

Seeds of potential, seeds of greatness need work to bring out their full growth, and you cannot achieve your greatness unless you dig the soil first.

So what are you waiting for – get out the gardening gloves, fill up the watering can – there are seeds to be planted and greatness to achieve.

Michele @ Trischel

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