Focus on Roots not the Fruits

I was talking with the CEO of a company recently about success.  We discussed the importance of living a life of integrity by winning in private (personal) life as well as public (professional) life. We both expressed the desire to leave a lasting legacy in our family and in work.  The question then turned to “How?” How do we accomplish this?  I recognized that in my own life, I can see success of one person and try to imitate what they are doing.  That is like seeing fruit on a tree and attempting to attach it to my own tree.  It may look fruitful for a short while, but eventually it dies.  Success, growth and fruitfulness does not just happen.  You cannot simply cut and paste.  This brings us to an underlying principle of how to be successful or fruitful in our lives:

Focus on the ROOTS, not the FRUITS.

Think about marriage.  You can’t have a good marriage without practicing simple basic habits: carving out uninterrupted time to be together, listening, loving unconditionally and unselfishly, leading in love, working toward intimacy, etc.  Creating the marriage we desire, and the marriage our spouse desires does not happen overnight.  It takes time focusing on “root” activities.  Then, in time, you enjoy the fruit of your hard work.

The same is true in business or ministry.  You don’t build a successful business or ministry overnight.  You must focus on the roots: developing healthy relationships with clients and partners, listening, taking time alone to reflect on your vision, direction and strategic plan, disciplined execution, determination and perseverance, etc.  Then in time, you enjoy the success of your labor. You must be clear on a few basics and stick to them.

Reflect on what the Bible says about roots and fruits:  Luke 6:43-45; Galatians 5:16-26; John 15:1-11; Psalm 1.

What fruits do you wish to see in your life?   In your marriage?  In your business? 

What are the roots you need to focus on today?

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10 thoughts on “Focus on Roots not the Fruits

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  1. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s
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  3. Steve – catching up on some blog reading now that I have some vacation time! I enjoyed this notion and wholeheartedly agree. However, I find it to be an immense struggle to consistently reflect on those root elements of organizational efforts – both personally and corporately. It’s easier to do it personally, but it’s much tougher to carve out space to focus on the roots together with other key people. I’m coming off a few month stretch as an interim Executive Director and I found this really challenging with all the demands and the fires needing to be put out.

    Any thoughts on how to develop the discipline and structure of staying focused on the roots personally and corporately?

    1. Brian. You are in good company. I often struggle in this area as well. Perhaps that is why I write about it, to remind myself of what matters and bring hope to the fact that I am not permanently stuck with the way I am. You ask how to develop staying focused on roots when this is actually what you are doing by taking time to read and reflect over vacation. I often am hard on myself that I can’t attain more balance, but rhythms are a better way for me to think about life. What has helped you stay focused on the roots in the past? What personal and corporate roots have you identified that you want to develop and focus on? One thing that helps me is what Henry Cloud said-to have hope for real change, you have to add new energy other than just try a little harder. New energy can come from a new structure. If you find it hard to have internal structure as I do, set up an external structure-that could be a new relationship, habit or rhythm. For me, it always includes making my goals SMART. It helps me to get coaching to set realistic goals and have realistic deadlines. So those are some things I have learned over time. Again, what has worked for you in the past? Corporate is another conversation.

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