5 Tips to survive & thrive

By Jim Fannin

The mighty oak tree is an age-old symbol of strength, endurance, and longevity. Do you reflect the qualities of this majestic plant? How do you fare when the going gets tough? Do you stand tall against injustice, insubordination, inequality, defiance, discrimination, unreasonableness, irrationality, insolence, and insubordination? Are you an oak? An oak is a tree of the beech genus with approximately 600 species. Many oaks are 500 years old with the Seven Sisters Oak in Louisiana estimated at 1500 years old. That’s endurance! This incredible timber can withstand violent storms, floods, and drought due to its dense trunk, fortified branches, and deep root system, albeit many are having difficulty surviving the record wildfires of 2021. Nonetheless, in November 2004 the United States officially proclaimed the oak our national tree, replicating a distinction already existing in other countries. Does this resilience represent how you react to hardship, moments of truth, disrespect, unexpected events, confrontation, or fierce competition? How’s your strength, endurance, and longevity? Here are five tips from the imposing oak you can use in your life, business, or sport.

1. Make a stand. When you are confronted with something disagreeable, use this power phrase, “This is NOT acceptable.” Say this phrase while looking people directly in the eyes. Say it slowly and practice silence following the word NOT, as in “This is NOT…acceptable!” Whoever speaks next, loses. Mean what you say and be firm like the mighty oak.

2. Stand tall. With positive principles, morals, and values solidifying a foundation of conviction, rely on these strong roots to foster consistent growth. Hold fast to your principles of equality, justice, fairness, integrity, and honesty. Keep these out in the open for all to bear witness. In the toughest of times, it is these principles that ground you and keep you on course for success, without compromise.

3. Weather the storms. Surprises happen. Expect the unexpected. The oak tree adapts and readjusts to swiftly changing conditions. When a “life hurricane” arrives, absorb the negativity, let it pass through you like a palm tree, but stand tall like the oak. Swiftly grow back broken branches. Repair what needs to be repaired without complaint, malice, or revenge.

4. Change with the seasons. Just like the imposing oak, know your seasons (if any). Every business and/or sport has cycles that can be historically predictable. Prepare for them. Stockpile cash for the off-season. Ramp up personnel in the heavy times such as retail businesses do before the holidays or the vacation business when school is out. MLB players prepare to play in cold weather in April. Champions change with the season.

5. Be a great leader. “Acorns don’t fall far from the tree.” An oak tree drops its acorns and in its image this seed doesn’t stray far from basic philosophies and lessons learned. Create new oak trees that stand by their beliefs, expectations, and convictions. Be a mentor, coach, and leader to the next generation. The mighty oak tree will probably outlive us all. It knows how to survive and thrive. At times, we need to be the oak tree and exude all its amazing qualities. Be in the Zone! © copyright.

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