Oddly, I am a Pear Tree
I love metaphors but sometimes I lose my audience using them. Metaphors are the wonderful bridge between what is already known and what is needed to know.
I once bought a tree. This tree taught me the key lesson in successful coaching. When you buy a tree you have almost a decade to discover something very interesting: what kind of tree did I actually buy?
My neighbors, Vance and Annelose, asked nicely if we would allow them to cut down our tree. We owned this massive tree in our backyard, but it blocked their view of the Wasatch Mountains. They paid for the work, and we agreed to the project. Soon the cutters came and they felled a jolly giant of a tree.
We gained about a quarter of our backyard in the process, and I never realized how much crap I had to rake in from that damn tree. Still, there was now a hole in that corner, and it wasn’t long until I missed my tree. A few days later, as I was leaving one of those stores that has “mart” in the title, I saw an apple tree for $1.89.
Hey, for just under two bucks, I couldn’t go wrong! As the old saying goes, “The best time to plant a fruit tree is ten years ago. The second best time is today.”
So I planted a fruit tree. After the first year, the tree was still about the size of a pencil.. Years two through five, we had a bit larger pencil, but nothing much seemed to be happening. Finally, in year seven, the pencil brought forth fruit.
We had a tree full of pears.
It was a pear tree.
It took seven years to discover that mismarked sign.
Wouldn’t it have been great to know right from the get-go what kind of tree you would be? Imagine if, on the day of my birth, Mr. and Mrs. John had been told: “Little Danny will be among the youngest in his class. Being the youngest of six, he will always be chasing others. He will hit puberty late, so most American team sports, which seem to choose ‘elite’ at age twelve or so, will not be possible. Olympic sports involving dedication and single-minded vision will be ideal. Do not waste money on Little League sports—save it for later. He will be just over six feet tall and will run a 4.7 forty-yard dash.”
Folks, I was a pear tree. Perhaps I grew up in an acre of apple trees, but I was a pear tree.
Maybe one day, people will know these kinds of things at birth. But I don’t think it will matter much. I believe willpower is, and will always be, the most powerful force in the universe. We all grew up with people faster, taller and prettier than us who ended up finding great failure in life.
What is the takeaway message here? It took years to find out I had a pear tree. If you are serious into fitness, serious into a sport or just want to look better, give yourself the time to really bloom.
In the gym, we talk about time under the bar or time under tension. I want you to think years under the bar, years on the track and years developing your craft.