In this episode, John Laurito shares the life lessons from the Chinese bamboo tree story. In a nutshell, for anyone who doesn’t know, a Chinese bamboo doesn’t grow until after five years. From then on, it grows to about 90 feet tall in just a few weeks. It’s much like life or business, wherein success doesn’t come overnight. The problem with some entrepreneurs is that they have a false perception that others generate great results overnight. What others don’t see is the effort that goes into, time spent in, and the patience that comes with building the business. Tune in to know how this lesson ties into being a leader in an organization.
[1:56] John has a request from his listeners and has a special surprise
[2:40] Let’s talk about patience
[4:47] The Chinese bamboo tree
[9:53] When businesses fail
[13:59] Leaders lack patience for the wrong reasons
[16:22] A story from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related to leaving yourself and leading others.
John I am John Laurito, your host, and it is great to be with you today. For those of you who may be listening closely, you’re going to hear the nice, soothing, nice, smooth melodic sounds of landscaping equipment right outside my window, literally right outside my window. But I cannot turn off the Laurito brain, and when stuff comes into my mind, I have to get it out. I have to share it. I have to tell the stories, whatever it is. And that’s what I’m doing. So hopefully you don’t hear it as loud as I do, but it is pretty loud. All right. Let me first start with a very special request that I am going to make to each and every one of you as my faithful tomorrow.
John Our leaders, tomorrow’s leaders, fans. I greatly appreciate your loyalty and your steady listening and consistent feedback. One of the things you can do to show me how much you like this is to give some feedback through ratings. And let me tell you why that’s important. Because the more ratings, the more five-star reviews that I have on the podcast. It changes the analytics or whatever it is. There is a word for it and it gets in front of more people. And I would love nothing more than to share this message and share this podcast with as many people around the world. Right now, we’re in 66 different countries, which is awesome, but I really need your help.
John I get a lot of feedback from you saying how much you enjoy it. But let me know by going down on your podcast platform. It’s right there. Just read it. Review it. Give it five stars, four stars, whatever you want to give it. And write some comments, because that really means a lot. And just to show you my appreciation, OK, right now is, and this episode will probably air in the next few days. It is October 5th. I will say that the next five people or the first five people after this episode that review it, I will send you a personally autographed copy of my book Tomorrow’s Leader How the Best Leaders Get Better in a Fast-Changing World. That’s my promise to you. The next five as of today. Reviews that I get, I will personally send you an autographed copy, so that’s my little thank you to you. I greatly appreciate your help in doing that and getting this podcast out there.
John So, all right, let me share a concept. This is one of those things. Sometimes I forget to talk enough about the importance of today’s topic as a leader and having built businesses and run existing businesses. Let all kinds of challenging situations. One of the most important things I’ve had to remind myself of is patience and the importance of having patience. I sometimes think people wear it on a badge as a badge of honor that they don’t have patience. And believe me, there’s a lot of things that don’t have patience for. One is traffic. I just I’m not a very patient driver. I know what I mean. Anybody who’s been in a car with me knows that, and I just that’s where I lose it. But I try to be as patient as I can be in the right circumstances and overall with creating massive success.
John Sometimes it takes time, and I know we hear these stories about these companies that just have this explosive growth. And it’s this really cool story or it’s a great movie, whatever. It’s a great book. And yes, it is. It’s one of those things we’d love to be a part of. But the reality is most of that explosive growth comes as a result of stuff you do not see. So in other words, you see the aftermath, you see the result of somebody’s really hard work, and nothing’s happened for a long period of time. So we kind of sometimes fall into this false perception that people magically generate, and these great people magically generate these results very quickly with something or their career or leadership or business, whatever it is.
John And we almost write it off as well that just that person has this gift or they’re smarter than I am, or they’re better or more talented or they’re a better speaker. They’re better sales skills, whatever. In reality, you have to remind yourself of the fact that there’s so much that goes into creating that success that you never see, and in some cases, it could be years of stuff you never see. There’s a great example if you’ve ever heard or read about the Chinese bamboo tree, which basically is a fascinating example of this where a Chinese bamboo farmer basically who plants this tree has to be, in my mind, one of the most patient individuals on this planet. Because the way they have to do it is they have to nurture the soil after they’ve planted it, they have to water, nurture it every single day, and nothing happens.
John There are no visible signs of growth. Nothing pops out underneath over the dirt out of the dirt for five years, not five months, five years of watering it and nurturing it every day. And then after five years, magic happens. The bamboo tree comes out and it grows incredibly fast. In an incredibly short period of time, it grows 90 feet in six weeks. Think about that about nine feet, 90 feet in six weeks, they said. It grows so fast you can almost see it grow. You can almost watch it grow. That’s how fast it grows. So the real question is, wow, how does somebody, first of all, have the patience for that? And is the growth really happening just in those six weeks or does it happen in that five years before?
John I mean, my belief in the answer is the fact that five years before there’s a lot happening, you just don’t see it. It’s preparing. It’s developing that extensive root system that’s needed that you don’t see it’s underground. That’s going to support the growth, this unbelievable growth upward and so high, so fast. There’s no way that could happen unless all that magic happened below the soil laying the roots. So think about this as a leader. Just think about from the perspective of the Chinese bamboo tree farmer he has got, or she has got to endure not just the lack of rewards, so they’ve not seen anything happen for five years now. Five years is a long time. Think back to what you were doing five years ago.
John Literally, it’s 2021. Think back to 2016. OK, you planted these seeds in November of 2016. It’s now October of 2021. You still have not seen anything come out of the ground. For four, almost four and a half, almost five years, you have seen nothing. How many times would you be tempted to give up? Honestly, now, maybe after year one, you know, your friends are like, you know, Hey, John, what are you? What are you doing here? Well, no, no, no, it’s OK. It’s this is a whole process and stuff happening underground. And you know, yes, you know, blah blah blah. All right. Whatever, you’re two, they come back and like, you know, dude, what are you doing? Seriously, you bought this big, expansive plot of land, and it’s just dirt. I’m like, No, no, no, no, no.
John Seriously, you know, you just give it time. It’s going to take a little bit of time for all this work. And they’re like, what? Third-year comes by and they’re like, You are just nuts. You’re dumb. What are you doing? That’s stupid. Why are you dedicating your life? You’re wasting money. You’re wasting time. Go find another hobby. Go find another job. You are just nuts. I’m like, No, no, no, no. Trust me, it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. I mean, think about this. Their family coming to them. Dad, what are you doing? I mean, this is my college fund. This is what do you do? I don’t get it. Why not? Why are you not doing something that’s easier? This obviously isn’t working. You’re not a good farmer. You’re not doing it the right way. It’s obvious, when are you going to realize you suck at us as a farmer? I don’t get it. There’s nothing coming out. I’ve got to endure this.
John Think about this. This farmer has got to keep going. And it’s not till the fifth year that something pops out of the ground and he or she can be like, See, this is, yeah, this is what I’ve been working so hard for, and that’s how success comes about. Again, you’ve got to endure all that negative talk from all the people around you that mean very well. But ninety-nine point five percent of people out there are not willing to endure the pain of not seeing short-term results. That’s why most people don’t stay working out of the gym or stay on a diet. Most people just and try it, they go for a month and they stop because they don’t see immediate gratification of the results that fast. You have to be patient. And when the results come, that’s oftentimes what happens. It’s explosive.
John You hit a point and all of a sudden it’s like, Wow, if you’re on that physical voyage and that journey and dieting or exercise, you have those people. All of a sudden they were like, Wow, you look great. That’s the rewards you need. You might not have. You might have lost 20 pounds. Nobody says anything to you. They don’t notice you feel better. Or maybe you’re just dieting anything. You’re not even losing any weight. Even more frustrating, but it will happen. Think about that Chinese bamboo tree farmer if he or she threw in the towel at four and a half years. So you know, you’re right, I got to sell this place. This is ridiculous. I know I spent $3 million buying this plot of land. Let me sell it. See if I can get 300000 for it. I mean, legit. This is how people operate. And that person buys it for three hundred thousand and five months later, they’ve got a bamboo tree forest sprouting up, and now it’s worth, you know, 10, 15, 20 million.
John That’s how business failures happen because they give up too soon. And that’s the bottom line what it is. I love the story of Colonel Sanders. For those of you who haven’t heard the story of Colonel Sanders. This is not only about patience, this is just downright perseverance. You know, Colonel Sanders was 65 when he started on his journey to try to develop chicken. He had this great chicken recipe that was passed down, I believe, and he tinkered with it and had this recipe would create the spices in little bags, and he would basically go to restaurants and he would give them a taste. He would make the chicken for them, and he would give he would get the manager together and all the waitstaff and everything. You make the chicken recipe. They tasted and they were like, Whoa, this is incredible. We’ve all had Kentucky Fried Chicken, you know? And he’d say, Okay, you like it?
John Here’s what I do. I’m going, I’m going to make a deal with you. I’ll give you all the spices and teach you how to make it. But I want to share a percentage of the increased profits that you get as a result of having this chicken on your menu. And the restaurant, I was like, No, I don’t want to do that. OK. Packed it up, went down the street. Then the next restaurant made a batch of chicken and got them all together, had them taste it. They said, Wow, this is incredible. He said, OK, well, here’s the deal I want to. I’ll give you the spices. I’ll teach you how to make it. I get a share of the increased profits as a result of you having it on the menu. No, we don’t want to do that. He kept going. Now, this was back in the day. No cell phones, no GPS, no cars that tell you where to go. No, nothing.
John You’re scouting out these restaurants. I don’t know. Maybe you cover 10 a day if you’re lucky. I don’t know. I have no idea. I think that would be a lot. Gone. You’re making the chicken and having them tried. I mean, there’s a lot of time devoted to this. And he was 65. All he had was like a Social Security check and no money, but he had this great chicken recipe in this dream. And so he finally got the first person to say, yes, you know how many took? And you can google this a thousand and six. It was over a thousand people before he got his first. Yes. Now think about that now. I’m a persistent guy, but I don’t think I would have made it to that. I think after, you know, 15 20 no’s, I’d be really disappointed. After maybe 100, I’d be thinking, OK, maybe, maybe the chicken is not that good.
John But think about even that, you know, he’s gonna postpone calling his family and his grandkids or, you know, like, you know, grandma, please come home. What are you doing? I mean, the chicken’s not that good. What do you just come back and just let’s play Scrabble and do what we do, and we’re retired. I mean, I don’t get it. Think about that. He had to endure that now had he stopped it a thousand and five. Nobody would know who Colonel Sanders is. Nobody would know. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Kentucky Fried Chicken spurred all the others Chick-Fil-A and Popeyes and all the others that have come up that are, you know, trying to imitate the chicken sandwich. So you got like all this or chicken, rather, you’ve got all this success that came after explosive success, success after years of nothing. Nothing. Thank God, he had the persistence to keep going and think about all the other businesses that are like, there are so many stores they could do a podcast on a zillion of those types of stories.
John But my message today is around patience. And the last thing I’ll leave you with is leaders. Sometimes we have lack patience in people for the wrong reasons. We tend to be too quick to write somebody off. We tend to make a long-term decision based on short-term stuff, and it could go both ways, meaning that I’ve seen a little bit of somebody that I liked, and now I have the halo effect. I assume they’re great at everything. They did this role really well for a few months. They’re going to be for the next several years. Be excellent at it doesn’t necessarily mean the case the same way you might have a great leader or a great person who’s having a bad few months. I know many companies who have a tolerance of about one quarter.
John If that leader or person is not producing a certain type of result after one quarter, they’re in the hot seat, big time, two quarters, they’re polishing up their resume. That’s how vicious it is, and that’s a mistake. In reality, granted, a company’s got to be profitable and generating revenues and meeting quarterly earnings estimates or exceeding them. But at the same point, you got people that and I’ve seen them, many, many people that are great leaders, great people that just have yet to hit their stride. Or their great leader that actually has had great success. But they’re hitting a period of time and sometimes it could be outside stuff.
John Maybe they’re going through something really tough personally that just you’re not seeing their best for a short period of time. So my message to you, when you have somebody now you’ve got to assess, is this somebody that has the talent to be here long term and to do this role? Are they committed? Are they coachable, committed to success at a coachable? Do they have the right character? Are they people that you really want to build the organization around? Do they have the right attitude? If they do and they’re committed and they’re coachable and they’re trying and they’re putting in the effort, and there’s somebody who embraces the values you have as an organization, keep investing in them. They will turn, they will turn around. That’s the type of person that you want long-term in your organization.
John So again, my message today is around patience and this applies. I could go on and on about this topic, but it is so important. I’ve had so many times in my career life where I almost gave up on something. I was so close and I kept going, and all of a sudden things turned around. One last story I’ll share with you. This was from thinking Grow rich Napoleon Hill. Great book. And there was a story in there about somebody who was mining for gold, and he spent a ton of money. Way back in the day on this huge plot of land, all this equipment, mining equipment and was mining, mining money, money, money, losing money, losing money, losing money finally exasperated, just decided to sell it for pennies on the dollar, and the new person came in and hit the button to start the mining equipment and six inches away hit gold and a massive amount of gold and became wealthy beyond anybody’s imagination. Six inches short is where that other person stopped.
John So the question is, are you six inches short of the wildest success you’ve ever had? Are you one day away from that incredible opportunity where that incredible person coming into your life or that incredible journey that you’re about to take the next chapter of your life? Are you one step away? You’ve got to just keep going. That’s the key. That’s the key. So many of them hope that helps. Patience, patience, patience. And I love that bamboo story. So if you got other stories, share them with it. Because as you know, I’m a story guy. I’m a storyteller. I’m a story consumer, I’m a story connoisseur. There should be a song about that. A story connoisseur. Or I’m a storyteller. Mystery seller. Mr. Okay, whatever.
John Anyways, as always, please like subscribe, share. Give me some feedback. Go down below. Give that five-star review and let me know what you like as far as future topics and guests. I’m here for you as always. Thanks for joining today. Take care.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me, your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com Thanks, lead on!