Once upon a time…
A hugely successful real estate magnate was well into his 80s, when he knew that it was time to choose a successor to take over the vast empire. Rather than choosing one of the Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives from each his various companies together.
“It’s almost time for me to step down and appoint the next CEO” he announced, “And I have decided to choose one of you!”
The young executives were shocked and surprised as he continued. “Today I am going to give each one of you a seed – a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and we will all meet back here in exactly one year from today. Bring with you what you have grown from the seed I am giving you. I will then judge the plants that you present and choose the next CEO.”
Ryan was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed from the eccentric old man. He raced home and excitedly told his wife the story. Together they bought a pot, soil and seaweed solution, and he eagerly planted the seed.
Ryan watered the pot everyday and watched to see if the seed had sprouted. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ryan kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks , five weeks went by, and still nothing. By now, the others were all talking about their plants. Ryan’s heart sunk. He didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by and there was still nothing in Ryan’s pot. He lay awake staring at the bedroom ceiling. ‘I must have overwatered it. I killed the seed! Or maybe I didn’t water it enough? Everyone else has beautiful lush plants and I have nothing.’
Ryan kept quiet. He didn’t say anything to his colleagues, he just kept watering and fertilising the soil. With all his heart he wanted that little seed to grow.
A year to the day, the office was a buzz of anticipation as the young executives brought their plants in for inspection.
Ryan felt sick to his stomach, ‘I am never going to live this down’, he thought. ‘This could be the most embarrassing moment of my career.’ He took his empty pot to the boardroom. Walking into the room, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were so lush beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Ryan put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed and pointed. A few felt sorry for him.
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young executives. Ryan put his head down and did his best to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown!” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!” Then he spotted Ryan at the back of the room with his empty pot. He grinned and called him up the front.
Ryan was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! This is it for me. it’s all over.” As Ryan shook his hand, the CEO asked him what happened to his seed. Ryan told him the story. The CEO then asked everyone to sit down except Ryan. He looked Ryan square in the face, and then announced to the room, “Behold! Your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Ryan!”
Ryan couldn’t believe it. Was this even happening? He couldn’t even grow his seed. The noise grew louder as the others protested.
Then the CEO calmed the room and explained, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. Here’s the thing: the seeds I gave you were boiled seeds – they were dead – it was impossible for them to grow! All of you, except Ryan, magically brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ryan was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is fit to be my successor. Ryan is the new CEO.”
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
― Albert Einstein
Moral of the Story:
Fundamental honesty is the keystone of business. Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it will always get you the right ones. It takes strength and courage to admit the truth. Living with integrity means speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure. Honesty doesn’t always pay, but dishonesty always costs. Honesty has a power that very few people can handle.
Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving. Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. Truth fears no questions and honesty saves everyone’s time. In the short run, lying is easy and honesty is hard. In the long run, honesty is easy and lying is hard. What you choose today paves the way for all your tomorrows.
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
― Criss Jami
Affirmation: My honesty attracts what I deserve.
I clearly intend to express myself. I communicate my truth, I am the truth. Creativity flows in and through me. I listen to my body and my feelings to understand what my truth is. I find it easy to communicate how I feel. I live my life with integrity and authenticity. I free myself by becoming more honest. I alone am accountable for expressing myself clearly. I practice honesty at every level of my life, not just with myself. My mind is filled with thoughts that bring love and truth to my life. Doors to truth and love are opening for me. I am energised by truth. Truthful expression is a healing and strengthening force. I communicate clearly and consciously from my deepest truth. I tell the truth with integrity and compassion.
“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”
― Noël Coward