The depth of your foundation, determines the height of your success.

foundation of pleasant thoughtsNature has a way of teaching us many lessons if we are careful to observe.  George Washington Carver said, “Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books.”  Walking in the woods you can see many sizes of trees.  The various sizes are due in part to the type of tree, but also to the availability of soil and nutrients for the tree’s roots to spread and form a stable foundation.  Trees will not outgrow their capacity to withstand external stress through the strong foundation of their roots.

The lesson learned from the strength of the foundation of trees has many applications.  It has led to success in varied industries, with numerous leaders, across time.

Construction success The most basic example of applying the lesson learned from the foundation of trees is in the construction of buildings.  A building’s foundation must support the weight of the structure above it. There are a multitude of building codes in place across the country that take into account the soil composition and the future stresses that can be expected.  Buildings rely on their foundation during times if physical stress like high winds, rain, and the wear and tear from years of occupation.

“The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.” – Thomas Kempis.

Life success The human life is filled with times of stress – physical, emotional, and spiritual.  Like the trees, we need a strong foundation that will not waiver to support us during stressful times.  When your body falters how will you recover?  When you are sad or angry who can you talk to? When you doubt what will you believe in?  We all will need support and some point in our lives.

 “The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”  -Zig Ziglar

Daily success A successful life is the the culmination of daily success; and each daily success comes from the foundation of successful habits.  One of the best habits to develop is filling your mind with positive thoughts.  Like trees or buildings, the foundation of each day is the beginning, it is what holds the rest of the day together.  Start your day with these successful habits:  wake up early, give thanks for the success of yesterday and for the new day today, write down five things you will accomplish today and envision the end of the day when they are done.

“Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts.” – Og Mandino

Reputational success Your reputation is a riddle; It is guaranteed to always arrive before you do, and stay after you leave.  Knowing this fact can help set you apart from the crowd.  Your reputation will serve as your introduction, it will set expectations for those you meet.  Your reputation will remind others of your demonstrated abilities.  In many ways, your reputation is your spokeperson, and you want your spokesperson to have wonderful things to say about you.  Therefore, you must carefully build the foundation of your reputation through your actions.

“Character is the firm foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect…No lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character.” – R.C. Samsel

Economic success Information, knowledge, wisdom – while they all have a slightly different meaning, the overarching theme is it’s good to learn and good to understand different options when you make choices – especially economic choices.  Abraham Maslow said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you are likely to perceive every problem as a nail.” What he meant by that oft-used phrase is that an individual is limited by their knowledge and experience in their ability to offer solutions to problems.

“To succeed, you will soon learn, as I did, the importance of a solid foundation of education – literacy, both verbal and numerical, and communication skills.” – Alan Greenspan

Have you built a deep foundation in your life; both personal and business?  Your success in each will be determined by your investment in their foundation.