Will Lukang, PMP, MBA, MASCL

A reading from Luke Chapter 13: There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, “For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down.”  He said to him in reply, “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.”  

Many times in my life I have thought of throwing in the towel, because of my situation or the circumstances that I was in.   However, I decided to give it one more try and work harder to prove that I could get it done and managed to turn things around.  In a way, what drove me to succeed was to prove to the people who didn’t believe in me that I had what it takes to get it done.  Growing up as a middle child is rather tough.   You’re faced with challenges that at times seem insurmountable.  What kept me going was my belief that things get better in the end.   It is the very reason I believe in giving people another chance.  

These days in the corporate world, for some managers you are as good as your last delivery.   Sometimes a person’s year-end review can be marred by a single failed implementation that could be out of his/her control.  It was supposed to be a great year, but then a failed implementation in September can do it for you.  As a result, you could be labeled unreliable and not given an opportunity to work on the next important project.  Like the Fig tree, a person might not have an excellent year, but it does not mean the person did not do a good job.  A good leader often can see potential when others might have already given up.   The leader would provide another chance that could, in effect, motivate and rejuvenate the person’s desire to do his/her best and deliver an exceptional performance.

I believe people who act with integrity are entitled to have an off year with their performance.  We have to understand that everyone walks around with personal baggage; it could be a family sickness, financial challenge, etc. Therefore, we need to create an environment that supports people and enables them to keep going in spite of the challenges at hand. Hence, giving people another chance is the right thing to do. 

During my junior year in high school, my teacher believed in me.  She saw the potential that no one else saw in me.   She told me that no one can tell me what I can or cannot do because I know myself better than anyone else.  She gave me the chance, and I seized the moment.   I came a long way and achieved things that I otherwise could not have accomplished.   I had a good career while completing two graduate degrees and graduating with honors.   My father taught me to be humble.  My teacher taught me that everyone, no matter who you are, deserves a chance.   Off course, I could not have done it without my loving and supporting wife and my two lovely girls that sacrificed a lot during those challenging years of graduate school and full-time work.

Just like the Fig tree, next year might be the year that it blooms and bears fruits.  You could have opened a door for someone to have an excellent performance.   It would be satisfying to know that you helped pave the way for someone to have a successful tomorrow.   When the chips are down and things seem insurmountable, think of the Fig tree and keep on going.  You’ll never know what awaits you at the end of the tunnel.

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