The Forest and the Trees

I am up in Minnesota for a week.  When we are up here, we tend to wind up doing some chores that require manual labor.  Gardening, transplanting trees, digging rocks, painting, trimming and cutting trees and burning them.

There is an old saying “you can’t see the forest because of the trees”.

Yesterday, I was cutting down a whole bunch of little balsam firs.  I put some photos on Instagram.  They grow like weeds up here.  They were blocking views from our cabin.  I was trimming up the cedars, spruce and pines.  When I was in the forest, I couldn’t see exactly what I was doing.  I knew I was cutting, but I didn’t know how high to go up, nor how many trees to saw down.

I had to take a break, step back and figure out strategically where to cut.  Even after I had started, I’d trim to where I thought I should then go take another look.  Refocus, then start cutting again.

The cutting can be fun.  It’s the hauling of the brush and the burning it that isn’t much fun.  Burning has a risk, since you don’t want to burn the whole forest down!

Sort of like a metaphor for a startup. When you are in the midst of the stress of building your company sometimes it helps to take a step back.  Things start to consume you that are not important, but seem important.  Taking a short breath and a step back can allow you to refocus.  Getting rid of employees can be fraught with risk depending on how you handle it.

Once you decide which path is right, you go in and go all out again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • awaldstein

    I look back at my time living in the semi wilderness of BC as a young hippy, working in the saw mills, making instruments and working the night shift on the green chain at the saw mill as nothing but goodness.

    Have to say that watching Captain Fantastic this weekend drove a lot of those memories back though my reality then and the reality of the movie were completely different, one real, aspiration.

    • Have not seen Capt Fantastic yet (love the Elton John album!) It’s nice and relaxing doing manual labor although my body is feeling it. A little rain today, so maybe the man upstairs is giving me a break. It took us 3 hours to burn all the brush yesterday. Would love to see an on demand chipper service.