A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose
a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his
directors or his children, he decided to do something different.
He called all the young executives in his company together.
"It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO," he said. "I
have decided to choose one of you."
The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going
to give each one of you a seed today - a very special seed. I want you
to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with
what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge
the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received
He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get
a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.
Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After
about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about
their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept
checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.
Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now,
others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and
he felt like a failure.
Six months went by - still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had
killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had
nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just
kept watering and fertilizing the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company
brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that
he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest
about what happened.
Jim felt sick at his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing
moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.
He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed
at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were
beautiful--in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor
and many of his colleagues laughed. A few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young
Jim just tried to hide in the back.
"My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the
"Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his
empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.
Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he
will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his
Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and
then announced to the young executives, "Here is your next Chief
Executive! His name is Jim!"
Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. How could he
be the new CEO the others said?
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a
I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me
today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not
possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have 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. Jim was the only one with the courage and
honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one
who will be the new Chief Executive!"
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap
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