Winter is for the Roots

I surprised my wife and her friend Tracy with tickets to the AFC championship in Kansas City. We left on Saturday and got to Kansas City and stayed the night in a hotel. We got up the next day and made our way to the football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. We were dressed extremely warm because it was freezing cold outside. The temperature was 19° but felt like 7 with the windchill. To us, it felt more like -7! It was a great game, one of the greatest ever played. It went into overtime, and the Patriots ended up winning with Tom Brady driving the Patriots down for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

We returned to the hotel for the night, and the next morning we got up early for the long 9 hour drive back to our home in Texas. We were looking forward to getting back to the warm weather! As we were driving out of Kansas City, Pam commented, “It’s very beautiful here. I wonder what it looks like in the spring. I noticed I don’t like it as much when all the trees are empty. It kind of feels eerie, or almost like it’s dead.”

About an hour later, as we were driving, Pam said, “You know what I realized? I said I didn’t like the look of winter because all the trees look like they’re dead. But as I thought about it and tried to change my idea of what’s beautiful, I realized the trees are showing their outward beauty because the leaves are missing. But underneath the ground they’re working very hard during the winter time to build the root system and the inside of the tree so that it will be healthy and strong when spring comes. That will allow, when the warm weather comes, for the tree to fully blossom and grow to reach its full potential. As it turns out, without the winter there could be no spring. The winter is the time for the trees to work on what really matters. It may not be pretty to the outside world, but it’s the most important thing they actually do.”

Now, I already knew my wife is very, very smart, but this insight was actually genius. I thought about it and talked to her about how this applies to every area of our life. In our business, there are seasons and winter is the time when, to the outside world, it may not appear like we’re growing, blossoming, or flourishing. Maybe we don’t open any new locations, maybe we don’t add employees, maybe we don’t appear as if we’re growing and striving. But underneath, in the roots and on the inside, that’s where the work is being done. This when we get our operations tight. This is when we get our financials correct. This is also the time we get compliance right, and we get all the underlying operations, systems, processes, and people doing the right things in the right way so we’re all rolling together. And like the tree in the winter, it may not appear to the world as if we’re growing, and it may not be pretty, but the most important things are happening. Underneath the ground, at the root system, we’re becoming stronger so when spring comes we can blossom and flourish.  

Isn’t this also true in our own lives? If you’re a bodybuilder, the wintertime is the time to put on your sweat jacket and go to the gym and build and grow. It’s not the time you look tan, and lean, and have a six-pack, but it is the time that’s the most important. You’re putting on mass and muscles so when it’s time you can lean out and look good.  

Winter can also be the time for the most personal growth. It’s when things are not going right when it feels like you’re down in the valley, when it feels like you just can’t succeed or see the way to success. This is when it’s your winter. This is the time to work on your roots, to get yourself right, to make yourself stronger, to improve your mental and spiritual fortitude, and to improve yourself physically. It may not look like it to the world that you’re growing. It may not look like it to the world that you’re flourishing. but you know you’re hunkered down. You’re learning. You’re internalizing. You’re creating the new you, so when the spring comes you’ll be ready to grow, to branch out, to blossom, and to reach your full potential.

You have it inside you. I know you do. Keep living every minute and let me know how you create your own potential! 

Living Every Minute,
Dr. Tim, M.D.

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