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The Competitive Spirit and Shaking Off the Pandemic Hangover Blues By Ken Palmer
Most professional arborists and tree workers around the world managed to work through the COVID-19 years while much of the world was in so much tur- moil. Now, many of us find ourselves surrounded by what may seem like an ongoing pandemic hangover. Still, the tree care profession, and professional arborists like you, endeavor to persevere
What is it that separates those who have managed to carry on—and even thrive— versus those who are still struggling to find their way back to professional prac- tice? I believe it is character, adversity, perseverance and hard work. One of the toughest challenges we face now is getting able-bodied peo-
itive challenge when they feel safe, even if they fail at first. As instructors and trainers, we must challenge our students by showing and telling them why, what and how they can achieve tremendous skills and proficiencies if they are willing to lean into the challenge. As leaders and coaches, we can direct, facilitate, lead and mentor our students and em- ployees, however they must step up to the plate and lean into their own amazing potential. We should never underestimate the power of the competitive spirit that re- sides in each of us. Many years ago, I discovered the joy of sailboat racing and experienced what a team can do when we worked together to face the challenges and challengers, boat for boat and crew for crew, in tough, yet friendly competition. Those experiences changed my life. Later, I learned what it was to stand up and lean into competition alone. But truly, I was never alone. Many people, family, friends, mentors, employers and colleagues were right there with me as I brought my utmost forward and leaned into the challenge and competi- tion at hand. We should never under- estimate the power of the competitive spirit that resides in each of us.
As instructors and trainers, we must challenge our students by showing and telling them why, what and how they can achieve tremendous skills and proficiencies if they are willing to lean into the challenge.
to the best of our abilities each day as we practice the art, science and profes- sion of modern arboriculture. Adversity can make us stronger, tougher and bet- ter when we really lean into whatever challenges may come with strength and with good courage.
ple to come back to the hard work that it takes to succeed professionally and in life. Even during tough times, and even when mediocrity seems to be pedaled on every street, the spirit of competition is alive and people respond to a compet-
32 | ArborTIMES Fall 2022
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