What Avocados Teach Us About Leadership

Some time ago, I spent some time with a long-time mentor. I was describing some leadership issues and asked for his advice. He cited a Latino farming proverb. I won’t try to say it in Spanish, I’ll just offer it’s meaning: “the avocados sort themselves out in the walking.” Or, something like that.

I don’t like avocados. In fact, I’ve never even tried them (gasp). I really don’t know how that happened growing up in Southern California, with its bountiful avocado groves. Because I don’t like avocados, unfortunately, I also know little about them.

My friend and mentor told me that avocados are extremely easy to bruise (I did know that part). So, farmers used to try to arrange them just the right way in the box after picking. However, they still experienced great difficulty keeping them from bruising.

Over time the farmers noticed that if avocados were simply set in the box, they would settle themselves in just the right formation as the farmer simply left them alone and walked on. It was his way of saying…there’s a time to plan and to act strategically. There’s also a time to just let things settle in as we walk on. Sometimes we bruise things up in our efforts fit things in rather than letting them fit. After thinking about his words, I’m pretty sure he’s right.

Who knows, maybe I’ll give avocados another shot. If nothing else, whenever I see one, I’ll look at remember that there’s a time to arrange things…and a time to walk on…and let things settle themselves in.

Note: This post was adapted from a previous post.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including: ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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