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Simon Optimism Press

Commit A Letter from Simon Sinek

Why I Published "How To Make A Plant Love You"

The vision is clear: to build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired, feel safe at work, and return home fulfilled at the end of the day. I believe the best way to build the world I imagine is with leaders. Good leaders. Great leaders. And so, I’ve devoted my professional life to finding, building, and supporting the leaders who are committed to leading in a way that will more likely bring that vision to life.

Unfortunately, the practice of leadership is so misunderstood. It has nothing to do with rank. It has nothing to do with authority. Those things may come with a leadership position— and they may help a leader operate with greater efficiency and at greater scale— but those things alone do not define a leader.

Leadership is not about being in charge; it’s about taking care of those in our charge. It is a distinctly human endeavor. And part of what it takes to advance good leadership is to share the lessons, tools, and ideas that help each of us become the leaders we wish we had. How to Make a Plant Love You is one of those ideas.

I fell in love with this concept because, at its core, How to Make a Plant Love You is a metaphor for how we view, and often treat, people. It is a direct but gentle reminder to consider how much the environment around us matters. Think about how we usually treat the plants in our homes: we find one we like, we place it in a room where we want it to go, where we think it looks best, and then we expect it to thrive. That strategy, unfortunately, only increases the chances that the plant will struggle or die. We first have to understand the plant in order to create the conditions for it to thrive— the same is true for people.

Too often, we find someone whose experience fits a job we need done. We put them in that job, in a space, and expect them to thrive. Unfortunately, such a strategy also increases the likelihood that someone will struggle to do well, or fail to work to their natural best. But there is a solution.

For some, How to Make a Plant Love You is a book about how we care for and treat our plants. However, if we embrace the underlying philosophies, we will find valuable life lessons that will teach us how to better care for and treat people— starting with ourselves. Summer Rayne takes us on a journey to show us how the environment we set significantly impacts the life and lives around us. If we can learn to ask what a plant needs from us, and not what we need from a plant, we will also learn how to ask that same question of people. This shift in mindset is what servant leadership is all about. And if we can all learn to make that shift, it’s amazing how alive our spaces, our communities, and our lives can be.

Happy planting and inspire on!

- Simon Sinek