Big Inspiration in a Small Package


It caught me off guard.

The scent.

I’d run this trail plenty over the years, but never encountered such an exquisite fragrance.

It was probably my imagination or a sense mixup, the way coffee sometimes smells like other things.

But no, a few yards up the trail, and there it was again…except stronger.

“Where's that coming from?”

I stopped.

If I’d been blindfolded, I would have guessed the trail was lined with french lilacs at sweet, triumphant bloom.

But I was in the Tennessee mountains, and the closest lilac bush was in someone’s yard 30 miles away. Plus, it was March, and too early for almost anything to bloom. 

No blooms in sight. Not on bushes, trees, or flowers. No man-made sources.

What on earth??

Except - wait a minute - there’s that rare plant in the Smokies that’s one of the earliest to bloom.

Once I bent down and searched carefully among the leaves, there it was. Trailing Arbutus. 

It stood a mere two inches tall, with flowers the size of my pinky nail, and there were only a few isolated clumps of it.

Yet this small but mighty plant enthusiastically sweetened the entire trail - at least five feet away.

If you even noticed the Arbutus, you’d note how small and insignificant it looked compared to the larger, showier, more “important” plants, and decide it’s not worth much. 

It’s easy to look at your self the same way.

“I'm just a slow back-of-the-packer - why am I even here?”

And like it’s not true of the Arbutus, whose flowers out-scent plants that are 100’s, if not 1000's of times it’s own size, it’s not true of you either.

Comparison doesn’t measure your worth. 

Don’t underestimate yourself. You have more power than you’ll ever completely use. 

The danger isn’t that you’ll over-estimate your ability and fall short. It’s that you’ll underestimate yourself, to be realistic, and never see what you can do. Like the Arbutus deciding it should probably only bloom one blossom at a time instead of all of them at once…to be realistic.

So the next time you catch yourself thinking how small and insignificant you are compared to everyone else, and how maybe you don’t belong at the starting line, remember this tiny green powerhouse.

You might think you're small...but you’re mighty.

Susan Donnelly’s signature

P.S. - My popular Pick My Brain sessions are back! These single, one-hour, 1:1 sessions are super easy to schedule and won't break the bank. All in one place - answers, how-to advice, help making a decision, trouble-shooting a problem, confidence boost before a race or a sounding board - get quick, focused help where you need it!