Guest Column: Within Decay, Rebirth

“Within decay, there is rebirth.”

by Dan Weedin

This was a quote by a speaker whom I recently had the pleasure of hearing. He is the executive director of a beautiful public garden and forest reserve near my city, and he was describing a picture of a fallen tree in the reserve. I don’t recall the attribution of the quote, yet because the speaker used it so adroitly, it caught my attention.


Your business and career is constantly in a state of decay. When you’re young you begin on some professional adventure. Over time, you may change course and move to a different company or profession; start your own business; or maybe even sell a business and move into a new challenge or retirement. When I consider the 28 years since my college graduation, I’ve worked for an insurance company; transitioned to work for an insurance agency for the first time; started a new business with my wife; closed that business (after too much decay) and joined a new insurance agency; stayed there 10 years through one merger; and then opened my own consulting practice. My practice today looks completely different than it did in 2005. In each case, decay crept in and was replaced by rebirth.


Decay can have two different realities. On one hand, it’s the vehicle that leads to death. On the other, it’s a sign that something is now outdated and needs rebirth. In one of my examples, I realized that sticking solely to insurance consulting would eventually lead to decreasing opportunities for growth. Why? Because the majority of my clients were single projects and once I had successfully helped them they no longer needed my help (at least in the short term). The rebirth came with the inclusion of a broader scope of risk management and strategic crisis planning to add sustainability and new opportunities. As the years went by, I found “rebirth” opportunities in coaching and mentoring that came out of the decay of other areas of emphasis that no longer excited me or had as much value. I bet that 75% of what I do today in business was not being 10 years ago. It was born out of dropping other things that had passed through their own life cycle.


Always look to grow in your business, and I don’t necessarily mean revenue. Revenue is a result of your value. If you continue to seek new ways to manifest your value to others – your products, services, programs, and intellectual property (writing and speaking) – then increased revenue will organically come as you promote and market that tremendous value. You accomplish this by doing 3 things:


  1. Stay in the moment. Be open to change and don’t be inflexible to new ideas and opportunities.
  2. Listen to others. Many of my best “rebirths” have come from suggestions and requests from valued clients and colleagues.
  3. Focus on having fun. That’s right, fun. We became entrepreneurs and business owners because we wanted to have fun in our lives. If you didn’t, it might be time to take a hard look at you are doing! Your enjoyment and passion for what you do will directly affect your value and how others view your business. You might as well have fun.


Accept the fact that decay is a given in business. However, if played correctly by you, it will result in multiple rebirths that take you and your business or company to new heights. It works in forests because decaying trees become sanctuaries for new life. It works in business in exactly the same way as long as you are paying attention and being bold.


Now…go out and get a new life!


Dan Weedin is a Seattle-based strategist and leadership expert who helps business leaders to become more influential and resilient. He is a Master Mentor and has been inducted into the Million Dollar Consulting™ Hall of Fame. You can learn more about Dan at or follow him on Twitter, @danweedin.


© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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