Finding the Why in Arboriculture

Why?” Such a simple question, but if you spend any time around a child, you will soon discover it may be one of the most complex and difficult questions to understand, and the complete answer to “Why?” is always changing, developing and fleeting.

Children ask why to everything. When you deliver an answer, they pause, reflect and ask why again. In their innocence, they exhibit a powerful tool that can be transferred into both the business world and life.

As professionals, we know what we do. For most of us, we deliver professional tree care services. Put very simply, we trim trees, remove trees, grind stumps and provide PHC and IPM and a slew of other services. The answer to how we all do that is vast, and from the smallest operations to the most complex and technological organizations, we are as different as we are similar. Now pay attention; this is where it gets interesting and powerful. Why do we do it?

For many of us, it started out that we loved working outside, the physicality of the work, the challenge and stimulation of a new job site and property every day. As your career and journey developed, hopefully so did your why.

I know for me, personally, I saw an opportunity to grow and develop a business, then I focused on how I could use the company to develop financial stability for myself and my family. As those goals materialized, I realized I could positively impact the lives of my employees and their families, and let God’s blessing flow through the organization into their lives, also.

As my search to develop “why” grew and spread, it was clear we have a profound impact on our community. We, as professional tree workers, are often on the front line during and after storms, helping clear roads, helping restore power to those in the dark and calming those in a panic when there is a tree through their roof and in their living room. We do so with great skill, passion and professionalism.

Unfortunately, developing “why” is not always a happy process.

Recently, a friend’s family was struck with unimaginable tragedy when a large, 30-inch dbh cherry tree failed and instantly killed their two young children, a brother and his younger sister, ages 9 and 8. As you can imagine, “Why” was asked by many people, and for the parents, that question will be asked forever. I know to trust God in all things and times, but it is almost impossible in a situation like this. I prayed for the children and for the parents and the family. Somewhere in that process, as with young children, I continued to ask, “Why?”

Xander Clark carries his sister, Ziva. A special thank you to Brian and Crystal Clark for sharing this photo and allowing us to share their painful loss.

And then I gained the wisdom to add to the understanding of “why” in my own career and organization. I texted a friend and performance coach, Dr. Amber Selking, and shared the story, then I said, “I am an expert in tree-risk assessment, and from now on, when I advise a customer, I will do so with the understanding that I may be saving lives in the process. I will look as closely as ever, study, learn and grow to honor the lives lost in this terrible accident. In doing so, I will aim to protect the safety and lives of all those who come across the trees I assess.” A sense of clarity came over me, and I realized that developing your “why” is an ultra-powerful way to have purpose and create energy.

So develop your “why.” Feel free to borrow some of mine. Talk to your friends and mentors and add to your list.

Remember that at the end of the day, it’s not what we do that is important, it is why we do it, so go out and serve and create awesome lives, communities and companies in the process. Always remember, one of the reasons you are there is to improve safety and save lives in the process.

This article is in honor of little Xander and Ziva – may you rest in peace.

Joseph B. Pipitone is owner of Top Notch Tree Care, an eight-year TCIA member company based in Kingsley, Pennsylvania.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful message to our TCIA membership and followers. May we all learn a valuable lesson through your words.

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