High in the Himalayan Mountains, there grows a very unusual flower—the Giant Himalayan Lily (cardiocrinum giganteum). It is the largest of all lilies and, appropriately, known as the “King of the Lilies.”

For most of its life, the Giant Himalayan Lily is nothing more than a short clump of green leaves. There isn’t anything special about the plant until the day it blooms and mysteriously sprouts to twelve feet in height and enormous white and purple trumpet-shaped flowers unexpectedly appear.

It takes seven years for the Giant Himalayan Lily to bloom. But those who have witnessed the bloom say the sight and fragrance are well worth the wait.

A friend of mine recently shared a Facebook message with me that he had received from a former high school acquaintance. My friend had not spoken to this person in several decades and was surprised to hear from him.

In the message, the writer described an encounter he had with my friend while they were both working on their high school newspaper. My friend was the editor of the paper and this person, who was younger than my friend, would become his eventual successor.

The person recounted his admiration for my friend and seemed genuinely appreciative of the kindness shown to him all those years ago. Until receiving that Facebook message, my friend had no comprehension of the positive way he had impacted that person’s life.

Although my friend was touched by the message, he acknowledged that he barely remembered the encounter.

His story illustrates how we often fail to realize the impact we have on the lives of others. Small gestures of kindness, a few words of encouragement, or even a smile can make a big difference to someone in need.

His story also illustrates a situation that can be incredibly difficult for good teammates to handle: deferred impact.

Sometimes the hardest part of being a good teammate is accepting the delay in seeing our good teammate moves come to fruition.

We want immediate results, and when we don’t get them, we wonder if our efforts are worth the inconvenience. We wonder if we are making a difference, or if we are just spinning our wheels. The lack of immediacy can be discouraging.

If you happen to find yourself in this situation, be patient. It can take time for good teammate moves to bloom. But, just like the Giant Himalayan Lily, when they do come to fruition, the experience will be spectacular, and the deferment will be well worth the wait.

An interesting final thought…

The Giant Himalayan Lily dies after flowering but leaves behind several smaller bulbs that will lay dormant for years until the day they sprout up and bloom. The fascinating life cycle of this plant is the perfect analogy for how a good teammate’s actions affect future generations.

Who from your past had an impact on your life? Perhaps its time to reach out to that person and let him or her know how you’ve sprouted and how appreciative you are for the difference they made in your life.

No one makes it through life without their team. Don’t let the deferment of expressing your gratitude go too long.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is a leading authority on the good teammate mindset. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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