Defining My Roots

When I was growing up my father ran a small T-shirt printing and embroidery business in Oroville California called The Shirt Tree.  Some of my earliest memories are of hiding in the racks of shirts, and climbing around on the counters while he and my mom worked.  I think about the Shirt Tree a lot these days as I am working my way through building Mastery of Skill, and the symbolism of the tree is something that keeps coming to the forefront of my thoughts.

Dad at the Shirt Tree

For me, The Skill Tree Symbolizes how our abilities and talents are interdependent.  The Core Skills support all the other skills and provide the same type of foundation and sustainment a tree receives from it’s roots and the soil around it.  Auxiliary Skills make up the trunk of the tree and while they are held up by the roots they support and produce the branches that are represented by the Adventure Skills.  Social Skills, like the leaves of a tree, allow us to breath in and out and give us the ability to absorb light from others and turn it into the energy we need to keep growing.  The fruit of the tree is symbolic of our craftsmanship skills, the source of value we bring to world through our labour and effort.

For some of us the tree is very young, maybe even a seed.  For others, they may be tending an orchard of productive fruit trees.  My goal is to help you grow your own Skill Tree, learn to tend it and care for it, and to eventual help others so one day you too have an orchard surrounding you.

Thinking deeply about where I am now and where I want to go, I know that my roots are firmly planted in orchard tended by my Dad.

Dad Silk Screening

What are you thoughts?  I would love to hear from you.  Come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your insights.  Or you can email me directly at  You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.

Live Skillfully



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