Early in establishing my business, I got some excellent advice from a mentor. She advised that I think of everything I do today as something I might see in my bank account 6 months from now. It was an excellent reminder of the time that cultivating clients and developing programs takes, but really it was more than that. The advice came with an analogy, one of planting seeds. And I think in our fast-paced, immediate gratification, reactive world, it’s a perspective that it’s helpful to drink in every now and again.
As a Mom and as a business woman, there are probably several times every day when my next move is dictated by the necessity of the moment: meals, laundry, dog walks, client calls, sick kid at school calls, trips to urgent care, assistance for aging parents, the usual stuff that comes along with adulting, parenting, working. And it would be easy for me to fill my day with that stuff. I could literally, especially now during the summer months spend my entire day reacting to every situation that arises and participating in resolving it. But then what? Over time my clients would complete their work with me and I would have no more clients. Over time my children will, well at least if all goes according to plan, move out. Over time there will still be laundry, although it will be less as there are fewer of us here. The question is how much of my time I consciously devote to planting seeds, how much time I spend considering what I want in the future and taking even the smallest steps to get there. What kind of seeds am I planting for the day after these days?
I’ve been talking a lot about pretty BIG VISION stuff – aligning with the best part of you, dreaming big, asking questions – THIS is how you get there. You start with a vision, just like a gardener would. You develop a notion of what you want to grow. Maybe you’ve even gotten some colored pencils out or cut up some magazines or written a stream of consciousness journal entry about it – that big vision, that heart dream, that secret desire. THAT is good magic, all of that envisioning, and I believe there is some power in holding that vision close, but I believe the reason it’s powerful is because your amazing mental machinery will work on that vision. You ask yourself what you should do first to get there, and you have to very swiftly tell your brain to STOP it when it says: “I don’t know.” Just shut that stuff down, and then ask again. “What are some things I could do to get there?” and write down the list that comes to you, as ridiculous or obvious as some of those items might be. THESE are your seeds you see. To get to that big dream, big vision, “someday,” you HAVE to plant your seeds.
The funny thing is that once you do that, help often shows up in unexpected forms. Just like in the garden where rain and sun show up to nurture the plants, help and hope will come to nurture your big vision as soon as you start to work on it yourself. And, well, okay… just like the bugs and the deer come, so too will unexpected problems present themselves as your nurture your big dream garden. These too get tackled one step at a time, more effectively when we drop the “I don’t know what to do” in favor of “How can I solve this problem? What would make this better?” Just like the gardener figures out exactly what bugs she’s dealing with, we examine the problems that present themselves as we pursue our big vision, and rather than taking them as a sign that we should give up, we persist and work through it, because that garden is counting on us.
Our big dreams and visions are counting on us to stop the hustle and bustle of reactive living and take a big enough breath to remember that there are seeds to plant, and that those seeds will come with challenges, but will bring a harvest of delight, growth, and fulfillment that goes much deeper than the day we get all of the laundry done. If you’re not sure how to go about seeing your big vision, or you’ve got that but can’t seem to find those seeds, I’d love to help you out.