Last week we talked about Three Simple Questions (3SQ), and how sometimes we have to understand where we are in order to get to where we want to be. This week we’re going to continue to build on that idea a little bit. To help us get started I want you to consider a garden. We all know some of the basics to planting a garden, water, good soil, sunlight, time, etc. Yet most of us probably aren’t master gardeners or landscapers. We also can probably plant a single pot fairly well, but how many of us can truly balance an amazing garden?
The difference between us and a professional landscaper in addition to lots of experience, usually comes down to essential stages of a garden. In order to grow a garden you have to be able to plan it out, you have to be able to correctly plant it, you have to have the patience to let it grow correctly, to prune and care for it as it is growing, which allows us in the end to take pleasure in the fruits of the labor. Each of these steps is important but sometimes we like to rush into things. However, an easy way I’ve found to keep this in perspective is that to grow a great garden you have to be prepared before the first nice day of spring.
If we in our infinite haste fail to take time to plan things ahead of time and get prepared, when it comes time to execute in our lives we are always rushed. This tends to lead to extra stress, it leads to making simple mistakes, sometimes it means not having what we want still there. It also means doing things on other people’s time. When we take the time to think about what we want our lives and our gardens to look like ahead of time we can start making plans. We can talk to the experts in our lives about whether or not they think it is a good course of action or maybe whether they would suggest something else. They might also make recommendations about things that would accompany what our plan is or things we might want to avoid.
Then when it actually comes time to start planting seeds for the various ideas and experiences in our lives, we’re ready. We can also take the time to do it properly, whether that means preparing the ground we want to plant in, maybe even trying to get things in order ahead of time by laying out the options and practicing. This makes it easier for the moment that we actually plant or take action. If things don’t go perfectly, we can always adjust as we’ve made a few preparations ahead of time and have more flexibility than if we just rush out and make snap decisions in the moment without planning ahead of time.
After we’ve planted it’s important to remember that patience is a key to success. It’s easy to rush to do certain things when they aren’t the right moment. If we over saturate the situation or smother it or react too quickly, it can be very harmful to that which we are trying to grow. However, if we take the patience to allow strong roots to take hold and to carefully and precisely guide it then a healthy foundation is built.
Once the foundation is built though it is important to keep an eye on what we are doing. We need to watch out for the weeds or make sure that our gardens are growing in the direction that we want them to be. Sometimes that means cutting things out, not to kill the plant but to help it grow in the right manner. Sometimes it means cutting back on one plant to allow another plant to flourish. These decisions aren’t always easy, but if we remember the plan we laid out ahead of time we know what we are trying to grow, and know that that plan might be more important than any one specific plant.
In the end though, some people forget about enjoying the garden. What’s the point of going through everything if you never take the time to truly appreciate what it is you’ve made and the beauty and experience that was created. When you’ve been able to be patient, having a plan, and executing on that plan, the fruits of the labor are even greater. Therefore, as we go through the next couple of weeks we’ll start discussing a few different plans and ways that those plans can help us to truly experience life in a variety of ways. Whether that is helping to realize the vision that we have, building a foundation, preparing ourselves better, taking advantage of time, learning to cut out the weeds and help ourselves stay on track, or maybe just learning to enjoy the view.