Got the beds in. Got the plan together. And this morning, we got snow. That’s the thing about gardening. It can be rewarding and spiritually uplifting. It can inspire you with its beauty and bounty. Or, it can disappoint you beyond words. It can humble you, until you feel as low as the soil.
It’s like business.
All you need to know about business, you can learn in the garden. The garden is a metaphor for life in general, business in particular. Here are Biz Lessons from the Garden:
1. 15 minutes a day beats 4 hours once a week. Do a little bit everyday. In fact, just walk out there and look at the garden. It will make its needs known, if you just pay attention. It takes time to create a garden. You can’t hold off until August to plant your tomatoes. You can’t neglect the garden for weeks, and then hope to catch up by pulling an all-nighter. Take a few minutes everyday to touch base with your employees, and your customers. Look over the numbers. Pay attention.
2. There will be weeds, but there will be unexpected heroes as well. Weeds are inevitable, and no big deal if you stay after them. It’s easy to pluck the little suckers, or knock the legs out from under them. Find and handle problems when they are little, before they choke the life out of your business. And appreciate the serendipitous appearance of an unexpected hero. Isn’t it wonderful to discover a patch of sunflowers, volunteering from last years scattered seeds? How about hiring Suzy to be your receptionist and discovering she has excellent communication skills, and can analyze financial reports?
3. 12 weeks goes by quickly, but is plenty of time to create something incredible. Seems like you can blink, and the summer is over. However, 12 weeks is enough time to grow three rounds of lettuce, potatoes as big as softballs and a pumpkin the size of your Uncle Sherman. A lot can happen, if you do your part. 12 weeks is one quarter in your fiscal year. It is enough time to hire and train several employees, and find dozens…hundreds? …of new customers, and get very profitable.
4. Use the off-season to plan the next season. As the cold weather sets in and the garden comes to rest, jot down your observations and reflections. Set yourself up for next summer. All businesses have a slow time. For some, it’s all winter long. For others, it is from midnight to 4 am. Take time during the pause to assess recent experiences, and plan for the next go around.
5. The work is never done. Your garden, and your business, is always in flux. Picture a rose…budding, growing, blooming, fading. It’s either growing or dying. It is never static. But, the overall effect of many roses living through their life cycles can be stunningly beautiful. So it is with your business. Some projects will take off; others will stall out and fade away. Keep pruning, weeding and nurturing.
6. Abundance is essential to success. Split open a watermelon. How many seeds will you find? In its efforts to survive, nature knows abundance is the key. Some seeds will fall on hard ground, and birds will eat others. Only one is necessary for the watermelon’s continued existence. But, the watermelon puts out thousands of seeds to ensure that one makes it. In your business, go for abundant profits. If you try to squeak by, you will not make it. Stuff happens, that eats up profits. Think abundance and price accordingly.
7. Success is a balance of your determinism and hard work, and divine intervention. But, where does your work end and God’s begin? Certainly, you must do the spadework, but some things are beyond your control. Like the weather. How much work on your part is enough? When is it time to step back and pray for guidance or intervention? I don’t know. That’s what makes the adventure so interesting.
Once upon a time, a gardener was tending to his flower beds. A passerby stopped to compliment him on the fragrantly blooming flowers and shrubs. Careful not to let the gardener think he – a mere mortal – had created such a masterpiece, the passerby said, ‘What a lovely garden the