Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson
Alright Rob. I get it, but damn if that’s not harder than it sounds.
It’s an amazing little insight and I truly believe it but what about when you seem to be planting thousands of seeds and not getting any tomatoes? (If you hate tomatoes, sub in your favorite growing thing instead.)
It is tough to wake up every morning and head out into the field to plant seeds when day in and day out you go out to the proverbial garden and don’t find anything growing.
Did I plant them right?
Are these just bad seeds?
Is the land barren?
Maybe it’s me?
Should I have planted tomatoes in the first place? I hear carrots are doing super well…I should switch to carrots.
And on and on and on.
Starting a new business, changing your career, or taking on a huge new project can feel a lot like planting some busted up seeds in the ground for not a lot of return. It gets harder and harder each morning to go back out with that seed packet and spend your whole day tending a garden that isn’t growing (at least on the surface).
How do you keep planting when you’re not busy eating tomatoes? It’s going to be different for different people, but here are a couple places to look.
- Support – Seriously, you’ll need support. Whether it be from friends, a coach, a therapist, a business partner, or your dog, you will need someone else to be there when you feel like giving up. You will feel like giving up and you will want to tell the garden to go screw itself. When you’re in that place, find your support.
- Trust – Why is it we find it excruciatingly impossible to trust ourselves? You said you were going to do this and damn it you’ll find a way. If this is truly what you want and the thing you’re aching for then you will find a way to do it. Trust that this is all part of your process and you’re not screwing it up, you’re gathering data on what works and what doesn’t. The important thing to remember is that ALL of that is valuable…and in that vein:
- Fail – *Gasp* FAIL? The word that strikes terror into the hearts of any entrepreneur. How in the world could you be telling me to go fail? You’re the worst coach ever. I get it, you do not want to fail, but it’s almost a guarantee that you will in some respect at some point along the way. This isn’t a reflection on you, and rather than being “the moment that ruined it all” you could take it as “the moment I learned that this doesn’t work and that made me and my business better”. Here’s a pretty wonderful infographic from Brandon Gailee about 4 companies you’ve probably heard of who didn’t let a little bit of failure get in their way.
- Persist – I get it. That damn garden is a barren wasteland of dust and broken dreams, and it feels pretty stupid to get up and toss seeds on it again after months of nothing. It is a long game, and the people who succeed are the ones who continue on in the face of an empty garden because they know they can do it.
- Develop – Keep a constant eye on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Invest in yourself, your business, your people and your products. Keep learning, growing, reading and working. It’s important to be honest about “what’s so” in this business and make decisions from there rather than “what should”. Be flexible, be resilient, and most of all be passionate, because without passion you’ll leave that garden before it has a chance to take root.
What’ve you got growing in your garden?
PS: Unicorn horns make for some pretty fantastic hole digging tools. You wanna plant seeds? A unicorn has you covered.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/furtwangl/4033069325/”>furtwangl</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>