Do you have a green thumb? Maybe you are a master gardener. You can make anything grow! If this isn’t you, you can probably think of someone you know who has a masterful touch with all things potted or planted. Whether soil prep, positioning for appropriate sunshine, or knowing exactly how much water is required, they make a thriving environment for growth.
Green Thumb For Growth
For others of us, it’s like art. You can’t draw a straight line, but comparatively, you could replicate the Mona Lisa before you could make a plant grow! It makes me laugh because I know there have been times when a little research might have been the difference in the survivability rate of a particular plant. And guess what? You can’t do the same things in Arizona as you do in Utah to grow a plant outside.
Ginger and I are definitely finding that out first hand! For instance, I love jalapenos. Ginger always planted a few in our garden when we lived in Utah. They were wonderful and would freeze well if I didn’t eat all of them. My dad, Larry Slemons, always had a variety of pepper plants at their home in Colorado and would also share keeping me well-stocked.
It started further back than that though. My mom’s sister, Aunt Shirley, and Uncle Bob, live in Stratford, Oklahoma. And my earliest memories of being at their place, were of Uncle Bob eating jalapenos with EVERYTHING. Literally, he ate them all the time.
Because I was introduced to them fairly early, I’ve always liked the hot/spicy side of food. Whether mexican, asian, indian, etc…, I like it with some kick. I don’t like hot just for the sake of it though. I enjoy it when it adds something to the food besides just burning your mouth! And jalapenos have always been my favorite. I like certain ghost pepper salsas and habanero peppers are good, but my default is generally jalapeno.
All Things Aren’t Equal
So what does this have to do with creating an environment for growth? Well, when we got to Arizona, we thought we would plant a jalapeno plant in a pot (we don’t have a garden here) and see if could produce some jalapenos. But the circumstances are considerably different.
You are probably a plant expert, but I didn’t realize that jalapenos do best when the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees. Here in Arizona, that means winter. We’ve had summer temps this year as high as 116 degrees. A jalapeno will start to struggle to produce fruit when the temperature is above 90 degrees.
So, as you can guess, results will vary. While the soil and water requirements aren’t different based on the two locations, the temperature and penetrating sunlight is definitely a big difference. Even plants that love the heat and require full sun, like our lemon and grapefruit trees, can be damaged if you don’t guard against the unmitigated exposure to full sunshine in the heat of summer when the trees are young.
The Environment For Growth
If you don’t take the environment into account, whether subtle or major cultural differences, the growth that you might experience can be hampered. And it can be discouraging. On a personal level, you might have found that a change has inhibited your ability (or your team’s ability) to grow. There are few things worse than gardening without results.
Is there a more difficult job than farming? My granddad was a farmer in Nebraska. And while I did not grow up on a farm, I got to listen to innumerable stories that convey both the thrill and the heartache of farming. Ginger’s parents live in southeastern Colorado. Lots of farms that focus on wheat and corn. Again, more stories than I can recount where hardship and difficulty were prelims to moments of great success.
And that reminded me of a post I saw from Mr. Gary Frey on LinkedIn. I’ll include a link in the show notes where you can check it out. He was talking about how often seeds are sown in tears. Think about the plight of a farmer. He or she plants with many factors out of his or her control.
Creating A Place For Growth
It takes a lot of effort to prepare the soil. If you think of this from a leadership perspective, it means you are building an environment where trust, transparency, authenticity, inclusion, accountability, respect, encouragement, and motivation are all infused. When it comes to cultivating and soil preparation, there are no shortcuts.
You can think of attitudes and morale as being the sunshine. Maybe recognition, reward, and teamwork as rain or irrigation. And here you will find that certain elements are out of your control. When it comes to the things that will destroy a crop, whether weeds, insects, or disease, it’s up to you the leader farmer to identify it early and deal with it quickly.
Procrastination is not a friend. Resistance will show up every time you need to act. Farmers don’t wait for perfect conditions to get started.
But even when you’ve done your best, even when the farmer did everything right, there is no guarantee that good fruit is going to be produced. As a leader, the same as a farmer, you can’t lose heart. Whether you are looking at your own growth or the growth of your team, you have to keep sowing seeds.
Imagine a farmer who stops sowing seed but still expects a bountiful crop. It doesn’t work that way, does it?! You can plant and nothing may grow, but you can be SURE that there won’t be any fruit if you don’t plant. This truth does not ease the pain of the expectant farmer.
Below The Surface
But Gary said something that I want to remind you of today as leaders:
…We can’t see is what may be germinating below the surface.
To anyone out there who feels like you’ve faithfully sown seeds in the lives of others or your efforts to grow your business have been in vain, I want to encourage you with this:
Keep sowing…Gary Frey
Because as leaders, you know that nothing grows when it’s not planted. And that’s leadership. Things didn’t grow when you thought they should. Everything seemed perfect and nada. Nothing. Then you see that hard soil, that person who doesn’t seem to hear a thing you say, but under the surface, the seed you planted is germinating.
Nothing Grows When Seed Isn’t Sown
Don’t get weary. I know there are times when it’s hard to persist. Do what you know to do to adequately prepare the soil. Whether that’s you, your team, the organization, or your community. Soil is in your control. Then sow the seed. Give every seed the best chance for success by keeping the detrimental destroyers at bay. Remove whatever has the potential to destroy the crops.
And like a good farmer, be patient. Trust. It’s not always going to work out. But your effort is not wasted. Even when you are sowing in tears. Don’t stop. What doesn’t get planted will never grow. Then rejoice when the harvest comes.
Seriously, is there anything more rewarding than seeing your sowing produce fruit in someone else’s life? It’s worth the effort, the pain, and the tears when the fruit is on the vine. So keep sowing! You are going to reap a fine crop someday!
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
Gary Frey’s LinkedIn post Sometimes We Sow In Tears…
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