The summer is prime gardening time for me. After a long Midwestern winter, spent daydreaming and looking at gardening magazines, I pounce on every opportunity I have for getting out there in the warm sunshine, my hands covered in the soft loam of the garden soil.
I sow new seedlings, I dig deep holes for new plants, carefully considering where they will shine at their best. I prune away the unnecessary branches and deadhead spent flower heads.
I fertilize and water and gaze at the beauty.
And I pull weeds. All. Summer. Long.
I don’t like pulling weeds. So if there is anything else to do on my project and action list, I jump on the chance to get out of pulling weeds. And after all, since there is always something to do on my P&A list, I can pretty much always get out of pulling weeds if I want to.
And believe me, I want to.
Unfortunately, if I want a successful garden that will pay off in beauty, produce and tranquility, I can’t let those weeds go for too long or they choke the beauty and joy right out of the garden and leave me with a depressing mess to clean up.
Is Your Business Like My Garden?
Some Creative entrepreneurs and small business owners run their businesses like I garden. They want to do all of the fun stuff, but don’t always get around to the nitty-gritty stuff that would make their business a stunning work of art.
They don’t want to pull the weeds. And they don’t always like to plant seeds either and nurture them. They want their plants fully lush and pretty on arrival! An instant-pudding business that just shows up without the hard work.
Here is a dose of reality. Unless you are willing to hire a landscaping company to show up every day to plant your seeds and pull your weeds, you are going to have to do the work of pulling weeds and planting seeds.
Let’s talk Seeds.
The seeds of your business are your relationships. Pure and simple. A few years back, you may have heard the sage advice, “If you are in business, you are in the lead-generation business.” That is still good advice but if you really want your business to stand out you need to step it up even further. Don’t plant leads, plant relationships. Leads have shallow roots, they scatter like seeds planted on dry soil. Relationships require nurturing, watering, focus, attention and loving care. Grow your relationships and you will have all the business you can ever hope for.
Let’s Talk Weeds.
Business weeds can be elusive. Keep in mind, a flower becomes a weed if it is in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or if it has procreated past the point of manageability. The only difference between a dandelion flower and a weed is how many of them are in your yard, and your perspective on them. Kids don’t think dandelions are weeds. We do, when they become unmanageable.
Your business is the same way. Too many projects building up that you have no time for? Paperwork, email and clutter choking out your productivity? You have weeds. You might be able to recognize them by watching your thoughts and language around them. “I should be paying bills, doing accounting. I should be working on all of these ideas but I don’t have time.” I should be creating that new program but I can’t think clearly.
Your mind-garden is clogged, being choked by all the things that have piled up on your to-do list. It’s hard to think straight and tap into the well of creativity when our mind-garden has weeds.
Back to my Garden…
When the weeds take over and choke out my beautiful garden, it’s easy to think that I ’should’ just clear the schedule and spend the next several hours tackling every single weed until the beauty is restored. In fact, it’s kind of a fantasy and I like to imagine ‘getting it over’ with and enjoying my pretty results.
There are a few problems with that. One, I don’t have several hours to dedicate to weeds and two, my back would rebel just as surely as one of my teens would if I asked them to do it. I need a more realistic approach.
Little Does a Lot: when I have procrastinated on the hard stuff, I need to take the short route to restoring balance. I follow the fifteen minute rule. I set the timer and spend fifteen minutes pulling weeds. If they are coming out easy, I might spend another fifteen and then after thirty minutes, I take a BREAK and switch to a different activity. It’s amazing how many weeds you can pull—both in the business and the garden in fifteen minutes chunks.
Pick a Spot: In the garden, I like to find one spot that can give me a good sense of completion in a short amount of time. That way, the spot gets finished and I can move on to another part of the garden while looking at the motivational beauty of the finished area. This works with the business too. Work toward completion so that you will feel like you are on a role rather than under a huge time-suck.
Garden What you Can: I love to look at gardening magazines and I have a huge board over on Pinterest with tons of great gardening ideas. It would be easy to start new garden projects every single day! Ideas are fun! Starting is fun! Maintaining- not so very much. My husband, the wonderful man who listens to all of my new exciting gardening ideas, gently reminds me that I have my hands full with the amount of garden I have. Would it really be fun to make a bigger garden remembering that the weeds are part of the deal? Not so much! Take a bite out of reality and consider the amount of time you have to spend on your business and be selective. Choose the aspects that are both profitable and meaningful to you and clear out the weeds!