My husband Dan is a master gardener and is eager to begin planting his vegetable garden. First he'll plant hardy plants, such as lettuce, spinach, peas, carrots, potatoes, and kale. These plants can resist the ever-present possibility of a late springtime frost. Once the danger of frost is past, he'll start the broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, and brussel sprouts. He'll wait even longer before he plants warmth-loving plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumber, and zucchini.

When it comes to his garden, Dan understands that he must not hurry. If he plants too soon, even the hardiest plants may succumb to a killing springtime frost. Then he would have to start all over again. In his eagerness, he may be tempted to plant the tomatoes and peppers when he plants the broccoli--but if he does, these warmth-loving plants will not grow, and may wither and rot instead. It is only by planting each plant at its appropriate time, then watering and caring for the garden as it grows, that he will enjoy an abundant harvest.

The lessons our garden offers do not end there. While Dan may plant the lettuce and the peas and the carrots and the potatoes at the same time, he will not harvest them at the same time. He'll start picking lettuce three to four weeks after he plants it, peas in four to six weeks, carrots in eight to ten weeks, and he'll dig up potatoes in late August.

As eager as Dan might be to harvest potatoes, he knows that if he tries to dig them up in July, he'll be sorely disappointed. Not only would the potatoes be incredibly small, with a bitter taste, but the process of digging them up so early would probably kill the plant as well. As a results, he would harvest no more potatoes.

No matter what Dan might try to do, he can not make potatoes or tomatoes or brussel sprouts grow faster than they are designed to grow. He doesn't use chemical fertilizers to accelerate growth. He understands that using fertilizers to try to speed up, for example, the growth of tomatoes only increases the growth of the foliage and actually reduces the number of tomatoes the plant produces!

 

Speed Does Not Equal Success

There can be no hurry when it comes to a vegetable garden; nor can we hurry the process of growing our businesses or our lives. Despite this, how often do you find yourself in a hurry to get someplace or to get something done or to "get on with the show"?

How much of a hurry are you in when it comes to building your business and producing results? In terms of your own growth cycle and those of the people with whom you work, do you ever try to plant tomatoes before the time is right and the conditions are suitable for growth? Have you ever been eager and/or impatient and, as a result, tried to dig up "potatoes" in July instead of waiting until late August? In your haste, have you ever tried to "fertilize" your growth and that of your business, only to wind up with superfluous "foliage" and no more "fruits" than if you had not been so impatient?

Now, here's the important question. How much extra energy does it take to try and rush your own or someone else's natural growth process, either by planting too early, digging it up too early or fertilizing it only to have a lot more "potential" but no more results? Even more importantly, how much extra pressure do you create for yourself and others when you think it has to happen quickly, when you think something's not happening "fast enough," or when you link "speed" with success?

The funny thing about Dan and his garden is that he's eager to plant his garden--but he's not yet eager to harvest his garden. He's eager to be engaged in the process of digging in the soil, planting the seeds, watering and even weeding the garden. He's eager to watch the young shoots start to burst through the soil--each at its own pace--and reach for the sky. He's eager to see the plants grow and the blossoms form.

Yes, at some level, he's eager to start picking from the garden and eating of its harvest. But it's not just the results that are his focus: it's the entire process of planting, growth and harvest that is meaningful and life-giving for him. All of it is abundance.

I can't help but think that you and I, as networking entrepreneurs, have much to learn from Dan and his garden. What if we began to relax and enjoy our own and other's growth process--at whatever speed that growth occurs? What if, instead of setting it up that we "have to" grow quickly like lettuce, we let ourselves experience our own growth cycle without judgment--and as a result, become the luxuriant, rich broccoli or tomato or potato we are?

What if, instead of focusing only on our results, we actually enjoyed and celebrated our growth--especially our growth as human beings? What if, by no longer needing to hurry, we discovered that the process of watching and watering and pulling out the "weeds" that choke off growth is as fulfilling and meaningful as that of harvesting?

What if we redefined "abundance" to mean growth--not simply results?

If you did, what growth and abundance would you nurture and celebrate today?

 

TERESA ROMAIN
is founder of Access Abundance (www.accessabundance.com),
an organization dedicated to helping people access greater levels of abundance, freedom and fulfillment in their daily lives. She lives with her husband, Dan, in the small town of Baraboo, Wisconsin.