|Dead plant in pots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It's not that I don't know watering is essential. This past summer like many summers recently, Georgia was in the midst of a drought situation. I needed to water not only my garden to ensure that it flourished but also my grass which suffered from the extreme heat and lack of rain. It didn't always happen. Sometimes I don't water because I forget. Sometimes I don't water because it looks like it might rain soon and I'd rather not waste the water. Sometimes I don't water just because I'm tired and don't want to make the effort of moving sprinklers around or unkinking the garden hose. In the end though the reasons for not watering don't matter so much as the fact that the plants that I expend all kinds of time, energy and money on, don't thrive.
Much like previous lessons from the garden, this one has an application to real life as well. Just as plants need water, we too need refreshment and nourishment in our lives. There are times when I can become so consumed with the details, the jobs, the chores of life that I forget to take time to refresh and nourish my mind and my body. There have been whole seasons of my life when my only goal was to to get through the day at work and at home in the easiest simplest way possible, always flying under the radar and staying clear of any problems. I was just marking time until I could get to the pleasurable weekend or evening when I could do what I wanted and relax. In many ways my life was in survival mode not growing mode. Much like a plant during a drought, I was just waiting and hoping for a better growing season next year.
A few years ago, I come to my senses and decide to begin living more intentionally. Rather than trying to live the easiest, simplest way, I begin setting goals and striving daily to reach them. I establish priorities and I push myself into new areas and new ventures. It's been risky. It's been scary. It's been exhilerating!
Kent Julian's Speaker's Bootcamp and join his Mastermind group. That's me in the green shirt! I work hard at establishing a network of speaking opportunities. I water and nourish the seedling and this year it has really started to pay off. I've had more speaking engagements than ever and most of them have sought me out rather than the other way around.
This year, I determine to focus more on the craft of writing and to nourish that gift. Writing has always been a first love but I've truly had little training in it. It's just something I love to do so much, I do it naturally. But this year, I decide to be intentional about learning and growing in that area. Again, I am nervous. What if everyone agrees I'm not any good at it? What if I'm fooling myself? I begin by applying for the Kennesaw Mountain National Writing Project. I am accepted and I spend a month attending classes with other teachers who love to write. It is challenging, it is amazing, it is life changing!
Currently, I've just signed on with Jeff Goin's online Tribe Writer's course. I'm determined to continue watering and nuourishing the gift of writing and making it a priority in my life. Malcom Gladstone in his book Outliers, writes that it takes 10,000 hours to become knowledgeable or an expert in any new area. Pay attention to that statement. He doesn't write that you must have the gift, the determination, the IQ or the talent, although those things help of course. The real determining factor is simply putting in the time, the hours and hours of work. Dan Miller in his weekly podcast often recommends that you budget funds for personal growth and education. I love this concept. Be intentional. Watering the plant is essential.
It's a reciprocal relationship of course. When you give the appropriate amount of water, the plant flourishes. When you take the time to learn and grow, to try new things and new experiences, to feed and nourish your mind and body then you grow mentally, physically and spiritually. When you neglect them, both plants and our spirits wither and die.
What about you? Is your life in drought mode? Are you waiting and hoping that the next month, the next year, the next season will be better? Or are you watering the plant? Are you living intentionally and nourishing yourself?
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