Do the gardening….
It’s the time of year when we do the pruning and notice the bare structures that are left when the leaves have fallen and the flowers have long since faded.
It’s the time when we can take a step back and notice what is there without the busyness of the garden’s life taking over. And now, without the illusion of transient growth, it’s the time when we can know whether the garden’s architecture is strong enough to function as a thing of beauty in it’s own right; when we can really understand what is adding value to the beauty of the garden, what is overgrown and where the bare patches are.
So what if you took a moment to think about your life and your work; the team you lead and the organsiation or business you work in? When you strip back the hustle and bustle, the busy-ness that we occupy our selves with, what is left? What does the structure look like? What is supporting the architecture of your growth? Where are the bare patches and what is overgrown?
A beautiful garden is a mixture of architecture (the structures) and transient planting, that brings seasonal interest. Often, it is easy to get distracted and obsessed by the riot of colours brought by the other seasons; the cheerful spring flowers, the acid brights of summer and the warmth of autumn, but when winter comes and the garden is dormant, we realise that there is nothing there to carry it through. If we are not careful and plan for when the blooms are gone we may find that there is nothing left and the intoxicating, heady scents of summer are but a memory.
It is easy to get possessed by sheer speed of life, spending so much time planting more and more until it is full to the brim, and the garden becomes so choked with life, that ironically our prize specimens cease to grow at all. Sometimes take a step back and think about how the structures we have support us both in life and your work, asking the questions:
- What is supporting your growth?
- What has become overgrown and has now had its time?
- What is the seasonal interest that needs nurturing?
- And when the season’s over, what is left?
A garden that stands the test of time is just as beautiful (and sometimes more so) when the blooms are not disguising what is inherently there.
The structures that we hold are where our authenticity lives. It’s our values and beliefs. It’s in how we nurture the relationship with our staff as well as the customers who pay our bills. It’s in what underpins how we do what we do and it’s in what others see of us. We can sometimes fool ourselves with the gloss of high summer and it can sometimes be seductive to others, but we know it is just a moment in the season. The most beautiful flowers sometimes only lasting a day. And when the moment has passed the time will come to stand back and ask ourselves, what are the jobs to be done?
What needs pruning and cutting back?
What has had it’s day and needs digging out?
What needs sheltering from the winds, feeding and protecting until the weather is more favourable?
and most of all
How will the structures that I am laying out now stand the test of time and be a thing of beauty in their own right?