Friday, September 28, 2012

If there's water, there's growth. Well, not exactly.

If you water, then it will grow. 

This is what I assumed because my knockout roses and camellias are beautifully blooming just from me (or more often than not, John) watering every other day.

So if there's water, there's growth, right? Well, not exactly. 

The problem with "if... then" statements is that life has variables. 

Even though I watered my tomato plants and they were thriving, all of a sudden I returned to a completely eaten plant. No more leaves, no more growth.

Before. Tomato plants are the ones wrapped around the stakes.
After. Leaves eaten by caterpillars.
But I watered?!

This scenario is just like life. Sometimes we don't see the warning signs, and even though we're checking all of the right boxes, there's no growth. 

If you're a leader, this could be with your employees. Have you tried "watering" (i.e. investing) your time in an individual only to see that person not thrive like you expected and hoped?

Maybe you're trying to grow in an area yourself. You're reading books on how to manage your time and started keeping a calendar, yet you still forget about that assignment due today. Or you're still late to your friend's party.

Sometimes we (meaning I!) get frustrated when growth is slow or stagnate. In these situations, I often expect the "if I do this, then this will happen" scenario to work perfectly. 

Instead, we must learn to ask the right questions:
  1. If growth has stopped, what factors could have caused this?
  2. Do I have control over any of those factors?
  3. Am I watering the right area to begin with? 
  4. If not, what is a better use of my time? 
  5. Where will my investment have the most impact?
  6. What variables need to be in alignment to ensure growth will occur?
  7. Which of those variables do I have control over, which depend on other people, and which ones are out of anyone's control?
Asking these questions will enable you to get a clearer picture of reality. They will also show you the best use of your time and resources so you are investing in areas with the highest probability for growth.

Once I saw my tomato plants had been completely eaten, I checked my other plants. I noticed the leaves of my green beans and my basil also had bites out of them. I also saw a caterpillar on the green beans. Now that I know the warning signs, I can take the right steps... and not expect watering to do all the work. My next step? Lowe's Garden Center to the rescue!

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