Personal Development Lessons from the Garden

personal development garden

I am a terrible gardener. But I do try. Every year. And every year I have less than stellar results. I sat down and tried to pinpoint the causes of my many failures. I made a list, and realized that they apply to personal development as well.

Don’t Re-do All of the Gardens at Once

I have garden beds on the front, sides and back of the house. I also have a plot of square foot gardens and many pots. All of them need attention.

Deciding to tackle all beds in the same year is recipe for disaster. This is taking on too big of a project, and as a consequence, something, if not everything, will fail…simply because you have tried to do to much.

The better way to approach this is to pick a smaller area and get it established before moving on to the next. It may take more time to get an overall garden look, but it has a greater chance of success.

The same can be said of building habits. If you tackle everything at once, you are sure of failure. If you do one at a time, you have a much better chance of success.

Maintenance is Part of Gardening

I’ve tried the “set it and forget it” method of gardening. The result? The bed that looked so nice last month is choking with weeds.

Gardens do not look their best when left to their own devices. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep them performing. Otherwise the garden will suffer from lack of attention.

In order to be productive, you cannot forget about those maintenance areas of your life. Time and laundry wait for no person.

Weeding is Essential

I learned the hard way that letting weeds grow is a bad idea. In fact, I ended up mowing one of my flower beds in a past summer out of desperation. Weeding is essential. If I don’t pull out the weeds, the regular plants have no space or light to grow.

The same applies to activities. Unless I take out the things that are not working toward my end goals, I will end up choking out the stuff I want to do by the stuff that just crops up.

Remember to Nurture the Soil

All soil isn’t equal. Some soil has manure mixed in. Some soil has clay. My area of the country is build on sand and clay.

It isn’t enough to plop some seeds into the ground. The soil must be conducive to growing, having a good balance of materials and enough nutrients to support the plants. I have to constantly add organic material to counteract the effects of the clay and sand.

Likewise, if I do not take care of myself, I will not be able to meet my goals. I need enough sleep, nutritious food and exercise to be at my peak. Without these things, I cannot work well.

Critters Like Gardens

Birds and bunnies like seeds and tender plants. If I don’t protect my seeds and plants, they will be destroyed.

My dog also likes birds and bunnies and will run through the middle of my square foot beds to get to them.

I have to protect my gardens or the mammals will destroy everything.

Similarly, I must take the time to guard my projects from outside influences that threaten to derail my projects. The projects must be kept from those who don’t think them important, or who wish to see them not come to success.

Gardening can be hard. But its lessons extend well beyond the garden.