What Gardening Taught Me About Leadership

June is bustin' out all over! Over the years, my passion for gardening and the wonders of the natural world have increased in leaps and bounds, in blues and greens. The lessons I have learned since tending my very first "garden" in a window box in a Boston condo to cultivating an urban garden, farm and woodland retreat is a practice that fills me with joy and possibility and cultivates my leadership well-being. Read on for my four-part lesson plan:

1. Sleep, creep, leap - The three-phase life cycle of a perennial is worth considering when thinking through personal or professional planning. The first year its roots begin to take hold and growth is minimal. The second year, the "creeping" is much more visible and the third year, well, watch out! Cultivating patience and knowing that "incremental change is sustainable change" is a great takeaway from this gardening lesson. And remember to take the long view. 

2. Let go - Despite all of my best efforts, many of my plants have died. Either Mother Nature or a critter has intervened, or they have been crowded out by another more aggressive species. Maybe this shrub was not comfortable in the soil or was diseased from the beginning. All living things have an end date. All we can do is tend them well and avoid grasping when they are gone. Sometimes the "best" ideas are also destined to wither on the vine. Learn to let go. 

3. Weed well - Pulling out what does not serve us, whether it's a pesky weed from the soil or a self-negating thought from our busy mind is another lesson from the garden. The act of weeding is so wonderfully unambiguous; it's a great digital detox and provides an opportunity to get closer to the earth. Like organizing your desk, or cleaning out a closet, weeding removes the distractions and allows you to focus on what's really important, and that's what you are growing.

4. Harvest beauty - Enjoying the fruits of my labor and making floral arrangements to display in my home or give away to friends is one of my favorite activities. There is nothing quite like reveling in the tangible outcomes of all that hard work and paying attention to the magical patterns in flowers and foliage. When was the last time you gave yourself a big pat on the back and celebrated the accomplishments of you and your team? Do it today and throw in a bouquet!