I grew up in a low income urban community. Each spring, the adults in our neighborhood promoted a clean-up parade. Labeling this event a "parade" was misleading because there were no floats on display and no clowns strolling down our street. The benefit of this parade concept was that it involved getting everyone excited and engaged in the practice of beautifying their property. One of the activities that was popular was for every family to plant a garden.
Hopefully everyone reading this has had some experience gardening. If you don't, you really need to. Gardening is a great way to relax, help manage your stress levels, and lower your blood pressure. It is also a wonderful way to learn about what it takes to be successful in life.
Gardening must first begin by locating a piece of land that can be used for planting. While some land is more suited for growing than others, you can grow beautiful plants almost anywhere if you are willing to put in the work.
When you first see the land, you may find that it is full of weeds and trash, so you must begin by cleaning it up. Now you can't just go ripping everything up by the roots because you don't want to throw out the roses with the weeds. You have to decide what is worth keeping and what needs to be gotten rid of.
Once the land is cleared, you have to plant the right seeds. Regardless of whether you want beautiful flowers or hearty vegetables, you can't grow what you don't plant.
The next step is the hardest: You have to wait for those seeds to grow. You have to water them, feed them, and keep the weeds, which will surely spring up, from choking them out.
If you haven't figured out the point I am alluding to up to this point, your life is your garden! What you have now, this day, is a fertile piece of ground. You are capable of growing anything you could ever hope to be, but first you have got to be willing to put in the work.
You have got to take a hard, honest look at that field and dig out the weeds root and all. These "weeds" can include negative people, negative thoughts, bad habits, and useless activities that will drain your time and money. They all must go or they will suck the energy out of your life.
After the weeds have been removed, you must plant the seeds of your success. Knowledge first and foremost, but faith and a strong work ethic are also necessary to make those seeds sprout.
The really hard part comes next: You have got to continually nourish those little sprouts. There are a variety of ways that I recommend you do this. I have books that I read, again and again, speeches that I have listened to hundreds of times and will listen to hundreds of more. I have people that I make a point of talking with on regular basis. Why? Because they help motivate me, keep me positive, and provide strong roots for my success. They feed my garden.
It is your garden. It is your life. You are the only one responsible for it either being beautiful sight to behold or a weed-choked mess. Which do you choose to grow?
My challenge for you this week:
Cultivate and maintain your garden.
Picture your ideal life.
Write down the people and things that make it special.
Make a list of books that will help you grow your best life.
Commit to reading from your book list for a minimum of one hour per day. Feel free to add new books.
Identify people that will empower and support you.
Talk with these individuals once a day. These conversations can be brief, possibly even as short as 5 minutes.
This process will keep you in a positive frame of mind and, in spite of challenges you face, will help you cultivate a beautiful garden of success!