Trust Yourself to Grow

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust.”    Gertrude Jekyll

This past week our family hosted another delightful group of college students for dinner. 

It’s a great time of year in Virginia when summer harvest is in full swing. Much of the dinner was prepared with fresh produce from our, or neighborhood, gardens.

The potato salad featured freshly dug potatoes from our garden. The squash-and-cheddar fritters were made with summer squash from our garden. We had hamburgers, and the tomatoes for the burger fixings were courtesy of a friend’s garden. There were blackberry sodas and blackberry cobbler for dessert because we have a plethora of blackberries in our garden.

It was a delicious meal, and it feels like, and probably objectively is, more delicious because of the garden-to-table factor.

That gratifying experience is the result of some hard work, but also the trust that makes gardeners believe the work is worthwhile. We believe that the potatoes and squash, and blackberries will grow and provide the reward for our efforts.

Meanwhile, for the past few days, several packets of seeds have been sitting on our kitchen counter. 

I’ve looked at those packets and thought, “It would be good if we got these seeds in the ground.” This thought is followed by another, “Nah, it’s too much work.” And the aggravating doubt that the contents of a packet of seeds will actually produce something worthwhile, rather than being overwhelmed by weeds or bugs or simply not germinating at all.  

Even though I have evidence of planting’s value right in front of me, and we are eating the proof in the form of squash, potatoes, blackberries, etc., the seeds continue to sit on the kitchen counter. 

So, I wonder what other metaphorical seeds are left to sit? How much fallow ground is unplowed and unplanted? I wonder about hobbies you and I  may want to pursue (tennis for me, yes, please). Or people we’d like to meet or get to know better. Are there promising ideas, strategies, or products for our business or life we should put to the test? Are there different ways of being that we want to explore and experiment with?

One of my favorite children’s books is The Carrot Seed, written in 1925, about a little boy who plants a carrot seed. His brother, mother, and father say to him, “It won’t come up.” But, of course, it does, “Just like he knew it would.”

Do we believe we can grow? Are we willing to plant a seed and patiently cultivate it at the launch point of the curve?

Do we plant the seed of the hobby, business idea, or the person we want to know or be? And then tend and nurture it as it grows up and flowers and bears fruit like we know it can and will?

Or do we procrastinate in self-doubt, fear of failure, fear of the work that will be required, or the dismissive comments of others? It’s true that we reap what we sow, and even more fundamentally, that if we don’t sow, we won’t reap anything.

Get started by choosing one packet of “seeds” among the many ideas you doubtless have for growth and change in your life. What is the one achievement you’d most like to bring to fruition? Or what is an important objective that is most reasonable and feasible for your current season of life? Trust yourself enough to plant and grow.

Our podcast guest is Jonathan Johnson, CEO of He shares his reflections on pivoting the business through the pandemic. He also speaks compellingly about the importance of challenging ideas, not people. A fascinating conversation!












As always, thanks for being here!

My best,

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