"What Do Gardeners Really Know"
Your Success Thought for the Week of August 9, 2006

At the risk of sounding like something embroidered on a pillow adorning your grandmother’s couch, gardeners truly do have a lot of wisdom. Why else would they spend so much time weeding, pruning, digging, sweating and injuring themselves?

I was recently witness to this on my own deck. As I dove into the daunting task of deadheading an unwieldy planter box of petunias, dianthus and wandering verbena, I admired the bounty of these thriving plants. The growth brought about by the late summer sun and constant attention to watering and fertilizing was impressive. Inexperienced gardeners would stop here, not realizing the importance of cutting back to encourage new growth.

As I began my work, I noticed how much had changed since my last pruning just two weeks ago. Complete areas had withered away. The deeper I ventured into the plants, the more I recognized which had to be eliminated. As the plants grew outwardly, parts of their base were no longer needed. Pruning exposed each plant’s exquisiteness.

The harder I worked to remove dead components, the more I found. When I stood back to admire my work the outward appearance hadn’t changed dramatically, but I knew that the plant was stronger and healthier. My effort was complete. Or so I thought.

I walked around to see the opposing view of the planter and soon learned that there was additional work to be done. What did I learn from Mother Nature’s lovely gifts? I was reminded of three life lessons which are beneficial to revisit from time to time.

  1. In order to grow, these plants had to let go of parts of themselves. In fact, the more wilted fractions broke away, the more resilient and burgeoning they became. For us humans, this means releasing those parts of us that have wilted away -- emotional injuries, hurtful images of our past such as parents’ mistakes, hurtful adolescent remarks, your own misjudgments and errors. Like a dried-up leaf, they are no longer a part of who you are today and are only masking your brilliance.
  2. We can exist without others, but in order to be our strongest and brightest selves imaginable, we need the constant input of a team. For plants, this is the sun, and someone entrusted with the task of providing appropriate water and nutrients. For you, it is trusted advisors whom you may not always agree with or even like, but you respect, value and seek their opinions. The only plant that grows without a team is a weed.
  3. Even when I thought I was done with my task, I wasn’t. Looking at it from another angle provided vital new information on which to work. And if I had stood above it and below it, I would have continued to discover new parts to be eliminated. Another observer could have found even more to work on. The work with any living thing, while rewarding and challenging, is never really done. We are all delightful works in progress. Letting go allows all living entities to blossom.

It's time to eliminate past, obsolete beliefs that clog and dilute your self perception. Enough already, you know what they are. Act, move forward (not backward) and become even more brilliant than you were yesterday.

This 'deadheading' process is never complete. Each year, month, day brings about more to let go of in order to open up to the new you. As with a well tended plant, stand tall, breathe in the sunshine and experience growth opportunities that surround you.

Experience this allegory for yourself in your journal and with trusted advisors. Make this week count. Only your mind keeps dusty old components of 'you' alive, not reality. Be bold. Make strong and final cuts.

Enjoy your discoveries and have an insightful week.


Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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