Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dead heading

A long time ago before I was a mom to two little boys under 3 I loved gardening. I still do - these days it just looks more like an appreciation rather than a love especially if you've seen my gardens.

There's a principle in gardening that I get. It's one of those like anything that just clicks for you... it just makes sense. It is the idea of dead heading.

What is meant by the phrase dead heading is that you prune, or even just pinch, off spent blossoms in order for the plant to thrive. It is a redirection of energy. The plant no longer has to use any energy supporting the faded bloom, rather it can spend all its energy on growing and producing more buds.

I've seen this principle at work like crazy in my gardens and it makes a world of difference.

At work in my own life is a similar principle but I have to say I'm just now learning it and paying close attention to it. It's marketed these days as strengths training. Gallup has done research and books have been written (so it has to be true!) that stress that we should be spending the best part of our energy working in the areas we are already strong in and find ways to delegate tasks that are not in areas of our strengths to people for whom those are their strengths.

This is SO counter-cultural in America. We usually look to find our weaknesses and work hard to improve on them.

So, in my day-to-day I wonder, where am I spending energy trying to support a spent flower? Where do I need to dead head and watch some crazy, beautiful growth take place?

Have you implemented this idea in your life? What have you learned?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Learning to fall

My son is learning to walk these days. That in and of itself can create tons of moments of wonder and tons of lessons.

I've found myself telling him time and time again though, that learning to walk is as much a lesson in learning to fall. I think I'm teaching myself that as much as I'm trying to teach him. The truth is, it's a lesson I'm still learning at the age of... well, a lot older than my son.

I read a great quote today on Carlos' blog and it is one I will be reminding myself of time and again through this learning process:

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

I have a friend who also illustrates this for me in his writing career. He told me once that he has saved every single "no thank you" letter he's received from publishing companies.

I think it is important to recognize and affirm all of the times we try. Absolutely celebrate our successes! Celebrate big! But don't neglect affirming each other for trying and learning.

The reality is that we won't get it right every time we try and we stand to grow so much through the trying process. So we have to be willing to fail in order to succeed. What are you trying these days? In what area of life are you now "learning to fall"?