The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 25, 2015 • Issue 15:05:02
Watering the good seeds
Recently, I traveled to the East Coast and stayed for a few days in the mountains of western Maryland. I was amazed by how green it was. It hasn't been that green in quite a while in California, which is suffering through a historic drought. I soaked up all that greenness and hoped some of the rain that made it possible would follow me back to the West Coast.
Everyone out West has had to adapt to the dry climate. This is certainly true of home gardeners, particularly since water rationing went into effect in California on April 1, 2015. Gardeners have 25 percent less water to work with and have to think harder about when and where to water, and which plants will work best with little moisture.
Taking advice from gardeners
It reminds me of a phrase I heard once: "Water the good seeds; let the bad seeds wither." That is, instead of watering crop and weeds both, then pulling up the weeds later, water just the crop seeds and give no nourishment to the weed seeds, so that they never sprout.
This isn't just good advice for gardeners. The phrase, as I understand it, also refers to personal habits. We should reinforce those habits that are helpful, and do nothing to perpetuate those that are unhelpful. This applies, of course, to our work life, as well. We want to nourish habits that make us more productive, creative and efficient on the job. We want to discourage habits that make us unproductive, uncreative and inefficient. Let me reflect for a few moments on how this might play out in a place of business.
Sorting the good and bad seeds
Before you plant, you need to be able to distinguish the good seeds from the bad; similarly, before you do business, you need to be able to distinguish the personal qualities that make you more productive and successful from those that don't. If you bring all your habits, good and bad, to the job, your bad habits may cancel out the good, and leave you without a sale or with unsatisfied customers.
Watering only the good seeds
Once you've learned to distinguish the good seeds from the bad, you'll know which ones to water and which to let wither. That is, in business, once you've sorted out your good and bad habits, you'll know which to bring to the job, and which to leave at home.
If you can distinguish your good from your bad habits, you'll be aware when you're feeding the negative at the expense of the positive in the workplace. And you'll know when you're neglecting the further development of your positive qualities because of an obsessive need to weed out the bad. Such obsessive attention can feed and reinforce the bad habit rather than lessen it.
As anyone in sales knows, businesses also suffer droughts. A good way to weather such droughts is to learn to distinguish the good seeds in your work from the bad, and to preserve the precious water of your productivity for plants that will flourish instead of wasting it on weeds.
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