Natural Success

What I learned from my Garden about success

For years, I had always pined for a little bit of land to cultivate and grow some flowers in. When I lived in Liverpool, I had no green space to use my green fingers on, but when we moved to Yorkshire, I finally got a small border with our new house. I was so excited and quickly started planning all the things that I wanted to plant in there.

The day came, when it was time to start preparing the ground, and this was when my first lesson from nature was learnt.

Preparing fertile ground is hard.

Creating the conditions for growth is a difficult task. It took hours of physical and mental labour in the hot afternoon sun to get the job done. When I first looked at the patch, all I could see were weeds and dry hard soil. What kept me motivated was the vision of the potential that was in my small plot of land.

Now when we apply this principle to our lives, we see that it holds true. Before success can even arrive, the conditions for success need to be created. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve, before you can make it happen, you have to make sure that you are becoming the person worthy of attaining the goal. You have to become worthy of the success that you want. Nobody is going to hand you an award winning company, an Olympic medal or a championship just because you wish for it.

Now the obvious question then may be is it worth it? I can’t answer this for you, but every success story I have ever come across talks about the trials and hard effort that was required to bring the goal about. Therefore, if we want to be successful, I do believe that the effort and hard work will always be part of the equation and the price the successful people pay in order to be where they are.

In my own life, I am currently trying to embed some new habits that will allow me to take my personal success to a new level. Trying to establish theses new habits is proving to be hard and a challenge, but I see the value in it as it will lead to me having that fertile ground in my own life. This will lead to opportunities, valuable contacts and eventually the completion of goals that I have set for myself.

This was one of several principles of success that I have observed whilst looking after my garden. I will share my next principle in the next post.

I wish you the best

Shaun

Speed up

I have always turned planning my next week at school into an all weekend affair. A little bit on the Saturday afternoon, and then loads of work on the Sunday. Not the ideal way to end a relaxing weekend. This week I set myself a challenge. I gave myself two hours at work and challenged myself to get my planning done for the following week. Not only did I manage to do all my planning for every subject, but I also managed to get other things done as well in the time and had time to do extra paperwork. I couldn’t believe it. I had managed to sit down and dominate my workload in a very short period of time. The question is how did I manage it?
I realised I was a ditherer quite late in life. A job that could have taken 20 minutes would take me 40. I would blame this on being a perfectionist and to an extent that was true. I would allow my desire for a perfect outcome to delay me from taking action. Sometimes this delay would be permanent. When I realised that aiming for perfection was utterly ridiculous, I let it go and things started to speed up big time. This has value because we then create time in other areas and can enjoy more activities because we are taking care of business quicker.
I now make a conscious effort to get jobs done as quickly as I can! Think about how much time you can save if you get your jobs and tasks done as quickly as possible. It is the main reason I can now post blogs so often. I know I can create posts quickly and I am getting quicker with more practice. Also, working on the same thing often creates more ideas and insights that lead to even more things to work on. I have got more blog ideas than I have ever had before and want to get them all down on paper.
Now this all sounds so simple and it is. But it isn’t easy. There are some things that have to be in place so that the process can happen. Here are some of the things that have helped me speed up. All of the tips work on a basic but powerful principle: You need to be completely focused in order for this to work.
1. Make sure the job you are doing has big value: Nothing is a bigger waste of time than working on jobs of low value. It means we have been very busy and worked hard but have got no closer to our goals. The fab five method helps with this because the night before you reflect on the jobs that will provide the biggest return on your time.
2. Set your own personal noise level. People always say to work in silence, but I disagree with that. I believe you need to find your own personal noise level. When I work best is when I have headphones in that block out the environment I am in. This allows me to home in on what I am working on very quickly. However, I need to choose what I a listening to very carefully. I listen to either, motivational audios that I have already heard or music with no singing or lyrics in. These two styles work best for me, but you must find what works for you.
3. Get off the internet unless it is needed. The internet is a little like T.V in that it can fill your time if you let it and you won’t have achieved anything. When I used to have Sky T.V, I would browse through all the channels looking for something to watch. If I didn’t find anything, I would browse through again, or browse through the recorded programmes I had on my hunt. So before watching anything, I had already wasted loads of time. I see people doing this on the internet all the time and I am guilty of it as well. You don’t have to log in every time you get an email or someone posts a picture on Facebook. Stay away from it, as you cannot focus on two things at once.
4. Find your time limit for concentration and take a break when it is near its end. Rinse and repeat if the job isn’t done. I’ve found that about 45 minutes is my sweet spot for staying focussed on one task. This has built up over time and I see focus like a muscle that need to be conditioned. After this amount of time I need a small break and I schedule little treats to keep me motivated. I could browse the web for five minutes, or have a snack or whatever it is that you would look forward to after your period of time is over.
5. Make sure you have a clear workspace before starting. Having a clear workspace means that you are able to focus full yon the task at hand and stick to it. Make sure you also have all the things that you need to complete the task before you start so you are not constantly looking for things to complete your work.

There are other things that can be done that may also help to increase productivity. I have listed some of my favourites here. What ideas have I not mentioned that you think are powerful tools to help you speed up when doing work?

Remember that your time is your life. So finding any way to save time is an awesome thing to do because you can then spend the time you saved on other things that will make your life even better than it already is.

Let’s pick up the pace!!
I wish you the best
Shaun