Monday, August 3, 2009


I finally planted the Black Eyed Susans that we purchased at a farm stand on our way back from Milford, PA almost three weeks ago. They sat patiently in the pot, right at the foot of my front step, waiting for me to find just the right spot in my garden. And there they sat, for almost three weeks, waiting. Finally it dawned on me that getting them planted was more important than where they were planted. Getting them in the ground, where they could receive nourishment from the soil, spread their roots after being cramped up in the pot, was more important to their survival than where they got planted.

Isn’t it the same for anything we want to accomplish in life? It comes down to the same thing: taking action. I needed to put the shovel in the ground, dig the hole, remove the plant from its confinement, put it in the ground, cover it with soil, gently water it in and let the sun do the rest.

It occurred to me that this logic can be applied to many of life’s situations by people with different sorts of dilemmas— like parents who are having trouble with their teenager who won’t go to school, or do their chores, or adhere to a curfew. “No, I’m afraid to put too many restrictions on her/him, afraid that will drive them further away.”

Or, the woman in the supermarket with her baseball cap pulled down low on her brow in an attempt to cover her black eye— “Why don’t you leave; get to a safe place?” “I can’t right now. The kids are starting back to school in a few weeks … maybe after the holidays.” Or, the unemployed colleague, beleaguered by the search process and too many rejection letters, or, worse yet, receiving no responses at all after so many months of trying to find work. “How’s it going?” “Not bad, I decided to take the summer off, enjoy life a little. Too many people out of work right now. I’ll get back into search mode in the fall.”

You know, I get it. I really do. Sometimes it really is easier not to do something. But I’ve learned that easier isn’t synonymous with better, ever! All those years in corporate America taught me that successful people were the ones who learned how to take appropriate risk. That it’s better to stretch beyond the comfort zone, reach out into unknown territory, because that’s where the growth is.

When I went out to retrieve the papers from the driveway this morning, I noticed those Black Eyed Susans. Yesterday they were drooped over the edge of the pot. This morning, they are standing tall with their faces turned toward the sun. At least now, they have a fighting chance.
“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
~ Phil Jackson, Former Coach of the Chicago Bulls