I’d like to talk to you about being a mind gardener, an idea I wrote about in my newsletter this week. First, though, let me set the scene:
It’s a bit hot in Cambridgeshire right now, well, actually, not *right* now as I am allowing the cool morning air to flood in through the windows. However, I know it’s going to get hotter today, like it has been for the last week or so. Two days ago our water butt ran dry, I say ran but I am pretty sure it boiled away!
Anyway, in our garden is designed as a kitchen garden which means we get lots of produce from it – hurrah. I enjoy being able to go out and pick a courgette or some peas or perhaps a handful of strawbs or tayberries.
The thing is though, that having this bounty outside requires us (as a family) to nurture it. We have to weed and water; to rotate the crops on a yearly basis and think about where we plant things; to tidy all year round through pruning and dead-heading as well as occasionally planting something new in the place of something which hasn’t grown/survived. The other thing we regularly do is protect it from all of the predators who also enjoy a juicy leaf or berry or two.
Consider your mind to be like a garden
We have a routine to keep our garden flourishing and it’s the same principle with nurturing an idea. If you consider your mind to be like a garden, you need to weed out those thoughts you don’t want to grow and water those you do. You can’t just water when you feel like it (which, like our garden this week, might mean trekking some distance to find water i.e. the kitchen when the water butt is empty!)…you have to be consistent and have some purpose otherwise those ideas won’t survive.
Maybe you have had an idea but you have done nothing about it? Has it grown? I doubt it. But if you have written it down – perhaps pruned/shaped it, maybe sought advice or done some research about where to plant it and the best growing conditions then you might have a little seedling ready to grow.
5 requirements to nurture an idea
So now you have a little seedling. What next?
- The best environment: Your little idea plant needs the best conditions in order to flourish. Those conditions might include the people you have around you, the routine you have and the research you do. Regularly tweaking and monitoring to ensure the conditions remain optimal. Remember that like a real garden the environment can change across the garden/region. Have the courage to move to a new environment if the current one isn’t helping your idea thrive.
- The best tools: You wouldn’t use a teaspoon to dig a hole for a new tree you were planting in your garden would you? Nope, you would use a spade. It’s the same when it comes to tending your ideas, having the right tool for the job is essential. Remember that some tools are multipurpose and using them in different ways gives you different results. Be clear on what you want to achieve so that you can choose the best tool. The most expensive tool isn’t always the best – use what you can afford and focus on the essentials first.
- The best advice: I have personally found when it comes to both nurturing a real garden and my mind garden that personal advice is the most useful for me. Talking to people who have taken on similar projects and have grown similar things to me. If I need gardening advice; I ask a gardener. If I need support in nurturing an idea; I ask someone who will keep me accountable. Focus on people who can help you nurture your idea.
- The best nourishment: In our garden, we have some plants that require special food – tomatoes, blueberries, roses to name a few. We also have some that require different levels of water – a particularly tricky one that doesn’t like too much or too little water. I call it the Goldilocks plant! Anyway, my point is that how you feed and water your ideas matter. Creating nourishment for your idea that promotes growth. If you don’t get it right to start with, stay calm and take a step back to observe. It is almost always retrievable; even my Goldilocks plant is pretty resilient, just like your ideas.
- The best season: There is a season for planning your idea and one for sewing it and one for harvesting the results – just like in a real garden. Understanding the cycle of ideas will help you take the correct action in the correct season. That said, I am a bit of a renegade gardener and I plan and plant things in our garden intuitively considering the weather and conditions. Experience has taught me that just because it says on the packet of seeds to plant out in June/July doesn’t mean you can’t plant them in May or even September…but it might take a little longer/shorter depending on the weather.
In fact, if you were to ask my advice about creating the best mind garden possible to grow your ideas…I would say to use your intuition and to have a go. Experience will give you confidence. Remember that some ideas will work and become beautiful, productive plants. Others won’t thrive and will need to be moved, changed or treated with more care and attention; others will need to be weeded out.
My question to you today is:
In the garden of your mind, how are you going to help that seedling grow and flourish?
As always, if you would like someone to hold you accountable, help you create the best conditions to help you idea grow or to plan an idea please get in touch.