I live in the Midwest, and if you could see my garden now, well…let’s just say, there is nothing but brown stalks, and wet muddy leaves beneath the snow. If I told you that in a few months, my yard would be resplendent with daffodils, hyacinth, bleeding heart and bee balm, you couldn’t tell from what you see now. But I know it’s coming.
A saying among gardeners is: after a seed is planted it takes three years for it to thrive. The first year it sleeps. The second year it creeps. And the third year it leaps. Sometimes we want flowers and blooms all the time. But that’s not possible. And sometimes things that look dead are just replenishing. The roots are getting ready.
In fact that’s my word for 2022: rooted.
Years ago, I remember a friend saying she gave up on New Year’s resolutions. Instead, she chose a word for the year. She would choose something carefully that required her to reflect on where she’s been and where she'd like to be as the year continues. And, I loved this approach because it removes limits and offers something more dynamic.
For many, the pandemic has laid bare what’s been broken or where we’ve struggled as leaders. It’s been very difficult for many – some are saying that this year, this season, has been more challenging than it was a year ago.
So, here are a few thoughts on how we might remain “rooted” during 2022:
- Be observant. Consider personal vision: Take stock of what’s growing in your midst. Seek “personal mastery” to continually clarify and deepen your personal vision. Be open and honest; see about inviting different perspectives to ensure that your vision is reflective of the reality as it exists in your organization.
- Get inquisitive: Gather stakeholders and talk. When we compare new ideas with internal images of how the world works, innovation flourishes. Maybe now is the time to implement that idea that felt scary before the pandemic. Is it safe enough to try?
- Cultivate perseverance: Each season always brings something new that takes time to grow. Take advantage of this and consider how teams learn. When we leverage how teams learn, we actively respond to what has already been planted and find ways to increase capacity, encourage growth and celebrate the good results.
Whether grabbing the low hanging fruit or preparing soil, caring for a garden is always time well spent. As we head into that third year, it may be that the gardening saying holds true, and staying rooted helps all we’ve planted leap.