First blog of 2016, so I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to introduce a series based off things I’ve been learning for the last 6 or 7 months. The past few months have been a really interesting time. My last post was about clearing the fog and I’ve had some time to do just that amidst some very unique experiences and opportunities.
I’ve always known planning was important because of my work as a Project Manager. However, if there is anything I’ve learned over the past few months it is to shift my understanding of what it means to “plan”. A lot of times, I think we have a tendency to plan for outcomes but the greater opportunity is focusing our efforts on planning the types of seeds we plant daily. Seeds are the things WE have control over. Outcomes are the results of the seeds we plant.
What are Seeds?
Seeds are the details. Seeds are the smaller elements that help develop the larger composition. Seeds lead to outcomes and keep us from getting consumed with the end before we even start. For example, I used to be so eager to jump into a painting because I knew what I wanted the final product to be. I’d go buy supplies and start painting focused solely on the outcome only to find out there were areas and intricacies that needed more attention. Thus, my actions lead to mixed results. Some paintings I’d be happy with and others would go to the scrap pile because I knew there were areas I hadn’t really thought through. I was so focused on the outcome; I missed the opportunity to see the smaller elements that would lead me to the final composition. Instead of planning the seeds before starting, I was too focused on the outcome. The same idea holds true when we pursue goals.
Identifying Your Seeds
It’s important to think about the smaller daily actions (seeds) that can lead to desired outcomes when pursuing goals. We all have circumstances and challenges to overcome but there things WE can control daily. Even if it’s only adjusting our attitude and thinking, both can be very powerful seeds.
Painting taught me that if I spent an evening or so sketching thumbnails of what I wanted to paint (orientation, composition, etc.) the likelihood of attaining the desired outcome increased. I also learned that by putting effort into those smaller steps and making them a part of my process, the final painting was allowed to develop, as it should. Although thumbnails may have been small, they not only led me to my outcome but they prepared me for it as well. The thumbnails also kept me from being consumed by the outcome and overlooking important details.
Planning to Plant
I’ve learned to be cautious when planning and to not only plan for outcomes but to plan the seeds I plant on a daily basis. This means focusing on the smaller habits, mannerisms, and thinking that I CAN control and doing something about those things everyday. Finding your seeds allows you to place more focus on the details that create the larger composition. Once you identify your seeds, hold yourself accountable and make sure you plant them daily. So, whether it’s a checklist, schedule, or to-do list make sure to find a way to plant everyday. Don’t worry about how or when your seeds will grow. As long as you are planting there will be an outcome.
To sum things up; try not to get consumed with the outcomes or end product when planning for the future. Instead, think about the things YOU can change and the things YOU have control over on a daily basis. Those are the smaller seeds that blossom into outcomes. It may be impossible to predict the future, however, you can plant seeds everyday. As long as you’re planting things WILL grow…