Business owners can learn a lot from fruit trees. Here are five ideas to create a bountiful harvest for your business.
Growing up, my parents lived for a time on a farm. All around us there were olive, fig, walnuts, and almond trees. I enjoyed harvest time. My brother and I would get to help the farmers harvest. I found out that olives need to be brined to taste good! It was a real shock when I bit into one right off the tree. The orchards were beautiful, and it took a lot of work to keep them healthy and producing. There were times when a tree was not producing and the farmers had to make decisions on what to do. This reminds me of a parable in the Bible about a farmer’s fig tree that would not produce fruit.
“A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So, he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it, if it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13: 6-9
What would you do? Three years is a long time to wait for fruit from a mature tree. I can understand why the owner of the vineyard was impatient. I would want results! I would want to see that my investment was paying off. I would want to see results, not excuses. But what if. . .
- The tree is lacking the nutrients it takes to produce fruit?
- The tree did not get the pollination necessary to create the fruit?
- The soil around the tree does not have the correct material needed to receive the nutrients?
- The trunk or limbs of the tree has harbored some unwanted guests?
There are several things that could be wrong with the tree. How the tree was taken care of relates to the fruit produced. In the same way, what we produce and give to the world is related to what we put into our lives. Consider these five nutrients to add in your life to help you produce good fruit.
Producing good fruit and what it takes to get there.
- Fertilize with nutrients (values): There is a saying “you get out what you put in”. What are you putting into your life? What is nourishing your mind, body and soul? Our values are a direct result of those nutrients we feed ourselves. The right food, exercise, and sleep go a long way for our health. Just as important is what we watch, what we read, and how we relate to others. Like the story, sometimes we must dig around the tree and give it some care.
- Cut out the dead stuff (boundaries): Sometimes I must cut out the dead things in my life. If it’s not healthy, I must get rid of it. This is easier said than done. It takes a lot of courage to find the root cause of why there are dead limbs. The farmer was willing to look at the root cause and help the tree with its purpose. When I look at the dead things in my life, I prune what no longer serves my purpose and passion. This gives me room to grow.
- Germinate for growth (relationships): Having people in our lives that we can trust is important. The owner of the tree trusted the farmer to do what had to be done. Trusted confidants do the same for us. We are designed for relationships. When we have relationships that we trust, we can grow in that space. Taking the time to seek out and find your confidants can help you be happier and more productive.
- Cultivate your actions (goal setting) It is easy to fill an action plan out. However, it is the action in the mind that matters the most. Action only happens when there is a mental choice; a mind shifts to connect your heart, mind, and soul to the plan. This requires preparation and change. Small incremental changes in your plan create the shift necessary. Cultivating your goals with other like-minded individuals creates community and greater success for all. If you choose not to pursue your goals with others and create your goals in isolation, you set yourself up to fail.
- The gardener and the garden (communication) Communication is the most important skill to learn and the least skill used in many situations. The farmer in the story uses his knowledge and the signs that the fig tree was exhibiting to diagnose and treat the problem. In the same way, using listening skills help us understand what others are trying to tell us. Seek to understand others first, then to be understood. This is the first step in becoming a skilled communicator. When you learn to listen first, you earn the right to be heard. Listen to others so you can speak with assertiveness and persuasion, not power and position. Always demonstrate empathy and invite feedback.
Questions to Ponder:
- Are you the farmer or the owner in the story?
- Do you feel deficient in nutrients?
- Are the dead things in your life no longer serving you?
- Are you ready to make changes that are healthy and promote growth in your life?
- Do you know that you need to learn to listen better?
I know how to get you where you want to go. I will help you cultivate your habits, your routine, and yourself for optimal outcomes! I will always match you in your commitment to growth. If you want a partner, a coach…contact me today for a no-pressure, no-expectation coaching conversation. We won’t be discussing options for working with me. We’ll spend our time together wherever you feel we can make the most impact. YOU are the agenda. Let’s talk…
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