Lessons from Farming Part 2: Protect Your Seedling


There are so many lessons we can learn from the farmer as it relates to business and personal goals. In my last blog, I described the different seasons and how it takes TIME and EFFORT to grow things from seed and reap a harvest. Now, I want to take you one step further and hone in on one particular aspect of that waiting period: the seedling season.


Once seeds have been sown and watered and exposed to sunlight, up comes the seedling! This is the first sign of growth and can be both exciting and frustrating; exciting because what you did is working, yet frustrating because the harvest hasn’t yet come. Can you see the parallel? You have started your business, told everyone you know, made your business cards, set up your website, and then you get your first couple of clients. You are soaring with excitement! But then something happens. It becomes harder to close a sale and business stays the same or declines slightly. The frustration can then set in.


This is a pivotal moment in the life of an entrepreneur, or anyone starting something new. The sprout has popped up but it’s not yet bearing fruit. Now is the time to PROTECT that sprout from damage and continue to water and give it sunlight. Thoughts fuel our actions, and if we get frustrated and discouraged, we are essentially destroying the sprout. In their discouragement, some people quit doing the things they know to do and some abandon the field altogether (especially if their neighbor’s field is bearing fruit and we are comparing our field to theirs, thinking “If only I had planted THAT kind of seed, I’d have a harvest right now!”).


The truth of the matter is, when you understand the principle of seasons, you will understand that there WILL be a harvest in time if you continue to be faithful and consistent, like the farmer.  Stay positive and don’t give up! Keep making those calls, continue to give the best customer service, keep your shelves clean and stocked, and continue to produce good teaching. In time, your efforts WILL pay off!


If you can relate and are in this season of protecting your seedlings, here are a couple of coaching questions for you to consider:

  • What mindsets do you need to tweak to ensure you stay positive and moving forward?

  • What actions do you need to stay consistent in, while you learn a new skill?

Lessons From Farming - Part 1

PC: Boudewijn Bo Boer

PC: Boudewijn Bo Boer

Lately, I’ve been experiencing the phenomenon of the “in-between”. Nothing is too exciting and everything seems to be very similar day in and day out. So it caused me to take a step back and reflect. In the midst of my pondering, I remembered a concept that I learned a while back about farming and its relationship to life and business.

You see, every area of our life has its own season, just like a farmer has seasons with his crops. A farmer doesn’t just wake up one day and harvest a load of vegetables. There is a process he goes through to yield that harvest. He first has to work his land, which can be back-breaking work, tilling the soil, pulling out rocks and weeds, and getting it ready for the seed. Only after he has spent many days working the soil can it be ready for the seeds to be sown. Then he sows the seeds, which can also take a good amount of time (depending on the size of the field).

The next season is the water and wait season (where I currently find myself). Those seeds need water and sunshine to grow. And time. Depending on the kind of vegetation the farmer grows will determine how long it takes for it to come to maturity, but there are NO plants that go from seed to fruit overnight. It is the same with things in our lives. When starting a business, it is usually not profitable overnight. We have to remember that there is a time to go through the monotony of daily routines (watering the seeds), before we have clients, sales, or a profit (crops bearing fruit).  

This concept also applies to learning a new skill, building relationships, investing, personal achievements, and the list goes on. The bottom line is: it takes TIME TO GROW ANYTHING OF VALUE. If you find yourself in the in-between place like me, take heart and remember the asparagus: it takes three years to see a harvest, but the harvest DOES come!

Here are a couple coaching questions to help you make the most of your season:

  • What areas of my life/business are in the soil-preparing season, the water and wait season, or the harvest season?

  • While you are watering seed you have sown in one field, where can you be sowing new seed in another area?

Best Advice From Mom

Liz and her mom, Patti

Liz and her mom, Patti

When we are young, we are pretty foolish as it relates to minding our parents (well, at least I was). I didn’t understand until recent years that they were wise, and even the smallest of instructions would help me in all areas of my life. For example, “get your homework done before you go out to play,” would translate into the lesson of learning how to prioritize, and doing the most important thing first. How about this one: “you have to eat all your dinner before you can have dessert.” Ugh, so frustrating, right?!? The golden nugget was that I learned to reward myself only after the vital thing was done.

How about this one: “don’t leave your dishes in the sink!” The lesson here was to take responsibility for my own mess. Translates to so much in life, right? The Big Kahuna for me had to do with my tendency to be nosy and bossy, especially as it related to my little sister. You may have heard this one before: “mind your own business.” As frustrating as it was for me to hear back then, little did I realize that it would be the best wise advice I’d ever receive.

You see, minding my own business is all about focus and responsibility. When I was focused on my sister and what she “should” have been doing I was neglecting focusing on what I was responsible for. How does this translate into our adult world? In business, if we are focused on what our competitor is doing, we are not focused on how to make our own service/product better, thus increasing our profits. If we are focused on what a co-worker is not doing, we are not taking responsibility for our own areas. In our personal lives, if I am focused on what Sally Sue is doing and how perfect her family looks on Facebook, and feeling sorry for myself, or jealous or whatever, I am wasting my time and not working on myself and what can actually make my life better.

If you need a little help taking Mom’s advice, here are a few coaching questions that may be helpful:

  • What have I been focusing on? What do I need to be focusing on?

  • What do I need to do to regain focus?

  • What action steps do I need to put into place to take responsibility for my area (business or personal)?

Never Leave Your Wingman

If you were raised in the 80's, you have most likely seen Top Gun. It was a hit movie starring Tom Cruise, who plays a fighter pilot (Maverick) in the Navy, being trained at a facility in California where the goal is to be "the best of the best." For some reason this movie was my favorite movie back in the day. Maybe it was the music, or maybe it was Maverick's hunky muscles flashing in the sun, together with Iceman’s (Val Kilmer). Ahem, I digress.


Maverick had that name for a reason. He was rebellious, dangerous, and extremely competitive, and when you mix those three together you get a cocktail of disaster. One rule of flying was to "never leave your wingman," but when faced with temptation, that's exactly what Maverick did. He left the plane he was supposed to protect in pursuit of being “number one,” ultimately causing this flying partner, Goose, to die. He made a rash decision in the heat of the moment to not uphold his commitment, which resulted in a traumatic death. 


Why is this important? Because if we do not stick with our commitments, we will not develop the character we need – not only to succeed, but to also carry the weight of the success. Life is hard, but being successful in life requires character. Such character is only built when we are required to follow through when we say we will, even if that means getting little or no recognition, not "winning" your game, or not being able to do the fun or popular thing.


What kind of measures might you need to put in place to follow through on your commitments? Where might you need to go back and take responsibility for commitments you did not keep?

May you never, never leave your wingman.

Realigning Business Priorities


Are you wanting to expand your business and keep hitting roadblocks in the research and preparation stage?

This was an issue that came up recently in a client’s business coaching session. She has vision and goals for her business, but she has been in a pattern of not completing some of the baby steps, like research, to get her moving toward the bigger goal of growing her business.

After asking her some powerful questions, we discovered that she serves on more than five boards of directors. In turn, that entails bearing the weight of responsibility for multiple organizations. No wonder why she didn’t have any mental or emotional bandwidth to pursue her own business goals! Her brain was literally blocking her from adding things to her “plate” and therefore she had been unable to complete the simplest of steps to move her forward.

Can you relate? If you are a small business owner and are wanting to move forward, how much is on your plate as “extras” that are not directly making you money or building your business?

All business owners need a couple of places they are volunteering and serving the community because they believe in the cause(s). But if doing so is keeping you from putting food on the table, it may be time to re-evaluate your commitments. Here are a couple of questions to help you think this through:

  •  How much time per week are you giving to volunteering, and does it take away from the bottom line?

  •  Based on how you currently spend your time, what are your priorities? (be honest!) What do your priorities need to be? Are the two priority lists congruent?

  • What can you eliminate or delegate to free up more of your time so that you can focus on the most important aspects of your business?