business cycles and how to get to your next step

Plant metaphors have been popping up (or should I say sprouting? ya, I went there) so much in my life this year.

From repeatedly showing up on my journal pages to watching a literal garden taking over our kitchen until it's warm enough to plant it outside, I can't help but see the similarities plants have to real life.

When you plant a seed it doesn’t grow right away, right?

Not only do you need patience, but you also need to learn what that seed needs to help it grow into a plant.

What kind of soil does it need? How much water and light?

Seeds are hearty, but if you don’t take the time to learn what they need they won’t grow how you want them too. They might grow quickly, but be spindly and fall over. Or grow but never produce the fruit or flowers you pictured.

When we’re planting seeds in our businesses it’s not that different.

1. You start with a seed: an idea

You have all sorts of great ideas and can see the end result that you want! So you pick the one that you want to start with.

2. You choose a pot: maybe it’s a beautiful, locally made ceramic one or maybe it’s the one you already had over there in the corner.

You get a domain name, instagram account, new notebook, something to put your idea into to get started.

3. You put your seed into your pot with soil and give it some water.

You start doing the thing. You’re working on all that back-end behind the scenes stuff that goes into it.

4. You know it needs light too. It can’t be forgotten in the dark somewhere if you want it to grow. But it needs cycles of light - light, dark, light dark.

You need to keep working on it, don’t let it be forgotten. But also don’t obsess about working on it constantly. You need cycles of working on it and letting it rest. We all need rest to keep growing.

5. You need patience: if you planted tomatoes they might sprout in a week. But if you’re planting lemon trees it could take months to show signs of growth.

Take into account the scale of what it is you’re growing. Some things will, and should, take a lot longer to see sign of growth and movement than others.

6. Speaking kindly to your plants helps them grow. It’s science.

Speak kindly to yourself, about yourself and about your work.

7. Now things are sprouting and growing maybe in all sorts of directions. You need to prune the parts that are taking energy and nutrients from the rest of the plant. The parts not growing in the direction you want.

Get rid of what’s not taking you the direction you wanted to go and that's taking energy away from the parts that need it more

8. One day you realize that the pot you started with is too small. Sure, it looks great overflowing with new growth, but under the soil the roots are too tight and it’s struggling.

Recognize when you have outgrown things. Staying where you are might feel cozy and comfortable, but it’s actually holding you back and slowly killing off parts of your business.

9. You transplanted your plant babies and are watching them adapt to their new environment. But now weeds, squirrels, inquiring neighbors and digging critters are trying to uproot your plants or give you advice on what you should actually be doing with them.

Negativity will come in. Other people’s opinions, comparison, imposter syndrome… Learn your boundaries and what it is you need to do for yourself to keep strong and healthy.

10. But now! The roots are deep and you keep learning what food and care it needs to turn into the plant you saw so long ago. But you also get to sit back and just enjoy it. Enjoy the fragrant flowers or sweet fruit. Take it all in.

Look at what you’ve grown! You’re doing it. You did it. Enjoy it, revel in it.

Everything has a season of growth, of producing, of hibernation and rest.

Embrace each season for what it is and don’t force it.

If you don’t like the season you’re in plant a new seed. Prune something out that doesn’t align anymore.

Transplant it into a new place.

Check in with yourself and see where you are in the whole cycle and you’ll see what your next step should be.