I never cease to be amazed when I meet someone disappointed with where they are in life, yet they have not taken the steps needed to get to where they want to be in life. In his book, “The Principle of the Path,” Andy Stanley says that direction, not intention, determines destination. It doesn’t matter what you intend to do; it matters what you do.
Just as a farmer plants in anticipation of a crop, so must we sow the seeds if we ever hope to reap a return. Our lives are a constant planting of seeds in hopes of harvesting a great result. Here are nine lessons that, once learned, will ensure you reap great success in your life.
Lesson #1- No Seeds, No Crop – You must sow to reap. Many people expect results without doing the work required. Also, as seeds are small, so are the things you could be doing daily to move toward the outcome you desire.
Lesson #2 – Wrong Seeds, Wrong Crop – What you sow determines what you reap. As I mentioned above concerning The Principle of the Path, it doesn’t matter what you intended to plant; it only matters what you did plant. If you are not reaping the results, you had hoped for, reexamine the direction you are going. Direction determines destination.
Lesson #3 – Soil Matters – Where I live, we don’t have what I would call soil for planting. We have red clay that leaves a lot to be desired for growing things. However, someone plated a vineyard a few short miles from where I live. How is this possible to grow grapes in this red clay? The owner spent months cultivating the ground adding nutrients, compost, and fertilizer to prepare the soil to receive the seeds. Have you invested the time to develop yourself? You cannot give what you do not have.
Lesson #4 – Weeds Rule if You Let Them – One thing that takes ZERO effort to grow is weeds. Have you ever noticed that? Weeds can even find a way to grow up through the gravel on my driveway. Distraction is the primary weed we need to stay alert for. There is no lack of things to steal away your attention from your goals and aspirations.
Lesson #5 – Feed, Water, and Weed – Consistency is the life skill we need here. It requires daily attention to ensure you are on track to reaping the outcomes you desire. Even small steps, if made daily, consistently, over time, will provide a healthy crop. Success is determined by your daily agenda.
Lesson #6 – The Secret Ingredient – Time – We are a world driven by instant access and instant gratification. A Google search the other day took 3-full seconds, and I wanted to check my machine to see if something was wrong. We want what we want, and we want it now! Just as you cannot rush a seed to grow, you can maximize the crop that those seed will provide if you use your time correctly.
Lesson #7 – Predators – In every worthy endeavor, there will be predators that could harm or destroy your crop. This could be people, other goals, distractions, and busyness. Mark Twain once said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.” It is essential to keep your focus, keep your daily agenda and keep making slow and steady progress toward what you want to accomplish. Never let anyone or anything distract you from reaping the very best harvest you can have.
Lesson #8 – Enjoy the Bounty – For all the effort and hard work that goes into a garden, how silly would it seem not to eat the vegetables that were produced. Yet, this is precisely the way we sometimes act as we jump from one attained goal to the next challenge without taking the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Make sure you include celebration, recognition, and thanks into your accomplishments, and don’t move so quickly to the next thing that you forget to enjoy what you have done.
Lesson #9 – Share the Bounty – Always share your harvest with those around you. Become a mentor or a teacher to someone younger than you and just starting. Share your learnings and accomplishments with those struggling in their pursuit of a harvest. Especially share your mistakes and setbacks so others can grow and learn from your mistakes.
Please don’t underestimate the importance of intentionality when it comes to attaining your goals. Determine where you want to go and then the steps necessary to get there. Those steps are the seeds that will require your daily attention.
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with the John Maxwell Company’s Corporate Solutions Group as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.