Very happy day! - I had the chance to start creating the landscaping around my new house. It was lots of fun - a team effort with my daughter and her husband, my friend Gjoko and his friend Kelvin - and as always, I saw the parallels between gardening and business.
Today, the lesson was about flexibility in how to achieve a vision. I was very clear on my hoped-for garden: I wanted a front yard of mixed perennials, vs. a lawn. Natural, low maintenance, long-blooming, deer-resistant. It would need to be mostly sun-lovers, with a few areas for part-shade plants. Mostly yellows, purples and whites, with lots of great foliage. A small sitting area, surrounded by fragrant plants. The whole thing anchored by a few specimen trees and shrubs.
That was the vision - quite clear. Before we went out to the garden centers, I made a list: all the specific plants I needed to achieve the vision.
Here's where the lesson comes in. Although fall is a great time to plant perennials, both because it's easier for them to settle in and because they're often on sale, I forgot something important -- nurseries' stocks tend to be low in autumn. Many of the plants I wanted simply weren't available.
This is where I got flexible and stayed strategic
, according to my own definition ("Consistently making those core directional choices that will best move you toward your hoped-for future").
I let go of my list; my new directional choice was to pick from what was available.
And it worked beautifully. I had to use a flowering cherry instead of a dogwood; asters instead of rudbeckia; a kind of primula instead of oenothera...but the overall feeling and look are just what I wanted.
What I notice all too often in business is that people let go of their hoped-for future when confronted by obstacles, and default to something they don't really want -- instead of simply figuring out another way to achieve that future.
Sometimes you have to let go of your specific list, without letting go of the dream garden.