Today I was reminded about the word “Cultivate”. Whether it’s cultivating friendships, partnerships, or God given talents and skills, it takes effort, focus, and nurturing. However, how does that have anything to do with becoming an “Underdog Ninja”? Ah, Daniel Son … FOCUS! Many times you’ll hear me talk about “Mindset” and how vital it is in order to move our lives forward. Having the right mindset is a key element to overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of your success.
1. Growing Your Garden
Let’s take a moment to examine the basics in preparing a successful garden.
- Plan: What are you growing? How big is your garden? How much attention will it require to be successful?
- Location: Be sure it has a good balance of light. shade. and climate for your chosen crops.
- Tools: Basic tools will probably be a shovel. spade, garden hoe, and a garden hose.
- Material: Vitamin rich fresh soil, planter boxes, garden scaffolding and seeds.
Getting to work:
- Clean out: Some of our yards will require some effort (some more than others), to remove old brush, grass or weeds from the location of our new beautiful garden.
- Dig It: After you have successfully cleared your garden site, it’s time to dig! Tilling up your soil is a must in order for the seeds in your garden to get the vital oxygen and nutrients required to flourish. You’ll probably need to mix some vitamin rich manure into your soil.
- Plant it: Depending on what you’re planting, you may need some sort of scaffolding. For example, when planting tomatoes, this is necessary for the plant to get plenty of sun and not too much moisture.
- Protect It: You will need to take measures to protect your crops from the elements, insects, and wild animals. Do whatever it takes to protect your investment (insert scarecrow here).
Okay, so this is a very basic guideline that someone would need to just get started with building their own garden. However, what does that have to do with being an “Underdog Ninja” or overcoming your battles? Mindset! This new garden is you! It’s your new approach at this life and the life ahead.
2. Growing In Life
Preparing, planting, and growing a garden is a very similar process to change in our lives, when we make the decision to move forward and grow. Your habits may need to change, your mindset will be shifted, and being outside your comfort zone will be required. There may also be things, environments, activities, or even people that will need to be replaced with healthier alternatives in order to move forward.
Now, let’s walk through the similarities of the steps to growing a garden and steps that apply to growth in your life.
- Clean out: Again, some of us may need more help than others in this area. Take this seriously! If you don’t clear out the bad habits, distractions, or temptations, your goals will die out before you even get started.
- Dig it out: This is where the rubber meets the road. Let’s not sugar coat this. This can be a very painful process, no matter what you’re facing. Putting those new good habits into practice takes focus. It will feel uncomfortable. It will hurt at times. However, persistence and determination will lead you to growth.
- Planting seeds for success: Maybe this as simple as food prep for a busy work week ahead. That is my battle. I have to have a routine in place and prep food ahead so I don’t fall into old habits of stopping by the closest fast food restaurant. I keep a healthy snack available to me, so I don’t dip into the office candy dish. For you, this could mean sticking to a budget, watching less television, spending fewer hours on social media, or skipping the weekly invite from the unhealthy friends/influences in your life. Planting seeds means putting a seed where only one can go. When you create change with only 24 hours in a day, you aren’t adding to your long list of things to do. You are replacing habits and activities In your schedule with healthier ones. It’s one or the other. If you leave both, the weed will choke off the seed.
- Protect: I don’t know about you, but every time when I seem to be making some progress some sort of illness always derails me. When I’m sick the only thing I want is comfort food. That is just ONE of the environmental factors we have to protect against. (Insects and elements right?) So, to help prevent this, I protect my body with vitamins that it might be lacking, and keep my immune system strong and my energy high.
An additional note on protecting: Hold your ground against the “Wild Animals” (AKA. family and friends). Whether it’s going out with the guys or going to that family reunion, there is always someone that will disagree with your methods. This can also be very tough and will require some backbone at times. In those moments you need to ask yourself, how much do you want this? Sure, you could make an exception. After all. you want to have a good time, or you don’t want to make a scene, or maybe you are tired of defending your decisions. Again, how much do you want this? You know yourself! Now isn’t the time to compromise! Is that same well-meaning friend or family member going to be with you when you’re feeling the shame or guilt? Are they going to help you fight your battles from your hospital bed when fighting your disease? Are they the ones up at midnight worrying about your kids? I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but some of us are fighting battles that are aggressive and extreme. We can’t afford to worry about how someone else feels or whether your new habits or decisions make them feel uncomfortable. This is your battle! How about inviting them to fight it alongside you? Be the light.
All of these things create stress, which is like a storm that makes it hard for anything in your garden to grow. You’ll spend all your time restoring what was blown away, eaten up, and destroyed, instead of cultivating your garden.
3. Walking Out Growth
Is everyone that reads this going to run out and start a garden? NO. But I challenge you.
There are different ways you can practically apply what I said above, and simply walk out growing your own version of a garden. This is a good way to go through the steps and begin to learn a new mindset, or even just apply the process. By doing this, whether it’s a full blown garden, a small herb garden in your window, or just ONE plant you focus on, this can be a powerful exercise. Let’s call it your Life Garden.
Ok. so maybe you are thinking right now, “I cannot do this challenge, I am horrible at this.” I completely understand. I have killed every plant I have ever owned. I would call me a black thumb. In fact. I will be taking this challenge with you because I believe there is a lot to be learned by walking through this and comparing it to life.
So I have put together some ways that walking this out can illustrate and reveal things about yourself, as well as inspire growth.
- If this is not your strength, this may be a great opportunity to prove to yourself you are resourceful, tenacious. and aren’t bound by your self-perceived lack or weaknesses. For many, believing the lies we tell ourselves can hold us back more than anything else.
- Maybe you do this with your kids, and by walking through this with them, not only do you gain valuable quality time with them, but you discover you are a great teacher. Kids are surprisingly good at pulling the best out of us. You are also showing them that you are willing to learn new things, even things you may not be good at.
- Perhaps fear of failure is a recurring theme for you. Every time you start a project (or maybe you don’t start at all) you are bound by the fear that you will fail, not complete it, or won’t know what you are doing. We all experience these feelings from time to time. but fear is a bigger killer of growth than failure could ever be. In fact. it’s quite the opposite. Failure. historically, is the# 1 fuel for success. This exercise in growing a garden can be powerful in changing your perception of failure and it’s true nature. For example, think of a volcano erupting and spewing ashes that cover the land and knock out everything in its path. From that perceived failure comes nutrient rich ashes. and those ashes can create abundant growth and new life.
- Patience is an important part of growing a garden of any kind. Growth doesn’t happen overnight and you have to wait for nature to take its course. While you are waiting for things to grow. you’ll need to put in the right amount of work, and be consistent over time.
- And finally, when you are responsible for caring for something, learning new things, and you become invested in a process that you care about. you become less focused on your problems and negative thoughts and more on the positive and what’s possible. This can be helpful alongside many other things you are applying in your life to overcome your battles.
4. Getting Started
We want to leave you with a few good resources to get you started. Our goal is to give you ideas and information that will help you start down the path to taking this challenge and growing!
- First and foremost, reading some books about how to garden is a great start. Here are a few to get started:
- Another great option is to look up local Community Gardens in your area that you could be a part of.
- There are great meetup groups in most areas on meetup.com that you can learn quite a bit from, as well as connect with others about gardening, best practices, or ideas for starting yours. This site is full of groups of people that get together based on mutual interests and activities.
- Another great resource for really anything you are interested in, is to find a Facebook group about gardening and ask all your questions there. You’ll find experts that can help you along the way.
And these are only a few simple resources to begin practically applying these concepts to not only your new garden, but to your new life. We are excited to hear all about how this may have spoken to you and what happens next when you start out on this journey! Drop a comment below to share your story, ask us questions, or add to the conversation. We’re here to help!
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