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4th July 2017

Nature and Self-Nurture: Let Your Garden Inspire You

Just as my garden plants wilt from the intense glare of the midday sun, we too can be affected by conditions of change and pressure.

Well, that was some hot weather we’ve just had! In fact, there hasn’t been a hotter June in the UK for over forty years and the heat had me thinking about my garden…

One June night, I was sitting outside to cool down from the mini-heatwave we were experiencing – bear in mind this was at midnight and in the UK of all places!

I started to think about how extreme weather conditions affect my garden and the measures I could put in place to protect and safeguard the plants struggling with the tremendous heat.

Obviously, the most pressing action is to ensure they are regularly watered to prevent serious wilting under the strain of the searing and constant heat.

Increase the essentials.

As human beings, we are pretty similar in that respect. When we encounter times of unforeseen and sudden stress (whatever form it may take) we often come a cropper.

When this happens, it’s easy to forget what we need to do in order to survive. Instead of increasing self-care, we often find ourselves doing the exact opposite and take less care of ourselves. We rest less, we eat less well, we exercise less and then wonder why we get ill, tired and burned-out.

In short, just as my garden plants wilt from the intense glare of the midday sun, we too can be affected by conditions of change and pressure. Our leader at inspireMe, Andrea Callanan, releases weekly videos to support you with your self-development journey and offers value for free on managing change and learning to flex.

Pruning, Feeding and Mulching – oh my!

For most of the year, when there is little chance of intense heat affecting my garden, it seems to take care of itself. All too often, we take the same approach with our lives and our work; we think we don’t need to take regular care of ourselves because things are ‘ticking along nicely’.

However, as every keen gardener knows, during these ‘quieter’ periods, it’s vital to continue the fundamental maintenance and ground work; the pruning, feeding and mulching – all the essentials for the onset of the ‘growth period’.

We can be our own self-development nurturers by using the quieter periods to ‘do the essentials’ in preparation for the busier times. For example, developing skills, investing in training, figuring out support gaps or even just organising your diary to create space can make all the difference when it comes to keeping cool when the heat rises.

Try and take some time out to do these things. Anticipate the busier, more manic months by making the necessary preparations during the quieter ones!

Pruning

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

When it comes to pruning your garden, it’s impossible to make any appropriate changes before taking the time to look at what you’re working with. Consider carefully and observe from every possible angle.

I’d encourage you to do the same at work. ‘Prune away’ the tasks and projects that aren’t important and could get in the way of growth. Prune any ‘dead wood’ and remove the things that aren’t working well for you.

Create space to effectively carry out your roles and responsibilities. It’s vital to prioritise your health and well-being, and whilst it’s a great exercise to remove the unnecessary motions from your life, it’s important to welcome in new opportunities too!

The most colourful and striking plant in your garden could represent the next exciting opportunity you’ve decided to engage in! At inspireMe, we run city-based choir initiatives encouraging people to connect, be vibrant and to have fun! When you join Superchoir, you’ll feel amazing, sing fantastic music and connect with other like-minded professionals in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Mulching

Yes, it’s a funny word that basically means spreading bits of bark/leaves/compost around the base of the plants to insulate the soil. This helps to provide a buffer from heat and cold temperatures.

Your business needs a buffer too; a buffer between the extremely busy periods and much quieter ones. The buffers are best established during the ‘normal’ months. It will keep the cogs turning and the wheels spinning!

Mulching also helps to retain water which keeps the roots moist. It also acts as a slow-release feed for the plant and helps provide nourishment it needs!

One last thing, mulching suppresses weeds!

Weeds are both persistent and inevitable. They compete for natural resources and will take over if given half of a chance. In a work situation, anything that is competing for your attention, taking up valuable time and is a drain on your valuable resource, is a ‘weed’.

Weeds need to be spotted and then they need to be removed! Be ruthless!

Feeding

In terms of your work-life, ‘days of nourishment’ could be team days or social events with your colleagues.

You could have regular and relaxed buzz sessions to surface ideas, or experiment with new and innovative team building activities.

Why not try At inspireMe, we have a variety of team building offerings to suit any team, big or small!

If you build these into your calendar, you’ll reap the rewards during the more stressful periods of the year (the ‘heatwaves’). You’ll be in a more grounded position to effectively withstand the pressures of the ‘hotter’ months.

Sit Back and Relax!

When I was sitting outside on that very hot June evening, I took the opportunity to admire how my garden had grown and evolved since I started work on it some two years ago.

I took the time to appreciate it, to enjoy what I had helped shape and create.

I felt a real sense of appreciation and gratitude. I really do believe it’s vitally important to actively find time to do this within the scope of your working life.

Whatever may happen or whatever has happened, it’s so important to celebrate the successes, however small or large and to acknowledge each and every one of them. They have all – in some way – contributed to the growth and development within your business. Take pride in your achievements; enjoy them and celebrate them!

Learn to appreciate the process, because your work – like your garden – develops over time. It goes through stages, follows peaks and troughs and needs your continual attention. Through the calmer months and through the ‘hotter’ ones, keep an eye on all aspects of its development. Gardening can teach us a lot!

As Alfred Austin, Poet Laureate, once said,

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you who you are”.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

This blog was written by David Westcott for Inspire Me.

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