Have you ever planted flowers? You dig a hole in the ground or a pot of dirt, put in the seed or the bulb, cover it over with more dirt, water it, and wait. And wait. And wait some more.

You don’t dig in the dirt and pull up your tulips to see how they’re doing, or what’s taking them so long to sprout. You don’t stomp on the ground when they haven’t burst through the dirt yet, to make them come up sooner. And you especially don’t stomp on the ground when the first signs of green poke through.

When we plant seeds or bulbs, we know we have to be patient, and we trust that the plants – and blossoms – will come. We know this and we don’t doubt it. We know it and we are patient. And we do wait.

Why is it that we can wait for our tulips (or roses, or whatever your favorite flower is), but we have a harder time waiting for the other things we “plant.” We share an idea and expect everyone to hop on board and fully support it right away. We ask for something from a colleague or team member, and can’t seem to rest in the knowledge that they’ll give us what we need when they can. We want to see a project go a certain way, and we find ourselves pushing the outcomes rather than letting things unfold. Our heart is set on a promotion or specific opportunity or simple “face time” with a big boss, and we drive ourselves (and sometimes others) crazy wondering when it will happen, or why it hasn’t happened yet, or what we can do to move it along. In other words, with these things we really care about, we watch the ground, looking for signs of our “flowers” coming up, and then do our best to urge, or pull, them along. Or we notice that nothing seems to be sprouting and we dig up the soil to figure out what went wrong.

We need to plant, water, and care for our tulips, and then we need to leave them alone and give them time to take root. Similarly, we need to do the things that need to be done for the many issues we’re trying to make happen, and then we need to step back and let them emerge in their own sweet time.

Where do you try to pull up tulips – and how have you stopped?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in letting your tulips bloom on their own, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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