Have you had the experience of resolving to change a behavior or attitude, but found yourself falling short of the goal? Pretty annoying and disappointing isn’t it?
Recently I’ve been exploring how we change. The process of change seems to have certain patterns that are typical…if not predictable.
While there are times when people change in transformative ways seemingly overnight… in an instant…that is the exception and short lived. Often the more dramatic the change, the harder and less likely it is that you will be able to sustain it.
However, there is a way of changing that may seem instantaneous and nearly miraculous but is actually the result of prolonged and persistent effort. Such change is actually quite likely to be long-lasting.
The metaphor of cultivating a garden serves the purpose of illustrating how this works. The outcome or result (the flower’s bloom) appears virtually overnight. But the work that laid the foundation for that moment of change is what is being missed. Much like tending a rose garden. There is watering, weeding, and fertilizing for months on end and then…one day… the bud appears and shortly thereafter and there is the fragrant bloom of the rose. Were it not for all the months of persistent attention, there would be no bloom. And just like the rose bloom, your personal change that seems instantaneous actually requires unstoppable, and relentless time and effort.
Like cultivating the garden, you can undo the results if you don’t balance your effort. If you water too much, you drown the plant. If you don’t water enough, it wilts. You can burn a rose with too much fertilizer just as you can starve it with not enough nutrition. The weeds can compete with the plant for all the necessary ingredients and must be removed routinely…before they do irreparable damage to the growth of the rose.
It is an art of sorts to find the balance so that you don’t overdo it. And yet you must do enough to integrate the change so that that you move from becoming the change to BEING the change. Then it is who you are. It is your new identity, your new center of gravity.
And while there are no guarantees, persistence, commitment and consistency are the ingredients that cultivate the garden of performance and change. When you “get it” or ‘become it”, that moment may seem to come out of the blue. But the weeks, months and years of effort and learning from mistakes is what leads to your impressive outcomes.
There may be many failures before the success. Your success appears to be “good luck”, the “break” or the “advantage”. This makes it appears effortless. And in the moment it may be. But only because of all the time and effort that went into cultivating the bloom of that moment.
And where does that leave us? Never give up! Ever! Be unstoppable, do whatever it takes and understand that what feels like failure may be the day before your success. It could be the difference between one more day leading to success or stopping short and failing. Just one more day…you never know. And like Edison and the light bulb…each failure brings you one step closer to success. Not one step further away. In a real sense, success is inevitable, time is the only unknown. It’s simply a matter of time.
Here’s to your BLOOM!