Prepare to be flexible

Some of you know that over the last couple of years I have been reinvigorating a long neglected garden and have turned into a (very) amateur gardener and vegetable grower. 

My mum, who is retired and grows veg to epic proportions, gives me her old gardening magazines, including Gardeners’ World January 2013.

Gardener and TV presenter Monty Don wrote an article about preparing the garden for the year ahead and how the changes in climate are affecting crops, “from a field of wheat to a few radishes sown in a window box”. 

Monty Don Gardeners' World magazine talking about change

Monty Don Gardeners’ World magazine talking about change

One paragraph in particular resonated with me, not just for the implications of my seed sowing and crop rotation, but in the work we all do every day:

“Doing what you (or your grandfather) have always done and then complaining that the weather has been ‘against’ you is not the answer. However we do not know exactly what to expect. So direct the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.”

Monty is explaining the VUCA world and how to deal with it. We don’t know what the future will bring, so we don’t always know how to prepare for it. Therefore the only way to prepare is to be flexible; ready to change and adapt. 

Monty gives the example of “raising seed in smaller batches and more waves of succession”. This is about failing fast. If your first few batches of seed get ruined by an unexpected late frost, you have more to follow. It’s also not sowing all the seeds in one go, it’s doing something smaller and more often to see the results as time goes on. 

As I look at expanding Lightbulb Moment, I have many ideas of what to do and achieve. Just like I have many fantasies about what to do with my garden. I have to carefully select the ‘seeds’ that I sow, how many and at what time. 

In my garden last year, after removing dead and safety-risk leylandii trees, I wanted to get the newly made border dug over and planted up beautifully. That didn’t happen and still hasn’t. There wasn’t the time, money or energy. Likewise there are things I want to do with my business that I know probably won’t happen this year. But it’s ok, I can use that time to research, listen to my clients and plan. 

My border might get started later this year, and next year might look great. Just like my business. 

Jo Cook enjoying the garden!

Jo Cook enjoying the garden!

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