Fourteen years ago we built the house that we currently live in. We moved from our small, one bathroom bungalow in the city to our 5 bedroom home in the suburbs. With the birth of our fourth child – we had definitely outgrown that house!
Not only did we buy a lot more house – we bought a lot more yard. We went from a small city lot to a 17,000 square foot yard – or rather 17,000 square feet of clay dirt. That’s all there was – dirt – there was not one tree, flower, bush or stick!
As I mentioned yesterday, the extent of my gardening experience was 3 pots of geraniums on my front porch. So what were we going to do with 17,000 square feet of dirt?? I decided that I wanted a garden, I wanted a garden like the ones you see in magazines. The only problem was I knew nothing about gardening or where to even start.
I was in the same situation 17 years ago when I started my homebased business – I knew nothing about running a business or sales. I had never sold anything before. Let’s face it I had a degree in Clothing and Textiles – I had spent four years in college learning how to construct a blazer – not selling anything!
But I had a desire – I had a desire to have a beautiful garden and I also had a desire to have a successful, income producing business. That is the first step in achieving anything – desire.
Step One: Start with a Desire
Step Two: Develop a Plan! Start small and start now. Don’t allow your fears, lack of knowledge or information keep you from moving forward. My first step in creating the beautiful garden I wanted was to take a class on landscape design from the local community education program. There I learned that I needed a plan. I knew I couldn’t tackle all 17,000 square feet at once. I learned that the first thing I needed to do was amend my soil – we brought in truck loads of good dirt. I then decided to focus on one area of the yard a time.
Have a plan for your goal or desire. Start small and start now! Don’t allow fear to hold you back, be willing to take the first steps.
The beginning of our plan – good dirt and an irrigation system.
Step Three: Get resources, books, tapes, advice from the experts – I consider these things to be “Shortcuts to Success”. Get on the Internet and ‘google’ your area of focus. Go to Amazon.com or the public library and check out books. I spent a lot of time reading gardening magazines and books I had checked out from the library in addition to the information I learned at the class I was taking. I would also go for walks and look at yards, look for plants/flowers I liked. I would even go up to people’s doors to ask them names of ones I didn’t know. I spent a lot of time wandering around nurseries, asking questions and making lists of flowers and plants I liked and taking pictures of plants.
Step Four: Find a Mentor. One day when I was at a nursery purchasing some plants, the cashier mentioned that I was buying plants similar to ones a garden designer, who had just been in, was also purchasing. I asked what their name was and the cashier gave me the garden designer’s card. I went home and immediately called her. She invited me to come visit her garden – and could I come right now? I was expecting dinner guests within an hour but didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity so I quickly explained to my husband what he needed to do to finish up dinner and I headed out to tour her garden. I was in love! Her garden was amazing (it’s been featured in many national gardening magazines, Fred Meyer commercials etc.) and I wanted a garden just like hers!! I took Jim back a few days later and he was in love too.
We hired Margaret to help us with our plan. She helped us define our space and pick plants that were appropriate to the areas. She taught us as we went along and we learned so much from her.
Jim and Margaret looking over the plan
Find a mentor, an expert in the field, someone who has done what you want to do and is willing to teach you. I have used this step many times. When I’ve wanted to get more organized I’ve asked a friend who is incredibly organized to come over and help me. Find someone who models the trait you want to possess.
Step Five: Set aside time for growth daily. Gardens take time. We couldn’t turn our large piece of dirt into a beautiful garden over night. It is an ongoing process and still is today. Building a successful business takes time. It takes consistent effort and focus. Using time techniques such as Fifteen Minute Focus and Power Hour have helped me in my garden and in my business. I use the Fifteen Minute Focus to keep the garden weeded!
So here are some pictures of what my garden looks like today – the next picture was taken from the same window that the first picture above was …quite a change!
Our woodland path.
Next week I’ll share with you a few more gardening lessons I learned along the way that also apply to achieving our goals and dreams.