The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
Last weekend, I was hosting an interview as part of the Ultimate Coach Book Instagram series. I’ve been taking up a semi-regular spot on it, and the aim of the series is to explore how the book, The Ultimate Coach, has transformed people’s lives. It’s a book that I first year a year ago, and have re-read several times since.
One of the concepts we talked about was around ‘planting seeds’. The Ultimate Coach is about a man named Steve Hardison – though the point of the book is to read it about your own life, rather than a biography of him. I attended The Ultimate Experience event in London last year, where I heard Steve speak more about this idea.
Our lives are created based upon the seeds we are planting. If we want a field of sweetcorn, we better plant sweetcorn seeds. That makes sense for us logically, but this also applies to what we want in life. For example, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a happy, positive and fulfilling life. So the best thing to do is plant happy, positive and fulfilling seeds. It is very simple, yet very effective.
Many of us want these things – happiness, success, love, money or any other number of things. Yet the seeds we plant are the opposite. What we plant is frustration, unhappiness, scarcity and defeatist seeds instead. Unsurprisingly we then get these things in our life.
The biggest mindset shift I have had is realising that I am creating my life, whether I am conscious of it or not. Where I am spending time being angry or upset, I am building that into the creation of my life. If I spend 90% of my time focussing on things that make me unhappy, I am planting unhappiness seeds, which will grow into unhappiness trees.
It takes some time to recognise our patterns. Fortunately, many of us realise at some point that we are unhappy. Unfortunately, if we recognise this, our mind can create justifications through ‘rational reasoning’ that these negative feelings are necessary. For example, I used to have the belief that to be successful I had to be unhappy. My mind somewhere filled in the blanks that successful people are generally unhappy, so to make an impact in the world I had to live in misery. My implicit thinking was that once I had reached my success, had the money and created an easier life, then I could finally enjoy life.
I am glad I found the world of coaching and personal development without needing to spend another 20 years of my life before debunking this way of thinking. The reality is that there is no end-point where things magically change. I was planting misery seeds, and in 20 years time I would have realised that I was still miserable despite the fantasy salvation awaiting me at the end of the rainbow.
The incredible shift in my life has been realising that I can create what I want in my life, and I can create it now. For a long time I felt quite powerless around keeping an active social life. I felt like I did not have a frequent connection with the people I knew, so I felt quite restricted with pursuing social activities.
Last year, I reached out to more people than I probably have ever done. I set a clear intention of investing in relationships, and I took the time to meet up with people. Where in the past I would give these up because I might have felt ‘too tired’, I gave these a priority.
Rather than be a victim to my circumstance, I created the social connections that I wanted. And the results have transformed how I feel about the relationships around me. I had a moment last week where I had a wave of contentment hit me. I realised I was happy with my social life and life in Brussels. I planted the seeds, and although it took a bit of time, the seeds are bearing fruit.
The funny thing is that the biggest shift has been in myself. I am so much more used to reaching out to people now, that when I meet someone new it feels far easier than it ever did before. There is an ease in me that I previously did not know was possible.
The best bit is that this idea of planting seeds is available in any aspect in our lives. Want to make more money? Plant the seeds – this could be via picking up new skills or building professional relationships. It could also be in your love life – either to find a new partner or deepen your relationship. This is not about finding quick wins. It is about cultivating change over a longer time period. This will have a far greater impact.
You can create what you want in life. And you can start now.