After much reflection on my Word of the Year for 2014 (Juicy Question #4), I came up with three of them. I'm following Chris Brogan's advice here and the words I chose are interconnected in important ways for me.
The first word for me is "Seed." A word that may seem strange at first, but let me explain. . .
I have spent a lifetime operating within mechanical frames of thinking, where I'm "building" things--building a career, building a life. Everything has been about "building" and "constructing" things.
In the past few years, though, I've come to realize how that metaphor no longer serves me.
We can only "build" something if we know exactly what we're creating. There are no blueprints or instructions I can follow to create a career or life for myself. That's one of the problems we have in our lives, particularly with our careers. There is no instruction manual that is going to guarantee success if only we follow the rules. Yet we continue to operate as though this is true.
"Seed" reminds me that life (and careers) are more organic than mechanical. We can nurture the soil and plant seeds. We can tend to the garden, pulling weeds, and watering the growing plants, but for the most part, we must plant the seeds and then let go.
There is no "building" a plant. You put seeds in the ground, you nurture them and then you harvest when the time comes.
That's another thing--"Seed" reminds me that things happen in their right time. I am impatient and often want to pull up the plants to see how things are progressing. This does nothing but kill (or at least weaken) what I have planted.
I must trust in the process and focus on what I can do to nurture the new plant. I have to let go of being able to control outcomes or even know what is happening beneath the surface of things.
Related to this, I'm realizing, is that not all seeds will grow. Sometimes the conditions aren't right or the seed was just a dud.
This means I need to be OK with letting go of seeds that don't germinate right now. I can spend far too much time trying to bring a dying plant back to life. I need to remember that not all seeds will make it to the harvest. And that's OK.
Ultimately I chose "seed" as a way to take action in my life and in my work.
Each morning I am thinking first about what seeds I want to plant that day. What experiences do I want to have? What types of relationships do I want to grow? What small steps forward can I take to seed greater possibilities on down the road?
I also have to ask myself how I need to tend to the seeds I've already planted. What in my garden needs attention today? And what sort of attention? Is it water? Or plant food? Or do I need to remove the weeds that may be encroaching into my space?
So what seeds are you planting in 2014? What do you want to grow as you move through the year and what do you need to do to tend more carefully to your garden?
Feel free to share your answers in comments or over on The Bamboo Project Facebook page.