One of my favorite companies I work with is a vegetable farm up in the Midwest. This year I have been spending a day each month helping them build a leadership culture.
Being from the south I am always excited to roll through the farm land south of Chicago. It makes me happy that not everyone has to deal with red clay. This month as I rode in I noticed something different. The normal black dirt had a bunch of tiny sprouts. Two inch corn plants popping up for acres and acres. It was a good reminder of the law of the harvest.
For this week’s Thursday Three I want to remind you of my three favorite harvest principles.
- You reap what you sow. This one is straight out of my favorite book, the Bible. Galatians 6:7 reads, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” For leaders, it is vital to understand the first law of the harvest. Whatever you plant is going to grow. Sow encouragement into your people and courage grows. Sow criticism, and negativity begins to sprout. What are you planting into your team?
- You reap more than you sow. I first learned this one from my buddy, John Orr. A little seeding leads to a lot of reaping. Like the first one, this principle is true both positively and negatively. Rest assured, the harvest will be bigger than the sowing. How much and what are you sowing?
- You reap later than you sow. John also reminds me of the importance of trust with this one. Unfortunately, many leaders give up too early and they stop sowing. Be patient. You’ll be glad you did.
I can only imagine how much fun it is going to be when the true harvest comes in near the farm later in the summer. Even better will be when of a high-performance culture is realized in a few months.
If you look at your home or organization, what are you sowing into the lives of those you lead? Whatever it is, be prepared for it to affect you later. If you are hands off, lazy, unorganized, or apathetic, you will not like what is going to happen. If on the other hand you are focused, intentional, aligned, and engaged, great things are on the way.
Remember you reap what you sow. You reap more than you so. And you reap later than you so.
Keep planting seeds. Soon things will begin to sprout and before you know it it will be harvest time.
Speed, hurry, and noise. All indicators of a life of out of focus.
But there is one other indicator that shows up when we lose our focus. It is overload.
Author Richard Swenson says, “Overloading is what we do when we forget who God is.”
Have you forgotten?
Take a look at your life. If it is in overload mode, chances are you need to slow down and remember.
How has your pace been lately?
For this week’s Thursday Three check out the following …
Waze … My go to app for directions. Thankfully I was blessed with the direction gene thanks to my mom. However, living near a major city, there are times when traffic warrants taking a different route. It’s hard to know which way to go. With Waze you simply enter the address of your destination and it calculates the preferred route based on real time feedback from the Waze community. I mentioned the app to two leaders I was traveling with this past week and neither one of them had heard of it which shocked me. I’ve been using the app for a few years. If you aren’t using Waze give it a try. It will save you time. Time you can use for an extra few pages of reading or the opportunity to write a thank you note to a friend or coworker.
Walt Before Mickey … The Netflix movie is not likely to win an Oscar, and I don’t necessarily recommend it. It is basically a biographical documentary, and the acting in far from inspiring. But as a leader it was interesting to learn of the Walt Disney backstory. I watched the movie last week and it did foster an appreciation for his perseverance. A line from the movie, Dreams don’t come true without a lot of failure, made me wonder what would have happened if Walt had given up when things appeared hopeless.
Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art. I had a quote in yesterday’s blog from this book. The War of Art should be required reading for all who lose motivation toward their work … which is everyone. I love his words, “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
Monday night I attended my daughter Katherine’s AP art show. I was blown away by her creativity. I know I’m biased, but her work was amazing!
It was interesting to feel her energy as she explained to me each of her seventeen 3d pieces. Just sixteen hours earlier her energy was different. It was midnight and she was cramming for an important Economics test. Katherine will not be an economist.
As a father I could not care any less about her economics grade. I haven’t asked her about it all year. I have asked her about her art class. I even volunteered to assist her with a project a few weeks ago. I’ve watched, cheered for, and encouraged her almost daily as she has put in hundreds of hours cutting out letters, building mailboxes out of book pages, and repurposing old hardbacks.
When you think about those you lead, have you spent time talking with them about their interests, dreams, and passions? I hope so. Chances are you fall into the trap of expecting everyone to be excited by the things that excite you. Resist. Part of the art of leadership is encouraging people to follow their area of passion.
Who do you need to have a strength conversation with before the end of the week?