Say one day you decide to plant a sunflower. After 2 weeks, there’s a tiny sprout. After 3 weeks there’s even more of a sprout but not quite a sunflower yet.
Do you give up on your sunflower, yell at the sun, stomp on the dirt and pour antifreeze over the sprout because it hasn’t become a full grown flower yet?
Or are you encouraged by the small bit of progress, and continue to water and feed your soon-to-be flower?
Choosing the first option sounds RIDICULOUS doesn’t it? Yet people do that all the time to their goals, dreams and pursuits of success. You make a bit of progress, but it’s not enough, so you abandon the whole thing after a short while. You don’t see the “fruit” from your efforts quickly enough, so you pour antifreeze all over your plans and scream at the sky.
One of the questions in my book Why Doesn’t He Love Me? is “Why do good things take so long to happen for me?”
We tend to be very impatient about progress. We want results now, or even better YESTERDAY.
Well a fact of life is that success takes time — it rarely happens overnight!
Pursuing a goal is like planting a seed in the ground. You water it, feed it and let the sun bless it. It grows slowly and perfectly until one day there’s a beautiful flower in the dirt.
And each seed has its own timeline. Some will be ready for harvest in just a few weeks, while others (like bushes and trees) take years to fully mature.
How many times have you given up on a new workout or nutrition plan, just because you didn’t see flatter abs and less pounds on the scale in 2 or 3 weeks? (Sometimes days!) It takes months and years for a shift in your diet and exercise plan to show significant results, and consistency is key.
Have you ever tried to learn a new skill, like dancing, playing an instrument, or painting and after a short time gave up because you didn’t think you were good enough?
Do me a favor right now and look up the early/first paintings of iconic artists like Salvadore Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. Many famous artists didn’t start off painting “perfect” masterpieces. There was a progression in their art that came with time, practice and inspiration. The same is true for many of your favorite musicians and entertainers.
Then there are the trials of starting your own business. You opened the business and no one flooded through your doors the first week. That doesn’t mean you and your business idea is a failure! It means that more time is needed, more new ideas or maybe even a slight shift in your business plan. Steve Jobs didn’t turn Apple into a multibillion dollar corporation overnight — it took many years for him to finally get his footing.
And sometimes, some seeds just don’t ever turn into flowers for any number of reasons. Maybe the seed didn’t get enough water or the weather wasn’t warm enough. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you’re a failure — it simply means that you have to plant more seeds until you start to see some sprouts coming in. The soil’s still good! So keep planting.
“If you really believe in what you’re doing, work hard, take nothing personally and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.”
– Laurie Notaro
Don’t Stomp on Your Sprouts
If you are the type of person who gives up on your goals and dreams quickly, keep these words in mind:
Don’t stomp on your sprouts. Keep watering, watching over them and loving them instead — they need time and plenty of love to flourish.
Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.