1. Pulling weeds.  A weed has a stronger and more tenacious root than any plant I intended on being there. If ignored they take over.  Be careful not to let negative thoughts enter your fertile mind. Sometimes those weeds are negative people in your life.  Be careful. They will squelch ideas. Create self-doubt. Strangle your optimism.

2. Reap what you sow. Before the fruits of your labor can be enjoyed, much hard work must precede it.  Last spring I skipped the annoying and backbreaking step of tilling the soil to plant my vegetable garden.  My shovel could barely break the surface to plant my seeds.  Because I didn’t take that extra time and put in the work, my plants lacked room to grow and nutrients necessary for delicious fruit.  In much the same way, many calls must be made to enjoy the reward of a face-to-face meeting with the client.  That meeting may not lead to a sale, just as, despite my best efforts, many seedlings wither and die. But sure enough if I do enough of the hard work I’ll have a bounty to enjoy.

3. Don’t procrastinate.  I peer out my window on a sunny morning and think I really ought to get out there and feed those chickens now…ah, I’ll do it after work.  After work, an unexpected thunderstorm hits and I’m running to the chicken coop drenched in chilly rain trudging through mud and muck.

4. Victory is sweet.  Pluck a tomato straight from the vine. Take a juicy bite. Savor a crisp cucumber the day it’s harvested.  Crack a farm fresh egg for breakfast. Share a slice of fresh baked zucchini bread straight from the oven.  Snip a few fresh mint leaves for an icy cool refreshing Mojito. Somehow my harvest tastes better than anything store bought.  Those easy wins in my professional life aren’t nearly as fulfilling as the ones that required blood sweat and tears before victory was finally realized.  Failures and setbacks are merely temporary states.  Remember, into every garden a little rain must fall.

This little backyard garden somehow brings me great joy. It doesn’t feel like work. It’s relaxing, dare I say, even therapeutic. I know the payoff is worth it.  I haven’t gone so far as to talking to my plants.  But, hey, a little positive self-talk in life can’t hurt anyone.

 “The mind is what the mind is fed.” –David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big.

Contributed by Heather Craaybeek.