It was about 18 months ago I got all excited about an advertisement in my towns local paper about the sale of lemon trees. On the mid-page, potted lemon trees bore bright, plump and beautiful yellow fruit that made me think of a hot summer’s day squeezing the juice to my personally handpicked lemonade recipe. I’m a botanical lover too, so the idea grew all the more savoury. There’s nothing better than picking the fruit from your own tree on a midsummer’s day.
So the next morning I was off to the horticulturist and found the last standing lemon tree; without fruit and still quite small in size. I figured looking at it, hmm … lemon trees are hard to come by in my region and the thought of an ornamental indoor lemon tree that would one day bear the fruit to the ideas that had taken root in my mind was enough to convince me to buy.
That afternoon onwards I nurtured it, ensured it was in the best position to get adequate sunlight, just the right amount of water checked the leaf and stem development for any infection and performed these steps sporadically until a time I began to think my variety of lemon tree may be unable to bear fruit. I still admired its shiny foliage, in deep green with smaller leaf expansions of lighter limy shades.
As time went on, I didn’t focus as much on whether it would bear the fruits I once imagined, for now, it was eye-pleasing enough to pass the seasons in a beautiful space.
I continued to do the regular maintenance without thinking only of the end result but enjoyed the pure pleasure of nurturing my lemon tree even if it was without fruit. Four seasons had changed, and by the middle of the second summer I awoke to a pleasant surprise; the lemon tree had started to sprout little buds from every leafy stem.
I was stunned and pleased but what was more rewarding was knowing that I hadn’t given up on my lemon tree even after thinking it might not bear the lemons I oh-so-wanted. Instead, I maintained the habit of caring for it, nurtured it, in every way needed to keep its roots strong and foliage vibrant. I kept my focus. Whether it would or would not eventually bear the fruit of my initial thoughts was not my primary concern. Appreciating and doing my part of maintaining it was the only thing I could have controlled, and I did just that.
I stopped thinking about what I would get and instead found joy from nurturing a healthy plant. The end result came as a consequence of the consistency in work and my love for what I was doing.
The take away:- You may have a business idea, a great one at that and during the moment the focus and emotions are heightened with the end result – the big payout. But once you’ve launched the reality sinks in of the work needed to produce the desired effect, get it off the ground and keep it afloat.
Business is tough, running your own business is tougher.
It may even seem bleak at times, but the fact remains:- Think of why you have chosen to do what you do instead of looking forward anxiously at what you will GET. Remember you have to give to receive, the quality of what you sow is as much you as you will reap.
In starting a business racing after profits without giving the idea the time, energy and real work needed to see it evolve is looking down a lonely well.
The what will come, but if you’ve lost focus on the “why” you started to dream you’ll also lose focus in how you’ll get the right people to understand, connect and resonate with the essential purpose of your product or service. This principle is universal and the main reason many great business ideas never see success or even get off the ground.
Real entrepreneurs know that romanticising in thoughts of the payout, is not a good rule of thumb to run a business. The right people will connect with what you sell when they can see the philosophy and essential benefit to them, the world will connect with you if you genuinely believe in what you set out to do and can maintain that focus beyond what you get.