Are you seeing the fruits of your labours?

This summer we have had a bumper crop of figs from our garden. Okay, not quite in Mediterranean quantities, but a wonderful crop for the UK.

When I posted this photo on Facebook, my friend Margaret commented “Wow, we’ve got peppers, aubergines and tomatoes, but I never thought figs would grow so well here!”

To which I replied, “It has been a bit hit and miss over the years, Margaret. We have been growing the tree for a number of years and it has taken us a while to learn how to care for it to produce the fruit.”

With Margaret’s prompting, this made me think how in business, and in life, it can take a lot of care and nurturing before we see the ‘fruits of our labours’. When we have a dream or a goal sometimes we find an easy path, but in many cases we must try several paths before we get there.

Our fig tree was a gift to us and we had no idea what to do with it. We planted it in the ground and that didn’t seem to work, so we had a look in one of our gardening books and as a result replanted it in a big terracotta pot.

Learning from the experts

We then saw fruit being produced but not growing to the size that we expected. So, we did some online research and sought advice from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) – a bit of coaching if you like.

The main lessons were that because figs are not native to this country, they need more care and attention than their Mediterranean counterparts, and that they naturally produce two crops a year, one in the autumn that starts to be produced in the spring and the other in the early summer from fruits produced in the autumn. It is only the crop that starts in the autumn that will reliably grow and ripen in this country.

In summary, we learnt:

• To manage our expectations as to how many fruits could mature from the initial numbers produced
• The importance of planting the tree in the right environment
• How and when to prune, feed and water

…. and that we need patience in spades!

How true is that in business too?

It can take time to nurture and care for ideas, potential clients and resources that we need. Also, we can learn from our own experiences and those of others and continuously improve what we are doing. We can speak to experts and we can work with a coach or mentor to help us see what we ourselves can’t see and to think differently.

We can then enjoy the fruits of our labours!

Thank you to Margaret Cain of M squared Corporate Communications for casting her expert eyes over this text.

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