Lockdown learning: #6 Present presence

A short series of 2 minute observations…

I know that we have had great weather this spring. After a wet winter we have had weeks with lots of sunshine. I have spent more time in the garden than I have for many years and it shows (!)  but perhaps nowhere more than in the plants in the pots by the back door.

We planted pansies at the start of the lockdown and these have brought huge amounts of colour every week. We have done better with them than we ever normally do and it is not just the weather, it is the way that they get deadheaded every other day… something which in a normal year never happens. They are being nurtured three times a week. It shows – in a marvellous array of colour that clearly will carry on as long as we carry on our snipping.

We couldn’t do this without being here all the time and having the space in the day to do it.  I am sure that we are not alone in doing well with plants.

Having worked as a consultant for a large part of my working life I am much more used to changing projects, clients and locations than being in one place. I like the variety and challenge. Yet this spring has been an opportunity to enjoy the impact of small, consistent, tending action in helping to generate this spectacular display and  I have learned afresh the value of this.

Impact can be achieved by the decisive big steps but often the most lasting results are the result of persistent and constant small steps that maintain, adapt or support. This mirrors bringing up children (quantity vs quality time),  the benefits of proper maintenance of your database,  shelf stock checks, regular blogging (oops!), daily clearing your inbox, not taking shortcuts when entering data, leading team effectively and many other tasks.

Our presence makes big impact – not by doing big things but by repeatedly and consistently doing ‘small’ things effectively.  The end results can be spectacular even when there is no major move or grand plan – just a  simple action done well.

We can only do this by being there, paying attention and following a discipline.

Growth and flourishing comes from the repetition of this sequence in many areas, especially the operational, relational, natural and nutritional. Full benefit and value cannot be obtained from these without this.

It is too easy to lose sight of this in our multi-tasking, variety driven, interrupted lives. We are often not present even when we are there. We miss the internal and external benefits of having a singular focus on something.

Attention, frequency and consistency of focus leads to growth,  flourishing, and a certain pleasure.

Hence why my pansies are doing better now than ever before.