Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Business Lessons from A Quiet Gardener

--by William Rosenzweig (Apr 16, 2012)



The people who know me best know that at heart I am just a quiet gardener. My garden has probably taught me the most about how things grow - and thrive in a vibrant and sustainable manner. These lessons have shaped my approach to encouraging responsible growth in business and to the ways I apply my intention, attention and energy.

A gardener sees the world as a system of interdependent parts - where healthy, sustaining relationships are essential to the vitality of the whole. "A real gardener is not a person who cultivates flowers, but a person who cultivates the soil." In business this has translated for me into the importance of developing agreements and partnerships where vision and values, purpose and intent are explicitly articulated, considered and aligned among all stakeholders of an enterprise - customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the broader community and natural environment.

The garden has taught me about patience and persistence and the ethical principles of generosity and reciprocity. It has illuminated the importance of appreciating the cycles of life and decay. For the gardener, composting is a transformative act - whereby last season's clippings (or failures) can become next year's source of vigor.

I've learned that it's not just what you plant, but how you plant it that brings long - term rewards in life, work and the garden. Gardeners know that once strong roots are established, growth is often exponential rather than linear.

Also gardening, like business, is inherently a local activity, set within an ever-changing and unpredictable global climate. Showing up in person, shovel - and humility in hand is essential.

Gardeners, like entrepreneurs, are obsessed with latent potential - and can be known to be pathologically optimistic. We can vividly imagine the bloom and the scent of the rose even in deepest of winter. As the American naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote: "I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."

In essence, the gardener's work is a life of care. We cultivate abundance from scarce resources. We nurture, encourage, fertilize - and prune when necessary - while being respectful of the true and wild nature of all things. We know that creating enduring value requires vision, passion, hard work and the spirit of others.

I am just coming to understand this work of business gardening - and investing in keeping people healthy - as an act of universal responsibility. His Holiness Dalai Lama reminds me: "Each of us must learn to work not just for one self, one's own family or one's nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace."

 
--William Rosenzweig, from his Acceptance Speech for "Oslo Business for Peace Award"


Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

Previous Reflections:

 
On Apr 15, 2012 Ravi Sheshadri wrote:
 I never thought of life in this way. This article is really wonderful. I have avoided developing a garden for so many years because I donot have patience to do it. But after this article I think it has inspired to do that. Thanks a lot. This will also help me in developing a gardener in myself. Recently I have become an entrepreneur and all the qualitities of gardener are imp for an entrepreneur. Thanks again.

On Apr 15, 2012 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:
 Thank you for the opportunity to respond. I am most impressed with the notion that business is for corporate and individual profit (for itself whereas gardens are often for others). The organizational world, including nonprofit groups,  are often noticeably different.  I see ServiceSpace.org, parent of Ijourney.com, as mindfully using many garden metaphors. Service space has grown greatly because of the fertilizer of "detachment" and "no expectations." Businesses expect profit and are often attached to it.  Furthermore, service space.org is doubly detached in not expecting "members" to donate.  There are many fine business people. Closer to the ideal of compassion for everyone, however, are many nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations are often, in my opinion, more awake than most for-profit businesses. Warm and kind regards to everyone.

On Apr 15, 2012 PK wrote:
 I loved the statement that said that we cultivate soil not the flowers -- how true! It is all about cultivating and nurturing the soil and seed without quite knowing what comes out of the ground! It is a great metaphor for developing leaders and developing organizations!

On Apr 17, 2012 Patrick N. Paternott wrote:
 I have been self employed for over 25 years, and reading and listening just now has made me realize my whole approach to doing business has been this attitude, even when customers go broke and I lose money, my sympathies have been with them, much to the chagrin of my accountant, but then I say, their need is greater than mine.  Thank you, Patrick

On Apr 17, 2012 Dhara wrote:
 awesome, thank you.  :)

On Apr 17, 2012 David Doane wrote:
 The various parallels in the garden metaphor to life and growth and working with people are all valuable.  The one that stands out for me is "the gardener's work is a life of care...we nurture, encourage, fertilize - and prune when necessary - while being respectful of the true and wild nature of all things."  That is the way of living for me to cultivate in my life and I am sure will blossom into happy results.  In reading this piece, I also find myself thinking that in gardening like in living I control the gardening/cultivating that I do --I  have no control over the outcome.   I can cultivate the soil, persistently care for the plants, nurture, encourage, fertilize, and prune, all of which probably increases the chances of a healthy garden, but there is no guarantee of a beautiful blossom or harvest.  Gardening is its own reward -- a beautiful blossom or harvest is another reward that may or may not happen.

On Apr 17, 2012 Lennox wrote:
The line "A gardener sees the world as a system of interdependent parts" pretty much sums up the whole passage succinctly. Successful application of this enlightened worldview to competitive, profit centric business environment is uplifting and hopeful. Heartening to see that business and spirituality don't need to be at odds, but can operate in perfect harmony!

On Sep 7, 2012 Khurram Amrohi wrote:
 A very well penned artical lacks the vital answer, What the gardener actuali did

On Sep 7, 2012 Dean wrote:

 This is certainly a wonderful parallel with gardening & business and as I've always truly believed, when employers cultivate, coach & guide their employees a beautiful field blossoms and some many derive benefit from such caring.  I have trained Killer Whales, employees and I've tried to train employers and found the latter the most difficult. So hopefully your message will reach some of those employers that have so little regard for the great resources we have in human beings and their relationship to a bountiful harvest!  Thank you for your refreshing point of view!

I

On Sep 7, 2012 Mary Bridget Thielbar wrote:
 How absolutely true. Such a beautiful style of communicating about a tough subject.

On Sep 8, 2012 Brad wrote:
For me, business is one tool in gardening a community of people and the environment to create abundance and life.  There are other gardeners working in the systems of our communities - such as our elected government, civil and faith society, non-profit agencies, and beneficial corporations.

We need master gardeners who can work with others and look to the garden to see what is growing and what is struggling and make the vibrancy of the garden the focus of action.

On Sep 9, 2012 harsha wrote:
What a marvelous approach to life in all its fullness.The similarities between gardening and  entrepreneurship has been beautifully dealt with.The cycle of seed planting growth and decay and further transforming composte into regenerating manure emphasizes the view that change is necessary for further growth. The gardener and the entrepreneur both have to be alchemists transmuting each situation into  beautiful opportunities' 

On Sep 9, 2012 Jo wrote:
 This is a magnificent article. I can feel the principals of patience, acceptance, trust, surrender and all within the context of the business environment. Thank you

On Sep 10, 2012 Cindy wrote:
This article tells the secret of my life. I cannot help seeing the garden in every organization I am involved with. I, too, love the wild thing sentence, but just now, I am truly touched and inspired with hope by this sentence: "For the gardener, composting is a transformative act - whereby last season's clippings (or failures) can become next year's source of vigor.". Thank you.

On Sep 12, 2012 Mackey wrote:
 I just want to say thank you.  You speak to my personal experience with eloquence. The Natural world is a quiet teacher beyond measure

On Sep 13, 2012 Linda wrote:
 "A gardener sees the world as a system of interdependent parts - where healthy, sustaining relationships are essential to the vitality of the whole."  It is so in all relational groups... in business, in play, in love, and in families, intimate or extended.  Thank you.  Linda

On Sep 15, 2012 Lucky Penne wrote:
-=- Spiritual development germinates not from seed sown in the soil of material hopes, but when these decay, Love propagates anew the higher joys of Spirit, which have no taint of earth. Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love. [Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures] -=- 

A picture is worth a thousand words: 
https://www.facebook.com/SowingSeedsofGratitude/photos

On Sep 21, 2012 Asif wrote:
 This is a really nice article. What i learned recently is to read and learn something again, it just helps overall with understanding and absorbing the information

On Oct 16, 2018 liuchunkai wrote:

 20181017lck

stephen curry shoes uggs outlet saucony shoes coach outlet pandora jewelry michael kors outlet givenchy handbags jeep shoes christian louboutin shoes canada goose outlet true religion jeans mont blanc pens cheap jerseys dansko shoes manchester united jersey ferragamo outlet nike tennis nets jerseys swarovski outlet air jordan 12 ugg boots polo ralph lauren yeezy boost ugg outlets chrome hearts outlet uggs outlet michael kors outlet ray ban sunglasses ugg outlet uggs outlet ugg outlet jordan shoes golden goose sneakers nhl jerseys polo ralph lauren mulberry handbags moncler outlet true religion jeans hermes outlet balenciaga sneakers toms shoes canada goose jackets nike shoes ray ban sunglasses michael kors outlet gucci outlet keen shoes tory burch handbags ray ban sunglasses coach outlet coach outlet online air max 90 nike cortez coach outlet ray ban sunglasses ugg boots michael kors outlet christian louboutin boutique ray ban sunglasses ugg outlet moncler outlet canada goose outlet kobe shoes ugg boots pandora outlet pandora charms nike air force 1 ferragamo shoes ray ban sunglasses ugg outlet basketball shoes polo outlet nike revolution adidas ultra boost ugg outlet mizuno running shoes nike outlet red bottom shoes cheap jordans ray ban outlet canada goose jackets timberwolves jerseys air jordan 3 soccer jerseys giuseppe zanotti outlet herve leger outlet coach outlet online wizards jerseys air huarache coach outlet coach canada nike outlet raptors jerseys cheap nfl jerseys nba jerseys polo ralph lauren air jordan shoes san antonio spurs jerseys houston texans jerseys ugg outlet fitflops oakley sunglasses heat jerseys swarovski outlet ugg outlet coach outlet nike air max 2015 nike lunarglide coach outlet coach outlet oakley sunglasses birkenstock outlet coach outlet ugg outlet pandora jordan shoes cleveland cavaliers jersey ralph lauren polo shirts jordan shoes coach outlet online ferragamo outlet christian louboutin outlet michael kors outlet michael kors canada goose outlet air force 1 canada goose coats canada goose outlet christian louboutin outlet coach outlet converse shoes ugg boots clearance gucci outlet adidas uk michael kors outlet clearance cavaliers jerseys air max longchamp outlet coach factory outlet links of london mulberry bags christian louboutin outlet polo ralph lauren air jordan retro red bottom shoes christian louboutin outlet yeezy boost 350 swarovski outlet michael kors outlet north face jackets polo ralph lauren fitflops outlet canada goose outlet longchamp solde mulberry outlet nike factory outlet minnetonka outlet true religion outlet fitflops sale prada shoes adidas nmd michael kors outlet nike shoes bulls jerseys kate spade outlet ugg outlet knicks jerseys kate spade outlet polo outlet michael kors outlet mulberry bags michael kors handbags celine outlet visvim shoes mbt shoes canada goose coats uggs outlet hawks jerseys adidas outlet supreme clothing christian louboutin outlet coach outlet camel shoes christian louboutin outlet canada goose canada goose outlet gucci handbags ugg boots clearance burberry outlet michael kors handbags oakley sunglasses longchamp bags san francisco 49ers jerseys hermes belt celtics jerseys uggs outlet true religion uk manolo blahnik outlet cheap jordans jordan shoes mbt shoes nike free scarpe mbt true religion jeans adidas nmd air huarache bvlgari jewelry canada goose outlet fitflops sale clearance uggs outlet kate spade outlet ugg boots true religion jeans new york knicks jersey coach outlet online moncler outlet nba jerseys ray ban sunglasses ray ban sunglasses ugg outlet michael kors outlet cheap jordans ralph lauren polo true religion outlet hermes birkin cheap football shirts cheap jordans cheap nfl jerseys palladium boots true religion jeans mulberry handbags air jordan 4 air max 97 ugg outlet clarks shoes pandora jewelry coach outlet mulberry handbags cheap jordans michael kors outlet coach factory outlet tory burch outlet ferragamo outlet oakley sunglasses lebron james shoes ugg outlet kate spade outlet adidas trainers canada goose outlet kate spade outlet nike roshe one ugg outlet nike shoes oakley sunglasses michael kors outlet suicoke sandals true religion jeans moncler outlet pandora charms cheap nhl jerseys coach outlet tory burch outlet ugg boots coach outlet online ferragamo outlet under armour outlet christian louboutin outlet off-white oakley sunglasses chrome hearts sunglasses fitflops sale nuggets jerseys coach outlet ralph lauren outlet burberry outlet kate spade outlet canada goose outlet football shirts canada goose outlet adidas crazy jazz jerseys moncler jackets adidas wings chelsea jersey canada goose outlet louboutin pas cher polo outlet kate spade outlet longchamp outlet coach outlet michael kors outlet pandora charms longchamp handbags nike revolution longchamp solde montblanc pens cheap jordans fred perry polo shirts cheap mlb jerseys coach outlet 20181017lck