I’ve been beating myself up a bit lately over some work.
I had a client that I was doing some significant work for each month, and it was a long-running engagement. However, with the new year came a new direction, and that working relationship was paused.
I know it was not a reflection on my work. I know that businesses change directions. I know an element of it was beyond my control. But still I am struggling with the shift from a well-oiled machine with significant success one minute, and then a shut door the next minute… and to be honest it makes me doubt that what I had accomplished was special.
I keep thinking of what I could’ve done differently to try to save it. Should I have pronounced the progress more publicly? Should I have found more efficiency within the program? Should I have established more communication points… or maybe less? It’s a difficult feeling to rumble with.
All this leads to Seth Godin’s post today about Skill vs Planning.
Basically, if you’re planting orange trees in Ottawa, they aren’t easy to grow and thrive. So when they die (which they most likely will) you can either beat yourself up, burn yourself out and say “I’m a bad gardener” or you can plant a crop that grows well in Ottawa, or move to a place where oranges do well. Seth closes with this:
“But don’t beat yourself up just because the climate doesn’t match your seeds.”
And that helps.
The legend of Johnny Appleseed says that he traversed America, spreading apple seeds everywhere. Now I’m sure some took root and grew and produced fruit for generations. But I have to believe that some did not. Regardless, it didn’t stop Johnny Appleseed from moving forward, walking on, and planting more seeds.
So that’s what’s next for me. Realize that the climate wasn’t right for the seeds that I was planting, and to keep going forth, and planting more awesome.