Let’s say you have decided to make a major life change in order to lead a happier and more satisfied life. You quit your job and move to the country. You are following your dream of growing your own fruits and vegetables to sustain your family, as well as to sell at the local market.
It’s been a stressful time. Big changes always are. You constantly doubt yourself and question if you did the right thing. You are taking all the steps you can think of to make your dream a reality. You have made a plan and you are going to see it through, weeds and all.
You know relatively little about growing produce on a larger scale, but are willing to learn. You have found a mentor and are working with them to grow your first crops. You are taking agricultural courses to increase your knowledge.
Now you are starting to feel good about your decision to change, and are more confident in your abilities as a farmer. Your first crops are planted; you tend them daily, and are anxiously awaiting your first harvest.
But nothing grows.
You water, weed and fertilize. You consult with your mentor and do research on the internet.
And still nothing grows.
Your doubts creep back in to your mind and your stress levels increase. What have I done? How could I have been so arrogant as to think I could make this happen? Why did I do this?
You begin to believe you have failed, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
When you take that first brave step into the great unknown, you have to remember 2 very important things: you had the courage to take the step in the first place, and it’s called the ‘unknown’ for a reason.
Even when you think you have planned for every contingency, covered every angle, and imagined every outcome, the world will still throw some surprises your way. How you handle these new challenges is what will make the difference along your path to achieving your goal.
When things go wrong, or not how you expected, always ask yourself ‘What can I learn from this?’. This is not the time to quit or give up on your dream.
In the example of trying to grow your own produce, you may learn:
This job requires patience.
Nature is complicated.
The soil needed better preparation.
You need to gain more experience and knowledge.
Every day we learn in more subtle ways, from activities as simple as a paper cut. It stings, and you would prefer not to have it happen again. You should be more careful next time. Life constantly tries to teach us knew things and provide us with new experiences. Actually applying those learnings is the key to success.
Be patient. Accept that nature has its own plan. Learn to prepare the soil properly. Help at another farm to gain experience. Be more careful when handling paper documents.
Think about the obstacles you are learning from on your journey to a more fulfilled life. Always be looking for ways to learn and grow. Be kind to yourself as you are your own worst critic. Sometimes the most important learning will be the realization that you are on the wrong path and need to take a different fork in the road.