But then it gets hard. Rules change, markets change, the economy changes, and people with new ideas come along. If we haven’t been paying attention and adding to our knowledge and skills, we find ourselves getting cynical and resentful and frustrated. It affects our attitudes and our production. Over time, we end up feeling as if we missed an opportunity or that there’s more we should be doing, but we’ve become comfortable in our situation and can’t see a way out. That’s how the weeds in our life take over. We become hardened in our attitude, just like this soil in the field.
The last two years in WordPress have been hard ones for many people I know. I’ve talked to people that are struggling to find work. One person that is about to lose their house. Others that left building sites for jobs in non-computer related fields.
There has been a change going on, and many people haven’t kept up with it. Where it was easy to get work, it’s now harder. The low hanging fruit is gone, and we need to reframe what we do and how we tell people we do it.
In this context The Success Grower, by Mark Schinnerer1, gives us a useful framework for how to work on ourselves and our businesses. The Success Grower is not a marketing book, or a sales book. The Success Grower is about how to grow yourself through the changes that will inevitably come you way in your field.
Schinnerer wraps his Eight Elements needed to grow in a great story. A story of a man that has been successful at work and through anger takes his vacation to get away from it all.
On that journey he gets stuck in a town and encounters a farmer that teaches him the principles of The Success Grower.
Those eight principles are:
- Fertile Soil – Fertile Mind
- Focus on the Harvest
- Plant Seeds for a Bountiful Harvest
- Water and Fertilize for Healthy Growth
- Cultivate Your Mind and Plans
- Storms Happen
- Harvest is a Marker
- Mentor and Mastermind
Let’s take a look at the eight elements in more detail.
Element One: Fertile Soil — Fertile Mind
Like the soil, the mind has a limitless potential for ever-increasing productivity. Care and nurturing are required. It must be fed new knowledge and insights in order for it to grow. If it is neglected and left to its own desires, it becomes a wasteland and produces very little of worth, which some will call mediocrity.
This morning I talked with the barista’s at my favourite Starbucks about learning. There were two types working here. First, the students, who are reading their course material and not much else. Second, those who finished their work and haven’t touched a book since.
I can’t blame the students for not reading much, if anything, outside their course work. There is a lot of reading to do, and you have to choose what you’ll spend your time on.
I do blame the finished students though for not keeping up their knowledge growth. The most significant indicator I’ve seen of success is continuous learning. According to Schinnerer, we have to cut down the weeds in our thoughts to grow, and the only way to do that is to continue to expose ourselves to ideas outside of our comfort zone.
How are you continuing to prepare your mind to accept new ideas? Remember, the single biggest skill that will predict your freelance success, is making good decisions. How will you make a better decision tomorrow?
Success isn’t measured in the end result, it’s measured in the little progress you make every day, and the course changes or corrections you make when faced with an obstacle.
If you want success, you must make one more little step every day.
Element 2: Focus on the Harvest
In the moment it’s easy to do what is the…easiest. It’s easier to not get up at 0445 and run to the coffee shop leaving a perfectly good car sitting at home. It’s easier to let my kids watch TV all the time.
But neither of those things will mean that I’m building a body that can keep up with my kids as I get older. They won’t mean that I’m building resilient kids that can stand up to what life will throw at them.
If you want to focus on the harvest, you need to know where you’re going. You need to have a plan for your life. You need to have a why behind your actions. A why that keeps you going in the midst of the struggles that will come your
Nothing has been achieved in the history of man that wasn’t first a dream.
Then, you need to take that why and come up with the actions that it’s going to take to get there. You need to do those actions day in day out looking back at your why when you don’t feel like doing them.
Obstacles in life are around to test your learning and your resolve. Does your why beat any obstacles that come your way?
Element 3: Plant Seeds for a Bountiful Harvest
After your why you need the actions to accomplish it. The things you do day in day out, because they’re putting you on the path to achieve your goals.
There’s so much negative thought and conversation in the world today, you must combat it with positive and encouraging thoughts. You do that by reading good books. Read every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, but do it every day.
This is why I read for an hour 5-days a week. Because it’s one of the actions that will help me grow.
Your life is not a hobby. You must have a purpose for your growth and learning. We work on our hobbies when we have time. To have a successful life, you need to commit to continual learning and personal growth.
Planting seeds is why I work hard to have a phone or face-to-face meeting with someone every week to talk about coaching. It’s why I write these book reviews and more on my site. The writing and thinking continue to plant seeds to draw people towards me.
What seeds are you planting week in week out? Are they intentional?
Element 4: Water and Fertilize for Healthy Growth
Once you stop learning, you no longer will be able to see with clarity the path you are on, and the influences of the world around you will begin to creep in and overtake you.
Learning isn’t something you do just at the beginning; it’s something you must continue. Like the Barista’s I spoke of at the beginning. You must continue to water and fertilize your mind and experiences if you want to get to a bountiful harvest.
Element 5: Cultivate Your Mind and Plans
Cultivating your mind isn’t just attacking the weeds that come up, it is the constant, ongoing process of adding good, positive ideas and thoughts.
One of the best articles I’ve read is called The Other Side is Not Dumb, which talks us off the ledge around calling anyone that doesn’t agree with us idiots.
They often aren’t and demonizing them as idiots is only a way to make us smug and assured that we can’t make mistakes. The intellectually honest way to approach this is to engage with the “other side” and weigh the merits of their position.
Maybe they haven’t thought it out. It’s also possible that you haven’t thought out your position and it is you that is wrong.
Element 6: Storms
As in all things, a choice will be required of you. Will you choose to let the storm destroy your life and plans, or will you choose to build a shelter from the storm and pick up after it is over to keep moving forward? The only way to weather a storm is to go through it.
Nothing in life is all smooth sailing. There are bumps and tumbles. Look at the legs of any child to see how many bumps and bruises come along in life. A fault we all have is that we expect to waltz to success like it’s some musical.
Oh, we may acknowledge that issues will come up, but if you plan doesn’t have issues, and how to deal with them in it, you’re not ready to succeed.
Any action plan to get to our why should have potential roadblocks listed and how you’ll deal with them. If you don’t have that in place, then don’t expect to hit your goals. Expect to hit roadblocks and not know how to deal with them2.
Expect to be derailed.
Element 7: Harvest
A harvest is merely a marker. It is not and should not be the singular aim of your efforts.
I aspire to be the author and speaker and coach I see in 5-years. But in 5-years, that person will still be 5-years in the future. I don’t see myself reaching a point where I can’t hone my craft. My book reviews continue to get better and I continue to become a better writer.
It’s important to recognize that a harvest is only a marker. It’s also important to recognize that marker. How are you celebrating your success? When I publish a book, I stop and have a small celebration with my family.
Then I get back at writing and researching for the next project.
Element 8: Mentor and Mastermind
In all of time, great success has come to those who seek out the wisdom of those who have travelled the path of success before them. To pass on the knowledge of maneuvering through obstacles and challenges in order to help another reach their goal is the ultimate achievement of success.
Who do you look to? I’ve said before that I look up to Ryan Holiday and Mark Manson as writers. I read their stuff and take a few moments to dissect why I like it. To ask myself what about their style and tone I enjoy. Then, how does my style and tone match up to that ideal, while keeping my own voice.
I can’t get their time in a 1-on-1 fashion, but I can use them as yardsticks to measure myself against.
Recommendation for The Success Grower
I’ll be honest, I’ve heard all of the principles above before. I’ve read them in many books and I’ve written them.
The thing that sets The Success Grower apart from other books is the story. They way the lessons are woven through the life of two people as they experience things together brings the learning to heart. It sticks.
Yes, I recommend that you read The Success Grower. This is not just a good book for a first time author, this is a great book to help you take things you already may know and internalize them.
Photo by: brent_nashville
- I did an interview with Mark on his book which you can listen to. ↩
- My 8 Week Business BootCamp deals with how to account for roadblocks. You should join us so you can get on track in your business. ↩