Working with plants each day is a delightful adventure. I grow, cook, tincture, and heal with plants. Learning their individual personalities as they grow, their preferences, and how to best use them provides hours of entertainment. With all the variety at my disposal it perhaps might come as a surprise that one that is most useful and most inspirational is one I don't have to plant or tend, and that is reviled by lawn-owners throughout America – the common Dandelion.
I love the writing by Colleen Murtagh Paratore in her children's book Sunny Holiday about dandelions. She starts the book with a whole chapter ode to them. "Do dandelions need a fancy-pants garden? No, dandelions do not. They need dirt, air, and rain. And no matter how hard things ever get, those sunny little lions grow... you just can't keep a dandelion down."
As life has moved along I've found the dandelion to be one of the most virtuous flowers I know, and a great teacher. I'm an independent entrepreneur which is not an easy path, and has been as much about personal growth as business to me. I have needed strength, determination, perseverance, and good humor. There isn't a much better example of these traits than a dandelion.
They put down a long, strong root that can survive stomping, mowing, ripping, drought, and other insults. When they encounter adversity they generally grow right back. They bloom despite location – in fields and in sidewalks and wherever they can find a scrap of dirt. Their leaves, roots, flowers, and seeds all have uses, making them valuable to all those that care to see and partake. Despite the adversities they may face they create sunny yellow smiles and wishes.
Each day when I get up and continue to pursue my entrepreneurial projects I try to approach it with the spirit of a dandelion. I make the best of each and every situation handed to me and look for my scrap of dirt, sun, and rain even when things look really slim. This perseverance to me is the difference between those that survive in small business and those that do not. I'm of the school that you've never truly failed until you've given up. As long as you're still trying then you're still on your way to success. Sometimes things seem pretty stalled and lean. But if you've got your determination, your root, planted deep you can find a way to keep growing.
Too often folks convince themselves they can't make it or can't start because something isn't "just right." They think they can't get the space they want, don't have enough money, or don't have the time. In the 12 years since I started out on my own I've seen many people give up too easily as well. Most of the entrepreneurs who I know started basically with nothing and their ideas, so we're fine proof that perseverance can be more important than financial resources.
Success is virtually assured if you approach your problems with the determination of a dandelion. All you need is one crack in the sidewalk. Don't pass yours up, get in there to bloom and beam.
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