What being a plant dad has taught me

It's not a bad seed, it might just be bad soil

Happy Sunday, and thanks for opening today’s newsletter. 😊 

If you’ve been following me on TikTok or Instagram, you’d know that I recently got back from a trip to Europe, where I published 2 newsletters from a different time zone. Last week’s newsletter came out on Saturday at 9 pm EST instead of Sunday 9 am EST, so it wasn’t without trouble. 😂 

It feels good to be back at my desk, back in my regular writing process to reflect and publish this week’s message.

How community breeds success

This week, I’ve been reflecting on growth and something that I talked about in a blog post maybe about a year ago when reflecting on my time at Berklee College of Music. It’s not on thelifeofjlowe.com website, but it exists on justinlowemusic.com.

I titled that blog post “How Community Breeds Success” because my experience was so unique being surrounded by the best of the best musicians in the world, all with a similar passion.

This week, I’ve been thinking a bit more about that from a career/personal success perspective, as has been the theme of my thoughts in the past few weeks, and I want to use the word “environment” instead of “community”.

Do you think your seeds are lazy?

As some of you may know, one of my recent pastimes has been maintaining a small backyard garden. I’ve been growing scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, hibiscus flowers and periwinkles. Over the summer of last year, I even grew a whole sunflower from just a seed. That was genuinely one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in the past year.

As a plant dad, I’ve learnt that it’s my responsibility to put the seeds or shoots in the right conditions so that they can grow. If I put them in a pot and they’re not growing, I have to either change the soil, change the location of where the pot is so they get more sunlight, or maybe water them more often.

Here’s the thought that’s been on my mind:

“If you plant a seed and it doesn’t grow, you don’t get upset at the seed and think, “What a lazy seed!” but more logically, you think that maybe the conditions of the soil or the weather are not right for it to grow.”

Why do we think of ourselves as any different from seeds?

What’s the difference between me and a seed?

As people, in reality, we are just like seeds. Our parents or caregivers do their best to provide the right environment for us to grow into what they’d like us to become. Our environment, the stimuli that we’re exposed to, and the things that are intentionally put into our lives are the factors that shape who we are.

But there is a huge difference between humans and seeds (well, actually there are many 😅 😂 ) which is that we can move. 😱 

And on top of that, we eventually get to a point in our lives where we have to take care of ourselves and have to choose the environments that we’re in that will subsequently facilitate our growth. And that has to be an intentional choice that we make to continue to grow.

Otherwise, you can find yourself planted in an environment that stunts your growth.

Or worse, you can end up in an environment where you begin to wither.

Check your environment, check your soil!

I began to realize that unless I intentionally put myself in environments, circles of people and communities that facilitate my growth, I’ll never get to where I want to be in life.

So I encourage you to check yourselves and check the environment that you’re putting yourselves in and ensure that it is an environment that will facilitate your growth.

You’re not a lazy seed, you’re in bad soil

The other part of my thought process here is not just to find the right environment, but to make sure that if you decide that you’re not in the right environment, you’re not blaming yourself for not growing. It often is not your fault that you’re not in the right environment for you to experience maximum growth.

That environment may mean being far away from home and disconnected from everyone you know, or it might be in a small town a few hours away from where you grew up. It might even be right at home, where your entire family is.

And yes, I want to be clear that I’m talking about a physical environment just as much as I’m referring to abstract environments like communities of people and friendships.

Pick your environment for the season of life that you’re in

Where you are in the world as a person can affect your growth because, like various soils, it might not have the right set of conditions that you need to grow at that point in time.

This caveat here is important, because at various points in your life, you’re gonna need different things. For teenagers, sometimes going off to college in another state or country is what they need to grow. For adults, maybe moving back home to raise their family is what they need to grow. For a single person or newlywed couple, maybe being a nomad travelling the world is what they need to grow.

Various points of your life will call for different environments to provide the support that you need at that point in time. Sometimes you’ll need independence, but a few years later you might need old close friends and family. So think not just about what environment you need, but think about the timing of yourself being in that environment as well.

The season of life that you’re in can dictate what environment is best for you to experience growth.

Conclusion

So don’t beat yourself up if you feel stuck. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not growing as a person right now.

Recognize that it may be your environment, not you, that’s stunting your growth.

If you come to that conclusion, take steps to provide yourself with the right environment, whether that means moving or going somewhere new.

Sometimes, that’s all you need to start your next chapter of growth in life.

Sometimes you’re just not being watered properly, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad seed.

Have a great week, and if you haven’t yet, subscribe to receive my newsletter every Sunday at 9:00 am EST!

Check out this training newsletter called Sunday Coffee too - they have great tips and tactics on how to improve your health, energy and quality of life.

Until next Sunday,
J

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