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Lets dig in! The art of cultivating your life and your garden

tidy patio and garden, with plants flourishing

As a coach, I use metaphors regularly to help clients to think about a situation in a more abstract way. This can be useful when you struggle to find the right words, or in a group coaching conversation where you may not want to share too much about yourself. Metaphor allows you to talk through your situation with others, in a safe way.

A garden is a great metaphor to reflect on different aspects of your life, perhaps you will notice areas you want to prioritise to help with your personal growth. As Spring arrives, I find myself looking into my garden, with my first coffee of the day, making a mental list of all the things I need to do so that the garden looks great over the summer. Sometimes this feels a little overwhelming, and after the first couple of weekends of digging and tidying, I realise I probably need to set a more realistic and achievable plan for the next few months! At the same time I am planning how I am going to utilise the lighter evenings to go for a run, start up Pilates again, or see my friends more!

Rather than take the approach above, here are some thinking points to use this metaphor to reflect on your life and plan your focus and the steps you might need to take to achieve it. Which area of your garden is flourishing, and which part needs some attention?

Nurturing Growth - A garden requires regular care and tending, fertiliser, water, and sunlight. If you plant young plants too close together, they may not grow well, as they feel crowded, and compete for nutrients, space and sunlight. Similarly, your ideas flourish with the right care and attention, making sure the conditions are right, and there is space for that growth. Seeking help from a coach to maximise growth might be a step you need to take.

Unexpected challenges - Inclement weather and/or pests can interfere with your gardening plans, and despite your best efforts some plants may not survive. Life also throws in these curveballs, so adapt where you can, or recognise when something is not going to work or is out of your control. Managing through these set backs, developing your resilience and patience, is all part of the personal growth journey!

Seasonal patterns - A garden changes through the year, with blossom in Spring, Summer growth, Autumn harvest, and Winter rest. It is easy to forget to take periods of rest, so build in time for you, so you can reflect and recharge. We can't be in full bloom all year round, without damage being caused.

Tending to roots - Healthy plants have strong roots, making them resilient to harsh weather and drawing on more nutrients from the soil. In life, feeling connected and laying down social roots to create a support network is vital. Connection to the world around us, feeling purpose in what we do, aligned to our values, helps to build resilience, and is part of a healthy self care routine.

Pruning and letting go - Some of the plants in your garden will be growing really well, but will need pruning to encourage new growth, removing overgrown sections that might be impacting on other plants. Life regularly needs a similar approach, such as letting go of a relationship that is toxic, or a negative belief or habit that has started to hold us back. By doing this, you create space for new positive experiences.

A garden reminds us that the seasonal cycle is important to maintain a healthy balance, and that growth needs some aspect of planning and reflection to be successful. So consider how well you look after your own life garden, what you will focus on, and what you will let go of, and look forward to seeing the new shoots appearing in the Spring!



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