As the weather warms up gently, the blossom appears on the trees and spring flowers party riotously in the breeze, my daughter’s thoughts always turn to tomatoes.
Trinity loves tomatoes, to the extent where I’ve actually caught myself saying ‘stop eating tomatoes and eat your pizza’ before now. She also loves gardening with daddy, so springtime means weekend gardening, seed and plant-buying trips to the garden centre and the prospect of home-grown juicy tomatoes after months of daily checking on their progress.
Observing her (increasingly patient) watching and waiting for the tomatoes to appear and ripen every year makes me think of how the tomato growing process is a lot like our dreams and goals in life. We need to decide what we want, prepare the ground, check the timing is favourable, plant the right seeds, water the ground, protect and support the growing plants, and wait attentively for the results.
Let’s say Jane decides she wants to get fit and lose two stone. She prepares the ground by getting rid of the junk food in her cupboards, stocking up on healthy ingredients and joining a friendly weight loss support group on Facebook. She knows that she has time to get fit enough to run a 5k with her friend in a couple of months and she plants the seeds by beginning to follow a recommended eating plan suitable to her needs and going out running twice a week, building her mileage very gradually. Her mood soars and she loses 3lbs in a fortnight. The shoots of her tomato plant dream are poking through the surface of the soil. She is delighted.
The next week, Jane has a bad day and ends up comfort eating a big bar of chocolate in the evening. She doesn’t go running because the weather is atrocious and her colleague, who is also losing weight, announces she has lost half a stone. Jane stops looking at how well she has done so far, worries she hasn’t lost as much as her colleague and starts focusing on how far she still has to go to reach her goal. She forgets how good she felt last week and gives up.
If Jane had been planting real, not metaphorical, tomatoes, would she have looked at those brave green shoots reaching out for the sun and stamped all over them because they were not the juicy red fruits she was waiting for? Of course not! She would have celebrated their appearance, watered them regularly and protected them from frost. She would have checked on them every day, supported them as they grew and known that the delicate yellow flower appearing heralded the imminent arrival of what she had been waiting for. And when the tomatoes finally came and ripened, she would have enjoyed what were literally the fruits of her labour.
It’s very easy to forget that our dreams and goals require a ‘little and often’ waiting game approach. There’s much excitement at the beginning of the journey, and much attention at the end. But checking and watering your tomato plants every day is all part of the fun, and will make the biggest difference to your end result. And when you’re standing in the warm sunshine, with the sweet juice of the first home-grown tomato of summer dribbling down your chin, you’ll be so glad you stuck with it.
What are YOUR metaphorical tomatoes? How can you tend to them today?
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And if you need help with your dream-tomato growing, let’s chat.
© Straightforward Coaching, 2014