“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” -Seneca
A few weeks ago, I went raspberry picking with my family and some friends. We drove ½ an hour out of the city to a carefully-tended organic farm for a lovely lazy afternoon.
In the cool shaded hut where we got our picking buckets, the owner instructed us on where and how to find the best berries.
“Look down low,” he recommended. “That’s where there are the most”.
Out we went into the bright summer day – pleasantly warm, with enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable.
My kids scampered off with their friends, and I wandered down a row.
Looking for hidden fruit
The plants were well tended, trained along long wire supports. But there weren’t very many berries that I could see easily. There were some low on the plants, as the owner had said, but even those were pretty sparse.
Searching low to the ground, that vantage point showed me something new: there was a hidden cache of fruit hidden within the middle of most of the bushes.
As I pushed aside the wide leaves, I could see handfuls of raspberries hanging in clumps, ready and waiting to be picked.
But in order to get those jewels, I had to stick my arm right into the thorniest parts of the plant.
Over and under the scratchy branches, I carefully wove myself. As I went down the row, I repeatedly found fruit buried within the inside most reaches of the plant that others had missed, or been unwilling to reach for.
Lessons from raspberries
Beyond my delight in tracking down more of these delicate fruits, a couple of insights about leading social change came to me out there in the raspberry bushes:
- What we most want – the tasty rewards, in life and in work – are often only accessible by getting a few scratches.
- Being willing to look past what is obvious, and diving right into the middle of some thorns, is where the rewards lie.
- We need patience, persistence, and curiosity – and the willingness to accumulate at least some mild scratches – in order to reach our goals.
- Even when the task appears unfruitful, changing our perspective so we can look at the issue from a different angle, can produce new insights and results.
And our buckets full of fruit, we went home to make jam with our sweet rewards.
In the Comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts:
- What parts of my story resonate with you?
- Where do you need to be willing to tolerate some scratches in order to get the result you want?
(And if you want a taste of me live, I’d love it if you’d join me for a free webinar Tuesday August 18th, 12-1pm CT/1-2pm ET. Beyond raspberry jam, I’ll be sharing my thoughts from 20 years of experience on three essentials that leaders need to stay focused, inspired and sane while getting the important work done.)
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Photo credit: Pixabay