If you’ve been along for this Healthy Home Biz ride for long enough, you know by now that I garden.
I weed, dig, hoe, plant, harvest, prune, transplant, mulch, water, fertilize and thin. I love digging in the dirt and eating the results of this hard work.
But why I garden isn’t simply because I’m a foodie and love working with my hands outdoors.
My garden serves a very strategic role in my home business success.
So as a foundational part of this series on nutrition and your home business, I’m going to start with some good reasons to get out there and dig a little patch of your backyard up.
If you have no backyard to dig into, keep reading since I offer a couple of suggestions at the end. They might take a little more effort but by the time you’re done, you may decide it’s worth it.
If you have some yard space but think gardening is not for you – still keep reading. You may decide by the end that there’s no excuse not to try your hand and discover your green thumb.
Chew on these reasons for a bit like you would a good carrot pulled right from the dirt and hosed off before you can even reach the kitchen. Bite into these ideas like you would a fresh tomato. And nibble on the wisdom here like you would a tender lettuce leaf . . . You’ll find some nourishment that goes far beyond nutrition.
Why Garden Reason #1: Good Fuel
As I noted in the last post What We Eat Is Our Business, good food can make or break your business. It’s the fuel you put in your gas tank each morning when you get going building your empire.
We invest in courses, software, hardware and a nice desk. We might hire people to help us get more done. Or subcontract companies to grow bigger.
But nothing happens without you. Sure, you may take a day off. But ultimately your energy is what energizes your business.
For this reason, I pay keen attention to what I put into my body. (And as I teach in the Nutrition To Fuel Your Home Business module, it doesn’t have to an obsessive process!)
By gardening I gain tremendous control over the quality of my food. Nutritionally-speaking, my garden produce outpaces even organic farmer’s market fare in 3 important ways:
1.) It’s grown under optimum conditions for nutrition – organically with high quality soil;
2.) It’s harvested at the peak of ripeness for the best nutrition;
3.) I eat it within minutes (at most a couple hours) of harvesting so its nutritional content is at its peak.
And despite my belief in the use of nutritional supplements, nothing compares with fresh, whole food.
Why Garden Reason #2: Taste That Can Make You A Changed Person
One of the hazards of working at home is the munchies. These gremlins will grab you and pull you away from your desk into the kitchen on a moment’s notice. You may feel helpless to do anything about these attackers.
Well, there is something you can do – Turn them into a home business asset. Make snack attacks help you refocus and refuel.
I describe how to do this effectively in my post, How To Turn Your Kitchen Into A Healthy Home Biz Asset.
When you have a garden, you can turn these snacks into truly luxurious experiences. Just the other day, faced with a boatload of footnotes to finish, I took 5 minutes and fortified myself with a bowl of just-picked strawberries.
Needless to say, the footnotes were easily defeated when I returned to work.
And the interesting thing about a garden is that it can transform yucky vegetables into something you’ll savor. Years ago a friend of mine was shocked to see her 3-year-old munching happily on the beans he picked off my vines. She’d never been able to get him to go near anything green, especially beans.
Okay, so nutrition and delicious snack breaks are kind of obvious. And I’ll get into a few nutritional pointers over the next few posts.
But there are some other not so obvious reasons why gardening can be a home business owner’s secret weapon extraordinaire . . .
Why Garden Reason #3: Balance In An Overly Virtual World
While my neighbor’s home business is a farm, most of us home business owners are working in computerland. We’re online most of the day, checking stats, composing on Word and networking on social media.
It’s easy to get lost there.
Getting outdoors is a good antidote for becoming too virtual . . . Getting physical is even better . . .
And gardening goes a step further. It’s a small act of physically taking care of your material needs.
When you grow your own food you insert yourself back in a process that goes back to the origins of life. Simply put, you’re working on survival at its barest.
Now this may not seem to have any immediate relevance to your work as an internet marketer or designing websites. But it does. It helps you keep perspective on the ultimate goal of having a business – supporting your life.
And you’ll be surprised at how a little dose of grounded wisdom shifts how you problem-solve, market yourself, interact with clients and more.
Why Garden Reason #4: Control Over Your Life
Owning my business and working at home has given me control over my life. I can set my hours and schedule. I can set my income goals and do what I need to do to get to them. I can decide who I talk to and when.
My little farm gives me even more power over my life. We raise most of our meat, fruits and vegetables right in our backyard. I know that no matter what happens, I can still feed my family.
It gives me flexibility when it comes to household expenses. I know that even if business slows, our food quality won’t go down.
And when it comes down to it, it gives me a sense of relative safety. Growing up in the United States, I’ve experienced the rare human luxuries of security and predictability. However any student of history knows that many cultures have had this experience only to hit hard times unexpectedly.
I have enough friends and family who have lived through all kinds of terrible upheavals to know that what we’re experiencing now is rare.
So while it’s not a complete safety net, gardening is something. I have control over my food that will help me weather many disasters. And if push comes to shove, I have skills that go beyond tapping into a computer. And these skills I can take anywhere.
Why Garden Reason #5: Respite And Restoration When Stress Hits Hard
Sometimes life gets very stressful. Crunch times hit and you feel yourself struggling to breathe.
Getting out into my garden to weed, listen to the birds and simply observe the dramas of life outside of my own gives me much needed peace and perspective. Even just a ten-minute break can restore me.
As corporations, hospitals and even NASA have discovered, green mixed with some moderate physical activity is a powerful stress-buster.
And speaking of physical activity . . .
Why Garden Reason #6: Activity That Energizes And Trims You Down
As you’ve discovered by now, one of Your Healthy Home Biz’s core principle is that fitness fits best into your workday by making it an integral part of your workday. Not a separate hour at the gym.
It’s a key piece of the strategy I go over in the course on Sneaking Fitness Into Your Workday.
And gardening is another way to do this. Instead of getting in your car and driving to the supermarket to get some greens, what if you simply put a little work into digging up your backyard and planting some seeds. Within a month – with some moderate work every day or so to start and maintain your garden – you’ll have a nice salad.
And you’ll get some nice calorie-burn as well.
Digging, moving, pushing a wheelbarrow, raking, hoeing, weeding, crouching, standing up . . . gardening gets you moving. It’s amazing to me that we spend so much money on gyms and then spend even more on paying people to do the work around our house that would get us in shape in the first place. What a double loss of income and fitness!
Why Garden Reason #7: The Long-Lost Art Of Problem-Solving
I love this one. I spent years going to “all the best schools” only to realize I’d learned how not to think. I’d been taught very well to doubt my own observations and solutions in deference to published documents that I could reference as authorities on the topic at hand.
I’d learned all kinds of formulas and equations in math, chemistry and biology. I could quote all kinds of experts. But I didn’t really know how to look and put these bits of knowledge into practice.
With all my great education I had lost the art of solving problems.
Gardening – however – has helped me restore my true scientific capacities. Every day I’m confronted by new problems. Every day I make new discoveries. In the garden I have to experiment, watch carefully, try again, shift and try something else.
It’s a terrific place to exercise your brain in a way that so many of us are forgetting in this easy age of information.
And this extends way beyond gardening. If you read my health marketing/copywriting ezine, Healthy Copy Ideas, you’ll find that I regularly draw lessons from weeding, chickens and pigs that I gleefully (and effectively) apply to marketing. Who would’ve thunk it!
Why Garden Reason #8: Strengthen Your Immunity The Easy Way
Now everything I’ve listed so far will help in this – but there is a particular reason gardening will really get your immune system pumping . . . Imagine not having to worry about losing business because you’re sick!
In just 20 minutes of sitting in the sun in your bathing suit you can generate 10,000 I.U. of vitamin D. I could write 100 articles about this special nutrient that we make in our skin when we’re in the sun. But suffice it to say, it’s the trigger and essential ingredient for innumerable immune system reactions. It does everything from tell your T-cells to multiply when an invader is detected to spurring the cells in your gums and lungs to produce antibiotics.
Without it your defenses won’t work.
So why not get make some D while mulching your cabbage? Just 20 minutes in a tank top and you’ll be getting close to that 10,000 I.U.
Why Garden Reason #9: Gratefulness For Having What It Takes To Stay Alive
There is nothing like growing your own food for understanding what it takes to nourish yourself. Nothing like it for appreciating the simple things in life.
When you work in your garden it can help you maintain an appreciation for how hard it is to really get food on the table. When you get out and sweat a little to feed yourself you keep some perspective on what it takes to live.
I love watching my income go up as I grow my business and anticipating the new things I can do with that money. But money isn’t everything.
Gratefulness helps you keep tabs on what’s really important in life – who really supports you and what you really need to be safe and content in life. It helps you appreciate and take care of the aspects of your life that are easy to ignore when you get caught up in the busy-ness of business.
Gratefulness also counters stress. When you feel like your work is mammoth, stepping back and appreciating what it takes to survive can take the edge off and help you shrink those feelings of being overwhelmed to “I can manage this.”
Why Garden Reason #10: Patience and Persistence To Move Forward
Time is money. And pushing yourself to move forward is key to business success. I’ve learned through the years to push myself to take action and then adjust more as I see the results.
However, despite this frenzied push forward, there’s also a need for patience. Some things in business will just take time. And lots of persistence.
In fact most success stories are born out of a series of failures. As business guru Harvey Mackay points out, it’s usually when you’re about to give up that real breakthroughs happen.
And it’s the people who work through to those breakthrough moments who really see success.
Gardening helps me to develop that skill of patience and persistence. If I didn’t work on this when gardening, I’d have given up trying to grow melons and eggplant in New Hampshire by now.
A Final Note: No Excuses
Now I know it’s not easy to have a garden for some people. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for many years pining over soil to dig in. But then I watched how an old woman from the islands who lived in the next block took the little 3-foot-wide strip of dirt that ran around her apartment building and grew callaloo, beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers and more.
I’ll confess, I never claimed a spot of earth for my own while I was living in the city. But I did volunteer at a few community gardens working with school children. While it’s not as convenient as your backyard, community gardens offer a way to grow your own carrots.
But even a few pots of herbs on a fire escape or your kitchen window will give you taste of everything I’ve listed here.
And if you have a little yard – or even a little porch – no excuses.
However important rule of thumb here (which applies to all of life’s enterprises): Start small.
Don’t start out too big or you’ll get disheartened when the weeds take over. (They’re ruthless!) Just carve out a little square of 2 feet by 2 feet and plant a few tomato plants and some lettuce.
Or if you have a porch, get a few pots and fill them with good soil.
Focus on just doing a little something and relish the results.
Then - if you get bitten by the gardening bug (which I hope you will) – add a little more the next year. That’s how we eventually built up our garden that’s about 3000 square feet! We took it step by step, season by season.
Tend your garden – and use it. Use it not only for nourishment for your body – but nourishment for your success. Use it to gain control, balance, perspective, peace, patience and some good ole Vitamin D.
Do you garden? Do you use it to grow your business?
Share your thoughts here or come join me on Facebook and we can get a discussion going.