“Patience you must have” *

The impatience of the seedling

The seed waits under the cover of darkness, with no face upwards into the sun.

The seed can hear the whispers of other plants, fully grown, plants with strong roots and stalks rising high, plants with leaves, fruit, flowers, nuts – things the seed has a distant memory of, as if from another life, but has not seen or touched itself. The seed can feel the excitement of these fully established plants all around her, their chatter in the breeze, their standing tall in rain, their twists and turns in a strong breeze. Seed feels lonely and like it is missing out. Is it less than these neighbours? Is it destined to stay small and hidden, bound, and compressed? Is there more to life than this? It feels a stirring deep inside, a movement and a pull towards growth, but still it doubts, still it wishes.

Seed cries its loneliness, its frustrated hopes, its envy, its self doubt, and the sky cries, and the water leaks down through the clods of soil and keeps her swaddled in a wetness of compassion.

And then the next day the husk splits. In shock seed thinks she is now well and truly broken, beyond mending, never to be the same.

Then, tiny sprout, some green emerges.

œ œ œ

What does the gardener say?

Two years ago I spotted this tiny seedling in my garden. It was a little plant with just a couple of leaves. I looked at it, wondering what it might be. It looked interesting, like nothing I had ever seen before.

So I kept the area around it clear from weeds for the plant to get enough light. I had to protect it from gnawing snails. Sometimes it needed a little extra water and fertilizer. I took photos so that I could see how it grows.

I took good care of it and for the rest of the time? Well, I just had to wait for nature to do its job. Like I always do. Of course I was not lazy, I was busy tending to the rest of the garden.

And over time the little seedling developed into something beautiful with very special leaves in an almost sparkling green. I’m so happy that I discovered it and I wonder where it came from. It is not clear yet, what the flowers or fruit will look like as it is still a young plant. But I think I will soon enough know, as I saw some little buds on it today.

œ œ œ

It’s one of the more difficult lessons to learn in a change process: It takes its time. It takes exactly the time it needs. No longer, no shorter. We are not good at estimating durations anyway, so how much worse are we actually when it comes to things we’ve never done before?

Sometimes we may feel like the tiny seedling. But maybe we are actually more like the gardener: observing and taking care of our growth. Asking what is needed, nourishing and protecting the process.

It’s about trust in the process and patience. The good thing is: if you learn to develop them now then they will stay with you. You will be glad to have them on your side with their full potential for future challenges.

Try to be not too busy to miss the magic of a new beginning. Try to be aware of what is going on right now.

Consider whether you need company in the process – a coach, a friend to check in with, some books by people who have made the change you are making.

Enjoy doing things for the very first time! Document your “firsts” and the small starts.
Write down how you feel about it. These are the things you’ll want to remember later on.

Celebrate the successes.

At some point you might even enjoy the transition and how it feels to grow!

Some questions for you:

œ How long did your grain of seed wait before it started to sprout?

œ When did you see the first leaves? How many leaves are there now?

œ Is the ground well-prepared? Are all the necessary nutrients there and enough water?

œ Are there snails gnawing at the leaves? How can you discourage the snails or make yourself more resilient to their nibbles?

œ How about the roots? Are they OK? Deep enough? Getting what they need to support growth?

œ How’s the rest of the garden doing? How about the other flower beds you’ve planted longer ago? Are you tending to them as well? Do some need to be replanted?

* “Patience you must have young Skywalker.” (Yoda)


This blog post is inspired by a conversation Claudia Scheidemann and I had a couple of days ago, and written by us both. We talked about how slow our progress feels and how long our to-do lists still are. So if we two fledgling coaches feel this way, maybe there are others, too? We decided to both go away and write about it to look a bit deeper into it. We wrote separately and then spliced our pieces together – they fit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. What then came is another example of how something beautiful can happen out of spontaneity and collaboration.

About Claudia:
I met Claudia in November of last year when we started our coaching training with Barbara Sher in Frankfurt together. Claudia seemed serious at first, but once I got to know her better I learnt there was a wild swing-dancing, colour-loving, intuitive painting, improvisational theatre fan with a great sense of humour and spadefuls of compassion and insight. She has been a generous and compassionate coach for people I know, and they sing her praises, saying ‘she always knows just what questions to ask’.

I’m delighted to work together with her and have her as a collaborative author on this blog today.
Find out more about her work here: www.colourfulcoaching.wordpress.com

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