For many type A highly driven leaders and entrepreneurs, a hobby is a luxury that many avoid. The work ethic of the highly driven, rarely allows them to stop long enough to enjoy a leisure activity. Many leaders and entrepreneurs are focused on working and producing results and taking time away to do something fun does not fit into their strategy.
Throughout my life, I have had various hobbies that I have taken up only to drop when my workload got heavy and intense. My work ethic dictated work comes first and only after everything is done, will I then have some playtime.
The playtime seldom comes when the workload has no end. There is always something to be done when you are a highly driven leader or entrepreneur.
Several years ago, I had surgery to replace my right hip and place a titanium rod in my femur. I was told that I was too young for this surgery and yet the countless hours in pressurized airplanes on long haul flights had taken its toll on my bones gave me the wake-up call. As I was recovering from this surgery, some dear friends brought me an orchid plant to cheer me up.
The idea of caring for yet another orchid plant sent me into massive anxiety. I thought to myself, I had long since given up on having orchids beyond their blooming phase. I had come to treat them like cut flowers and when the blooms had all fallen off, the plant was tossed out.
Each time I put a dormant orchid in the trash bin, I wondered what it would take to actually have it come back with new blooms like you see in the how-to books or in videos. I felt hopeless about having orchids in my home for all of the phases of their lives.
There was something about the timing of receiving that orchid from my friends and the orchid itself, which led me to start thinking about how to nurture it through the dormant season and enjoy the new blooms in the future. I watched some videos and read about the care that they require when not in bloom. At that time, with little else on my mind except for recovering from the surgery I started to believe I could do it.
The time came when the blooms started to close and lose their vibrant colors before they fell off, so I knew it was time to focus on nurturing the big green leaves of the plant. I focused on the weekly care routine of the orchid and it was now something that I looked forward to each Sunday.
In time the orchid showed the signs of a new set of blooms when a shoot started to come out of the base of the massive green leaves. It was very exciting to see it waking up and preparing for another round of blooms.
The blooms came and it was cause for a celebration, I had successfully nurtured an orchid through its dormant stage. I thought it must have been a magical orchid that my friends had given to me and a once in a lifetime experience.
While in the grocery store not long after this achievement, I saw they had the orchids on clearance. I bought several and brought them home to share space with my miracle orchid.
I have a dear friend, who moved away and gave me her orchid plants. She had seen me post mine on social media the picture os my orchid. My kitchen window is filled with orchid plants that are all on the same life cycle-alternating between blooming and being dormant.
This is the time of the year that all of them are putting out the bloom shoots, so as I reflect on their amazing beauty, I am reminded of my intention to nurture them through their various life phases. I am excited about all of the new blooms that will show up again this year.
I am grateful for the gift of the orchid plants and I am most certainly grateful for the lessons that I learned by shifting my mindset from they are cut flowers in my home for a short time to they have life phases that require different attention and actions at different times.
There are three priceless lessons that I have learned as a result of becoming an Orchidist, and yes that is a thing. I have learned to be more patient, to trust the process as it is, and to be proud of my achievements.
I learned to be patient with their process and allow them to move through it in their time. It seems silly to think that I would stand over a bud and tell it to bloom when I was ready to see it. My patience allowed me to accept the orchid plant when it was only green leaves and some exposed roots as well as a flowering plant of beauty.
My success as a corporate transformational leader was based on my ability to examine processes and improve and streamline them. The process for anything is how things get done, the orchid plant has its process of blooming and going dormant. The process yields the desired results every time, amazing flowers.
The last lesson that I learned was the hardest for me, being proud of my achievement. I am challenged to be proud of the things that I do, and this hobby puts the spotlight on it for me. I had done something amazing in nurturing the orchid plant from one life phase to another and did not stop to be proud of myself.
Hobbies are an essential part of our work-life balance and play a massive role in self-care. When we are able to put aside some playtime and see what comes from it, we can build character and skills that would have otherwise eluded us.
I encourage everyone to find at least one hobby and take it up with the same rigor and drive that they do in their careers and businesses. By reflecting often on the experiences that come from having a hobby, we can all gain insights about ourselves and how we show up when we are leading our organizations and companies. We become better leaders, entrepreneurs, and people in the process of being patient with ourselves. That is something we can all be proud of in our professional and personal lives.
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