I was inspired by a TedTalk that introduced me to the word prevernal a few years ago. Defined as the critical point where something has begun to grow, but is not yet mature. It talks about those early blooms on spring plants and can be used just as easily to describe our growth as people.
Some things can grow despite circumstances, while others begin life at a deficit and must be encouraged if they hope to discover opportunity.
Growth comes easily and naturally to some of us. Breaking through still-frozen ground is something that many can do successfully, but I don’t want to talk about them.
I want to talk about those prevernal people and ideas that need care and support.
Breaking the surface
We must sometimes offer help to others in order to see them achieve what they are capable of. These are the flowers that without someone clearing the snow and offering food to support their growth will never come into being. People need sustenance in this way more than nature might display. It could be because we only see the seeds that manage to break ground, in their effort to flourish and we don’t even know how many perished in the effort to just break the surface.
The word break implies that something must be destroyed in order to have another bloom, and I think that this is really quite true. When we discover change, there is always some lost part of us that lives in the wake of our evolution.
Once the change has occurred, it can no longer claim to be just a seed. The plant has broken through into the earth surrounding it. Both are changed forever. The earth is disrupted and the sprout can never return to seed.
Many changes are for the better. So many show us the opportunity for more blooms and growth and with them comes the tipping point. In horticulture, many blooms are not enough on their own and require nurturing in the form of pollination. In people, the same lesson holds true.
You can just as easily stomp out that seed through intention or accident. You must be aware of the seeds around you and make a conscious decision to offer them support for their growth or at the very least stay out of their way.
Feeding the seed
Feeding can happen without being disruptive. It can be something so simple as keeping pests that may attack it away or as complex as daily nurturing and providing sustenance.
As leaders and mentors, we often combine these tools into our approaches. By sheltering that growing seed from negative impact, we are offering them the chance to find their own way. They may never make it out, but you were there to offer them some protection from the elements and enemies.
Through daily nurturing we can help those people and ideas to flourish when they might not have been able to. As individuals, we often think back to some person who offered food to the seed inside us. They told us we were good enough, or that we deserved success and opportunity despite the deficit we come from.
Deciding how to care
People are unique in their needs, but in many cases the same approach will help many, and from there you can customise the care to the individual. Five steps that work for both plants and people are below:
- Protect them from pests that may hurt them.
- Offer a safe environment to grow in
- Provide adequate sources of fuel
- Shine some light to help them grow
- Don’t try to squeeze too many seeds together or they will fight for space
Great leaders know that growth is a personal experience. It is our responsibility to give back to the world by providing new seeds a chance to bloom. Set those around you up for success and watch your garden grow.