Advice from a cucumber farmer on how to launch your career to the next level

I’m not a gardener, but I love a good cucumber.  So, in the spring my wife and I researched everything we needed to do to grow the tasty vegetable (yes, I know it’s technically a fruit!).

I prepared an exquisite garden bed in full sun. We checked the soil for the right pH.  We added peat, compost and chicken manure.  Once we had mixed and prepared everything, we made sure that the soil was moist and well-drained, using a timer to make sure our cucumbers got exactly what they needed.

We carefully planted the seeds in rows, 1 inch deep and 10 inches apart… and we waited.

The plants exploded from the ground with leaves and stems climbing over the garden like a rich green monster from the deep.  We were so proud.  And they grew, and grew, and we salivated, savouring the fresh crisp taste of our efforts in our minds… but there was no sign of any flower or fruit.  Not one.

Frustrated, we headed to a local hothouse and asked the farmer why we were so successful in growing this vine, but that we weren’t able to get any fruit?ARS_cucumber

“Dat is easy.” he said in a rich Dutch accent.  “Your plant has got it too easy.  You’ve got all the ingredients you need, but if you want something to flower, you’ve got to add some stress!”

“I don’t understand?” I said honestly.

“It’s like life.” he said, standing up a little straighter and taking on the air of a teacher.  “When you’re living on easy street, there’s not too much motivation to go to the trouble of producing fruit and seed.  Your cucumber plant is just too comfortable to be bothered.”  He paused, returning to his slightly bent over posture.  “Give it a good drink, then, turn off the tap for a while.  You’ll be amazed at how it responds.”

I thought the notion of a plant kicking back and relaxing was a little crazy, but I had nothing to lose.  I did as he suggested. And the results were incredible! Our Greek salads have never been better.

If your career and your life are comfortable, there’s a good chance you are missing out on making things GREAT by adding a little stress.  The opportunity lies in adding stresses that will multiply your efforts and steer you on the path to greatness.

How about increasing your automatic monthly deductions going towards your RRSPs?  What about booking a family holiday for next year so that you’re absolutely committed to going?  What about signing up for that weekend marriage course you and your wife have been talking about for years?  Or how about increasing your charitable giving?  All of these initiatives are going to mean you are going to have to work a little harder and stretch yourself a little more in order to pay the bills, but all of them will add to a more abundant and fruitful life!

Take the opportunity to add positive stresses into your life now, before negative stresses like an increase in interest rates or a lack of customers creep up on you as a result of spending a little too much time on Easy Street… and not enough time in the garden!

Alan StewartAlan Stewart is Regional Manager for Royal LePage’s corporately owned brokerage, Royal LePage Sussex, located in Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast of BC. He began selling real estate in 2003, closing 106 transactions in his first year. Alan believes that happiness lies in being generous with your time and talents and in being grateful for the rewards. He gives back to the industry and his community with engaging and informative training and speaking presentations, serving as a director at the Sunshine Coast Real Estate Association and past president and founding member of the Rotary Club of Pender Harbour. He also coaches youth sports and is an auctioneer and emcee at various community functions and charity events.

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