Stop and Smell the Roses

Things I learned from pruning my rose bushes, and how it relates to business and personal growth

A year and a half ago I was fortunate enough to have built a beautiful house on the North Shore of Massachusetts, minutes from the beach. This wasn’t my first house and it won’t be my last. But something hit me hard when I was pruning the rose bushes surrounding my property. It was probably the thorn in my index finger that really caused this epiphany.

Roses are a beautiful reminder of our planet and what we have to be thankful for

They are a status symbol for some, they are gifts given during the holidays. However, it was their beauty and fragility that struck me. Looking closely at the vibrant red petals each day, as they grow and bloom, fills me with joy. The natural process is just awesome.

They don’t really smell that good

It makes me laugh when people go to smell roses. Maybe other roses smell nice, but mine just smell like beautiful nature.

They are resilient

Even if I don’t take care of them, they would bloom, die and eventually regrow. Sometimes.

They do however need help

I’ve never taken care of rose bushes before. Family members and a little internet research gave me the courage to attempt to care for these unparalleled displays of beauty on my property. In order to reach their potential, maximum beauty and growth they need help. If I did nothing they would look well enough for a while, but eventually they would wither and not become what they should; absolute beauty.

They must be cut loose

This part was hard for me. When looking at nature’s gift, I found it difficult to let roses go. I also understood that if I was careful and used precision the entire bush would thrive. So, like a neurosurgeon I clipped the roses that were close to the end of their life cycle. Carefully paying attention to the roses that were about to bloom and haven’t yet begun their journey. I did this so that others could grow. If I didn’t make these changes the entire bush could potentially die. An awesome responsibility when you consider what is at stake.

Anyone can hire someone to maintain a garden

When I was pruning the bushes a week prior a neighbor pulled up in his Mercedes and said “don’t you have someone to do that?” I laughed it off. I do in fact have a landscape crew come by and do the basics. But they don’t care as I do about the gift of red roses that I see every day for four months of the year.

At first I didn’t want to be bothered with manicuring my property

I’m a busy man with much more important things to do, right? I landscaped for a couple summers and it was pure torture. This is my house and my property, and although I don’t do everything around the property, I discovered something by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Those roses make me happy

They universally make everyone happy. Stopping and smelling the roses(even though I don’t think they smell that good) is something that people need to do. Rather, I urge people to stop and look at the roses. Pay attention to each petal and their remarkable beauty. When I pruned the roses that are at the end of their life cycle I was amazed at how soft the petals are. When I discard them and they lay on the floor of the woods next to my property they are even beautiful as they are dying.

Taking care of your business is an awesome responsibility. Taking care of yourself is even more important. Paying attention to the impact of your decisions and understanding the global impact is crucial. Sometimes you have to cut things from your business in order for it to grow. Sometimes, you need to cut things from your personal life so you can grow. Respect the beauty of the gifts you have, appreciate them but also be acutely aware of what needs to be done in order to maintain beautiful growth. Both personally and professionally.