I wrote a blog about a Career Day panel that I was on recently. Funny thing – being on a Career Panel. The audience was comprised of landscape design students, each eager to gain insight into what it means to be a garden designer. It is kind of like facing your Maker and answering penetrating questions, one of the most difficult being: “What are you proud of?”
First I mentally ticked through the many things I have done as a garden designer: the designs I’ve created, the clients I cherish, the plants I cultivate, the obvious successes, and the occasional mistakes. But then I started to settle in on something bigger that I am proud of: being an employer. In a million years, I never thought I would be a business owner who employed 6 people. Initially I just needed to get a lot of gardening done and hiring one person made an exponential difference. I know, not rocket science, but two people can do a lot more than one person. Then I needed two, three, etc.
As a business owner, I could easily focus on my own capitalist drive and exaltation (ok so the company is named after me -an early misstep) but instead I get to build an engine that generates jobs for 6 people who are trying to live meaningful lives, just like me. We create a team, one that is more about the way we work together than it is about simply planting a garden or pruning plants. It is more than getting the work done – it is the deeply satisfying way in which I am not all about me. I am responsible and am held accountable to others, I make a difference for others, I support those around me and make every effort to make a small number of people’s lives better. And so when I’m asked that hard question, I say that this is something I am immensely proud of. What are you proud of?