A few years back I decided I was going to grow tomatoes. A friend had grown some tiny tomato plants from the seeds of another, real tomato and a second friend had been given some free tomato plants. And so it sort of fell to me to provide the real estate, the grow bags, the compost and the sunny fence – and to hold the vision.
At several stages after I was committed, but before the plants were actually dug in, I received a lot of advice about growing tomatoes, mainly in a negative vein. ”Oh, we’re not doing it this year because the tomatoes never turn green”. I received that one (unsolicited) more than once. It’s not even as if I am a gardener, but kindly friends sought to scupper the venture with their gratuitous advice, even before it had begun.
Blissfully I didn’t take any notice of them, I just blundered on anyway in the spirit of an experiment. As they reinforced their dreary message, I replied that we were just going to put them in the soil and see what would happen. Curiosity.
And guess what? A bumper crop. Salads, oven-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce for pasta and no requirement to look out my old Grannie’s delicious recipe for green tomato chutney. No chutney at all, in fact. Bit of a shame, that. I like chutney with my cheese. Maybe that’s the secret? I would even have been happy with chutney.
Today I saw some nice plants which would look lovely in my garden – hot pink oleanders. You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now and kept my mouth shut, but no. I went and told one of my helpful friends and I also mentioned that the same people were advertising that I could grow peaches from a pot on my patio. You can imagine the negativity, can’t you? You can probably even intuit my response “But you said that about the tomatoes – and you were wrong!”
You’d think the world would know by now that if you throw a red rag at this entrepreneurial bull, she’s just going to pick it up as a challenge, partly to prove you wrong, but also because it was my idea and I like it. One of my drivers is “I’ll show you!” Richard Branson teaches that this is a common entrepreneurial driver – to “show ‘em”.
It isn’t that I’m not interested in your opinion of my latest business idea, it’s more that I’m just going to do it anyway, no matter how much negativity you throw at me. I’m going to hoe my own row. I’m gonna grow tomatoes, I’m gonna grow peaches, I’m gonna have a go and I might even show you.
And the truth is I don’t always show you, and even when I do you’ve forgotten the challenge and you don’t notice anyway. But it’s enough of a driver for me. It’s all I need to get up today and tomorrow and forever and forge my own way with my own idea. It’s all I need to make it real.
I don’t know that it is a desire to be successful in everything I do so much as it is to have a go at my ideas, in the spirit of experimentation, and just to see what happens. I’m the only one who gets a buzz out of proving myself right but it would be so much more helpful if all one received was encouragement and support, and helpful advice.
And meanwhile, until that magical, mythical day dawns, it’s a jolly good job I’ve got enough chutzpah, vision and self-determination to just get on with it anyway and have a go, one way or another. If all I’d done was to hang around all these years waiting for positivity, I’d still be on the starting blocks, tomato-less. Who cares whether my peaches crop or not? It’s the taking part that counts, getting stuck in and learning by doing.
Please – I’m begging you – on no account allow the naysayers to put a pin in your balloon. If you’ve got a dream or a vision, get started, have a bash – its reward enough.