1st Law of the Harvest: Prepare the Soil Before PlantingWe need to prepare great soil before we plant so we can have a great harvest. One year, my wife asked me to plant wildflower seeds in a field by our orchard. So, I researched and purchased the right variety of wildflower seeds for our area, and I spread the seeds throughout the field. However, the wild grasses in that field have dense roots, grow tall, and prevent those wildflowers from growing. I didn’t think to till the ground or prepare the soil of the field before I planted those seeds. As a result, the wildflowers did not grow. Correctly preparing soil often involves adding organic matter and fertilizer to the soil. This adds nutrients to the soil and helps the soil hold more water. Preparing the soil often involves loosening the soil so that it is easier for the roots to grow deeply. Preparing the soil often involves raking the soil level and removing rocks, twigs, and weeds. Matthew 13:3-8 shares a parable from Jesus about planting in good soil:
And he spake many things unto them in parables saying, behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up; Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them; But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.“Observe that the prominent feature of the story is that of the prepared or unprepared condition of the soil. The seed was the same, whether it fell on good ground or bad, on mellow mold or among stones and thistles. The primitive method of sowing, still followed in many countries, consisted in the sower throwing the grain by handfuls against the wind, thus securing a widespread scattering. Running through the Galilean fields were pathways, hard trodden by feet of men and beasts. Though seed should fall on such tracts, it could not grow; birds would pick up the living kernels lying unrooted and uncovered and some of the grains would be crushed and trodden down…. The seed that falls in good deep soil, free from weeds and prepared for the sowing, strikes root and grows; the sun’s heat scorches it not, but gives it thrift; it matures and yields to the harvester according to the richness of the soil…” (source: James Talmage, Jesus the Christ) Just like the seeds that are planted in good soil and thrive, the same is true in our business and lives. We can prepare our soil in many ways, such as getting a good education, continually learning our trade, planning, setting goals, developing strategies, gathering the right tools, getting the right people on board, building our following, etc. When we effectively prepare our soil, the seeds we plant in that soil, such as new business endeavors, are usually much more successful.
2nd Law of the Harvest: Plant the Seeds
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverbTalking about planting is not enough to ever get a harvest. Buying the seeds and the fertilizer is not enough to ever get a harvest. Watering the ground when it has no seeds in it is not enough to ever get a harvest. We must actually plant the seeds, or all of the other steps in the process will not yield any results.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt DisneyIn our lives and businesses, we must also start with that first action step of “planting the seeds”. For example, when I decided to compete in my first triathlon, my mentor told me that the first step was to pay to register for a specific triathlon. That step committed me, and then I took the other necessary steps to prepare for that event. In each of our businesses, what is the first action step we should take to plant the seeds? For example, when I wanted to do the daily Monetization Nation show with a podcast, blog, and YouTube channel, I had to plant some seeds. I first researched how to create a podcast. Then, I reached out to some friends who I wanted to interview. Then, I created some initial episodes to post. Then, I created the accounts I would use to post on the different platforms. Then, I announced my daily show and made a public commitment that I would publish every day for a year, and make a $100 donation to the rival of my favorite college football program, for any day I missed publishing during that year. Then I created morning routines and other patterns in my life so the show would be consistently created, and I hired some people to help me. I planted those seeds, and I have published every day since then. God can’t multiply what we haven’t planted. Sometimes the big goal can feel a little overwhelming to us. Instead of trying to accomplish the big goal every day, we should instead focus on what we can do today to bring us one step closer to that goal.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
3rd Law of the Harvest: Consistently Nourish Our Crops
“You gotta nourish to flourish.” – UnknownOne summer I had planted about 14 new fruit trees in my orchard. Then, my family and I left on a 25-day road trip in which we visited 27 states. It was so much fun. At some point, while we were gone, the automatic watering to much of my orchard shut off. And, this was during one of the hottest parts of the summer. When I returned from the trip, I discovered that nearly all of the newly planted trees had died. If we do a good job planting our crops, but then don’t nourish them consistently until the harvest time, the crops will probably die, or at a minimum, they will not thrive in their growth. The same is true in life and business. We need to do the small but important things every day so we can nurture those seeds we have planted and eventually achieve the growth we want. Waking early, planning weekly, and scheduling our priorities can be great ways to make time to nourish our crops.
4th Law of the Harvest: Protect Our CropsWe’ve prepared the soil, planted the seeds, and are continuously nurturing them. We also need to protect our crops from threats. My family and I live near a river, with acres of thick forest between our home and the river. We constantly have wildlife such as deer, elk, and raccoons on our property. As a result, I have a 7-foot fence around both my orchard and garden. If I didn’t have this fence to protect the plants, the animals would eat everything they wanted. Even with the fence, last year a family of raccoons climbed it and ate nearly every ear of corn. As an example of a time I didn’t protect my plants, a couple of years ago I planted a bunch of strawberries too early in the season. A cold spell hit, and I lost almost all of my strawberry plants in a couple of days. In that situation, I had not protected my crop from the elements. Weeding is another way we protect our crops. We remove the weeds so they don’t steal the water and sunlight our plants needs. Just like farmers and gardeners strive to protect their crops, we should also strive to protect the good seeds we have planted in our lives and businesses. We should strive to weed out the distractions and time suckers, the negativity and contention, the addictions and unethical practices that can zap the life out of the great life and business we are trying to grow.
“We must all wage an intense, lifelong battle against the constant downward pull. If we relax, the bugs and weeds of negativity will move into the garden and take away everything of value.” – Jim Rohn
5th Law of the Harvest: We Reap What We Sow
“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness.” – Zig ZiglarIt is very important for us to consciously choose the types of seeds we plant in our lives and businesses because those are the types of fruits and vegetables we will harvest. We cannot plant turnip seeds and harvest tomatoes from those plants. Likewise, we are going to harvest what we have sown in our lives and businesses, whether it be good or bad. Let’s be sure we are planting good seeds daily such as kindness, love, forgiveness, and grace because that’s what we will then harvest. As another way to say it, if we want more love, joy, and success in our lives, the best way to get it is to help other people have more love, joy, and success in their lives. We will reap what we sow.
6th Law of the Harvest: We Harvest Much More than We PlantWhen we follow the laws of the harvest, they have a multiplying effect and we will almost always harvest much more than what we planted. We can plant a handful of seeds and harvest wheelbarrows full of fruits and vegetables. Jesus’s parable of the sower that we quoted earlier talks about harvesting 30, 60, and 100 times more than what was planted. (Mark 4:20). The same is true of life and business. When we invest to metaphorically prepare the soil, plant the seeds, and nourish and protect the plants, it can produce enormous dividends in our lives and businesses.
7th Law of the Harvest: Don’t Eat Your Seed CornMy family loves to cook with garlic. So, each November we plant about 100 cloves of garlic in my garden. Then, by about July, we harvest about 100 heads of garlic and we preserve those and have enough garlic for the year. However, before we preserve the garlic, we pull out about 14 of the biggest heads of garlic and put them in a cool place. Those 14 heads have about 110-120 cloves, which we plant the following November. Sometimes people make the mistake of eating all of their harvests. Then, they don’t have anything to plant the following year. This is called “eating your seed corn”. It is very important in life and business that we don’t eat our seed corn. This means we don’t consume everything we earn. We should always be setting aside a portion of what we earn and reinvesting it in our future.
8th Law of the Harvest: Plant and Harvest in Different SeasonsGardeners and farmers must be patient and allow their plants time to mature. There is no seed we can plant one day and then harvest the next. For example, a watermelon takes about 80-90 days from when we plant the seed until it has grown to maturity and we can harvest it. It is important to remember that for most of the plants we love to eat, we plant them one season and then harvest in a different season.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1Sometimes people want to “get rich quick…”, and make a lot of money very quickly with very little commitment. They are not willing to sacrifice what it takes to grow a great venture. Those “get-rich-quick” ventures usually don’t turn out very well and usually don’t last. This law of the harvest is true for life and business. I’ve heard numerous people share a law of 3’s about starting a business. They’ve said something like: “Starting a business takes 3 times as long, costs 3 times as much, and makes about one-third the profit you expect.” So, we need to make a plan for the long game and not expect wild overnight success. We must invest in new ventures, and be patient as they grow and mature until they are ready to harvest. For almost every great venture, it will take time before we are able to harvest it. That’s part of the natural process.
9th Law of the Harvest: Plant Seeds that Will be Harvested by Others
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Greek proverbI have been blessed over the years to have been mentored by some amazing entrepreneurs who had already had great success in their careers. They planted seeds in my life and my ventures that I am harvesting or am working to harvest in the future. These mentors didn’t plant those seeds in my life because they were hoping to harvest them. They had reached a spot in their career where they wanted to give back. Let’s consistently make time to plant seeds for others to harvest.