I’ve lived my whole life in suburbia, just like many of you. My friend Pat wanted out of suburbia from the time he was a kid and finally escaped 25+ years ago to start his family and become a berry farmer in Arkansas.

I had visited Pat’s place three times over the years, but I was never truly set free from my normal bubble. However, last month I decided to be a little more serious about the experience and visited Pat in order to actually work on his farm with him for three days – I finally had the chance to learn from him as well as catch up on family, baseball history, music and literature.

You can probably imagine that Pat just about killed me off having me do real work alongside him in a place that has real weather (tough on the lightweight from California). However, what was truly unmistakable was how he had so much purpose in what he was doing. His passion for his work was truly inspiring.

You see, when you’re growing blueberries and blackberries to serve a close community of pick-your-own customers, there is a lot more to it than just growing good-tasting berries. The fields are also just like a retail store – the customers have to enjoy their visit as well as the fruit.

A lot of factors come into play, including great personal service, well presented fruit on the vines and an amazingly well-kept place…with NO WEEDS. Pat reminded me that I always had to be multi-tasking and picking weeds everywhere, no matter what I was doing in the field.

Of course, Pat was teaching me to be conscious of everything around me along with reminding me of the power of a work ethic like none I’d ever seen. However, the single most powerful lesson he taught me was contained in his guidance about pulling the ever-present weeds:

“Pull ‘em when they’re small.”

Here’s to all of us learning to be better at getting ahead and staying ahead as we keep our fields looking their best.

Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback.  Please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.

Click here for a quick summary of our unique fit-focused executive search practice and how we might help your company or others that you know.