Have you ever had an idea and decided to jump right in only to have it fail?
Most plans fail when we don't plan properly. Failure results in feelings of disappointment and embarrassment. On the lighter side, we learn from our failures and perhaps even gain some respect from our peers for trying. I first learned about the importance of planning in 1980. It was just a few days before Mother's Day. I had developed a plan to surprise my wonderful mother with several red roses. My dad didn't live with us, so it was up to me to figure out how I was going to get the flowers.
I remember noticing roses for sale at our local convenience store. I concluded that I would have to go to the store to buy her the flowers but I lacked one key thing - money.
Spare some change?
My mum often took me downtown when I was a kid. There were always homeless people along Yonge Street south of Bloor Street. As we would stroll down the street, they would politely request a bit of money to get them food or drink. My mum would usually comply and hand them a dollar or the change she had in her purse.
This must have been where I got the bright idea to ask strangers for money. With only a few days remaining before Mother's Day, I knew I had to hurry to get the roses on time. So I threw on my 1970s pull-over sweater and ventured down to Mt. Pleasant Road where my panhandling plan would unfold.
I was able to raise the money quickly as I surprised the passersby. A woman with a baby carriage handed me some coins. Two men waiting for the bus chipped in. Another woman agreed to give me some money if I promised to go home. Apparently, it wasn't safe to mooch money from strangers on the street.
I finally raised enough capital (startup talk, I couldn't resist) to purchase the flowers. I entered the store, grabbed a few red roses, and proudly laid the exact change on the counter. The smiling Korean woman nodded and smiled to me as she punched my purchase into the till. Success!
Several days passed and Mother's Day had arrived. My mum still reminds me of how sad I looked when I made the terrible discovery. Flowers need water to survive. The roses had wilted and died, hidden in the darkness of my bedroom closet without water.
I felt such disappointment and embarrassment from my failure. I learned an invaluable lesson in botany, I haven't killed any roses since. I won the respect of my mother for executing such an audacious plan. I also got scolded and reminded to never panhandle again. Thankfully, I haven't had to.
Be audacious but do your research and have a solid plan. So much for my green thumb. It turns out I'm not a gardener either.