If we learn not humility, we learn nothing.
- John Jewel
I've been in the gardening profession for over 8 years and for the most part, I've been very fortunate to have great success with my clients. I run my business with the mindset of building lasting and trusting relationships with my clients and their gardens. I am thorough and put a lot of thought and attention into my intentions for the gardens.
This past week, I took on a new client. I was selected out of a few other landscapers to redesign and landscape a portion of a backyard that had become overgrown. Large hydrangeas and fuschias were to be dug out and transplanted to another area of the garden and the new plants I had selected were to go in. Pretty straightforward.
|First bed before removal|
But, I screwed up. I removed a very well established, beautiful and rare fuschia tree that should not have been removed. The tree stood out in the garden and was actually an important focal point. Ironically, as I was hacking away at it, I thought to myself what a shame it was for the clients to want to get rid of such a magnificient tree.
As landscapers, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in seeing a job from start to finish. And as much as you can plan and prepare, it almost never goes off the way you expect and almost always takes more time than you estimated. Furthermore, when you are working with a new client, someone who's not familiar with your work, their is an added pressure and uncertainty wrapped up in the hope that their vision matches up with your vision. You can explain, communicate, show and draw pictures all to the best of your ability, but in the end, you are riding on faith that your clients will be happy and pleased with your work.
My clients were certainly surprised, and suffice it to say, a tad unhappy that their beautiful tree had been removed. I don't know if this is necessarily the worst thing that can happen on a job, but it's pretty bad. You can fix an irrigation system or rebuild a wall, but you can't replace a well established tree that had been growing for many many years. After a lot of back and forth explanations and my profuse apologies, we were able to put the misunderstanding aside and come to an agreement on what to do next.
|After with the new plantings|
Being human means we make mistakes, sometimes big ones, but it's what we do with it that determines the real outcome. This scenario could have gone in a million different directions, but thankfully, my clients were pretty understanding and able to put it behind them and still wanted me to return to their garden. As for me, well...lessons in humility are always good for the ego.
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”