Controlled Burns for Business

Recently, I watched the first phase of the restoration of a new greenspace here in Portland. The land, called Baltimore Woods, is adjacent to the Willamette river and was recently purchased to prevent future development and become part of a green corridor.

The first step towards restoration of this particular area was a controlled burn. The area had become full of invasive species and garbage. So, the easiest way to bare the land, prevent wild fires and rejuvenate it is to burn it. Creating a cleaner slate ready for hand removal of more plants, followed by reseeding and planting of native species.

On the day of the burn, the firetrucks were out in force and the fires were kept small and watched carefully with hoses at the ready.

The next day I was surprised to see that while the brambles were gone, there was still some green. And now, the areas are ready for the next phase.

It started me thinking about business, and projects and transitions.

How valuable it is to prep for the next phase by clearing out the old, the no longer useful, the extraneous. In some cases I can be really great at this, like with clearing my closet.

And when I start my day, by ending it clearly the day before, it feels especially great.

But I’ve been noticing that recently, during the course of my day, I tend to jump from project to project. Not clearing out the old first, not prepping the soil, not working in meaningful phases.

I’m planting the new seeds on top of the old invasive species.

The result is a scattered feeling.

Things get done, but I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much. And there’s a certain amount of sorting out where I am with things, and distraction.

I’ve been thinking about these things a lot over the last few months.

Ending and starting.

Exiting and Entering.

There’s still room for more purposeful shifts. Recognizing the benefit of controlled burns. And of course, reveling in the beauty and spaciousness of one thing at a time.

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