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Hi! My name is Alan. I’m with Cisco Meraki. And, before I begin, I want to express our gratitude to Ruby Central, the conference organizers, and the volunteers for putting on an amazing event! And, thank you! It wouldn’t have been the same without you! Alright, let’s talk about gardening!

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There’s an amazing quote by Alexander Den Heijer that goes like this… “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower. When I first came across this quote, it really resonated with me. But, some folks expressed alternative points of view. For example…

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Some were of the opinion that you should find a different flower — one that can thrive in your garden.

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Others questioned why the flower is "entitled" to special treatment. All the other flowers are doing just fine. Why should we treat this flower any differently?

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Both of these perspectives come from a fixed mindset. They assume the garden cannot or should not be changed to accommodate the flower. But, I contend that to be a successful gardener, you need to take on a GROWTH mindset. You need to believe that the flower can actually bloom. And, you have to want it to happen, which shouldn’t be hard. You chose the flower. It’s this belief and desire that should motivate you to invest time and energy into making your garden a place where the flower can thrive.

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And, there are so many things you can do to help the flower grow! As a gardener, you are empowered to change the garden through your actions or inactions. - You could fertilize the soil, or not. - You could water the flower regularly, or not. - You could transplant the flower to a sunnier or shadier spot, or not. But, rather than trying a bunch of random things that have worked for other flowers in your garden, start by understanding the unique needs of this flower. Because every decision or indecision has an impact on the environment in which the flower grows. It’s hard work. But…

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…when a gardener pays attention to the unique needs of every individual flower, the results can be spectacular! Just look at how vibrant this garden is. THAT is the gardener’s reward — seeing the flowers thrive, knowing what it took to enable each of them to bloom.

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Hopefully, by now, you realize that I’m not talking about flowers. Just to be clear, I’m going to drop the metaphor… Folks, the flower is a person with potential to grow. The garden is a team with potential to perform. And the gardener is the person who enables the individuals on the team to reach their full potential together by tending to everyone’s unique needs. So, let me ask, …

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…who is your gardener? And, whose gardens are you tending?

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