It’s that time of year—crops are nearly ready to be harvested, farmer’s markets are overflowing, weeds are taking over, and the yellow and orange hues of autumn will soon be upon us. This moment on the calendar always makes us think about growth; specifically, what goes into growth? What factors support our personal and professional growth and what blocks or obstacles can get in the way?
As avid gardeners, we think of three main categories for the growth of plants:
- The Basics: Soil & water
- The Support: Sunshine & fertilizer
- The Pests: Insects & rodents
And, when we swap out our garden gloves for our leadership hats, these categories still apply; sowing seeds and nurturing a plant is the perfect analogy for building your career.
Think about it: you plant the seeds early on (education, internships, entry-level jobs), and if we are properly watered (through learning, development, and experience), protected from harm (given a good boss, maintaining our physical and mental health), and pruned (praised for our strengths and guided in managing our weaknesses), we can grow and blossom to our full potential.
This quote sums it up perfectly: “The seeds of tomorrow’s brilliance are in the soil of today’s activities.” – Todd Henry
With this perspective, we invite you to reflect on your own professional growth using the gardening analogy:
- The Basics: Do you give yourself good “soil?” Do you have a dedicated space to focus? Do you take care of your physical self so you have the bandwidth to grow? Do you set aside time to focus on your growth?
- The Support: Do you have access to enough “sunlight and fertilizer?” Who do you lean on when there are strong winds? What kind of support system do you have in place to allow yourself room to grow? Perhaps it’s childcare, a spouse/partner, a supportive manager, or a strong team?
- The Pests: Who/what undermines your growth? Is it negative thoughts, negative people, bad behaviors or habits? How can you eliminate or work around these pests so you can continue to blossom?
Whether growing an apple tree or an abundant career, the fruit of our labor takes time—often many seasons. We believe strongly in the power of consistent reflection, focus, learning, and development as an investment in yourself and your professional growth. Small, dedicated deposits over time will allow you to bear beautiful fruit.
Find us on LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter, or email us at [email protected] and let us know what you think of the gardening metaphor as it relates to your career.