Becoming a life-long learner

People are like plants.  They go through seasons of growth, pruning and sometimes they don’t thrive due to a variety of reasons.  Let me give you an example.

Gardening is a passion I have in the warm weather months.  Through trial and error I have learned that some plants like sun, some like shade, some like acidic soil and others need lots of water to thrive.  Knowing the plant and the environment they best grow in helps to place them in an environment where they best exist and grow. Some plants have short spans, such as rye grass, while others don’t thrive or produce for several years.  One that takes longer to produce is asparagus.  If you ever try to grow asparagus on your own, be aware that your first edible crop will take 2-4 years to be usable.

People are much the same.  Here are some of the criteria to consider when placing others, or placing yourself, in order to thrive:

  • Working with others
  • Working alone
  • Short project spans or long project spans
  • Collaborative work or individual contributors
  • High tech or high touch (or both)
  • Work with a higher purpose or work that is more “bottom line” oriented

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to plant myself and others into environments where they seek to thrive. This can be a fun and challenging process and knowing the person as well as the environment where they play to take root makes all of the difference.  Think long and hard when you consider planting yourself in a new environment.  Take time to reflect on the past and the present before you uproot yourself and move to a new plot or organization.

The challenge I see in so many is that they choose to move to a new role before they fully understand what causes them individual to grow and thrive.  Additionally, so many take the leap before they come to understand the environment where they choose to try and take root in the future.

Use the gardening approach before you choose to make your next move.  Know what causes you to grow and thrive before you make the move to a new role.  Be sure to consider the criteria I have listed above and add a few others I may have omitted.

Some will take root quickly while others require much cultivation.  Some of us are just not suited for environments that may look attractive.

Know yourself and what makes you grow and provides you with challenge and opportunity.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you may shrivel up and die.

Think about this.