Nurturing Your Professional and Personal Garden
How many of us, especially when dealing with difficult situations, look at other jobs, relationships, or situations with some envy, as being better than where we are right now, creating that feeling of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence? Alternatively, when we are faced with those challenges or difficulties, how much time and energy do we put into watering our own grass—focusing our efforts and investing in ourselves? Tending to our own gardens, through enhancing both the people we connect with and the activities in which we choose to engage, is crucial to laying the foundation for the most fruitful and fulfilling professional and personal outcomes.
Cultivating our Networks
I was fortunate to have several different people that served as mentors and guides during my early career—teachers, graduate advisors, bosses—each who made unique and important contributions to my development. They were easy to identify, and the relationships naturally occurred during that time because I was the student, and they were the masters. As I progressed in my career, being willing or able to identify mentors/advisors/guides became more difficult…there was some expectation to figure out my own solutions to problems, so seeking out help and opening up about my gaps and inadequacies, especially to department colleagues, wasn’t easy to do. I came to realize over time, though, that mentors and guides don’t always come in the traditional student/master or employee/boss relationships: I found a faculty mentor in a completely different clinical specialty. I made a connection to a business development advisor through a mutual friend at a scientific conference. I received guidance and support for branding my new business from my daughter, a marketing professional. Forming these new relationships—or in some cases, adding to the type of relationships you already have—requires cultivation. Like the gardener that cultivates their plants, tending to your professional relationships and seeking guidance from others, especially outside of traditional “circles,” creates a flourishing career.
Tending to Your Inner Garden
Many highly driven people see clear benefits to investing in professional development, but often do so to the detriment of their personal happiness and satisfaction. Yet nurturing our physical and emotional well-being, through the activities we choose and the relationships we cultivate, are critical and complementary parts of our journey. For me, committing to regular exercise, healthy eating, emotional support through therapy, and incorporating meditation, journaling, and spiritual activities into my routine, were choices that I made to tend to my “inner garden,” and have contributed significantly to my enhanced well-being. How you choose to do that is up to you, but I feel that investing in your personal development is just as critical as any investment made in cultivation of your professional garden. Find the people and activities that work for you, that are consistent with your values and beliefs, and most importantly, that make you happy.
Wherever you find yourself in your professional and personal journey, it is worth evaluating the steps you can take to continue to “water your own grass.” Adding to the network of people you connect with provides opportunities to expand your perspectives, and when applied to areas where you would like to grow, it maximizes your exposure to potential coaches/mentors/advisors. Importantly, supplementing this with attention to nurturing your personal relationships and well-being, broadens your success and fulfillment, creating greener pastures across both your professional and personal landscapes.
My goal in starting the professional development and coaching part of my new business is to help you sort through the process of navigating your path—some of which could be through helping you cultivate your network of experts, as well as finding ways to help you tend your inner garden. Please reach out if you would like to have an introductory (no charge) conversation to get started.