I discovered the other day that the little patch of plants I was so lovingly caring for were in fact weeds! I had planted some cabbage seeds and mistakenly thought the weeds were my cabbages until they got bigger and I realized my mistake. A novice gardener, I am learning all the time!
My mistake then had me thinking about all the folks I have the privilege of talking to – and how they all cultivate ‘weeds’ in their career, and even in their job search efforts.
Some of the weeds in our career can grow rampant and overtake all the good things; or they may pop up here and there and make a slower transition into a fully grown weed.
Sometimes, we may not realize we are cultivating our weeds as weeds can look like something else entirely – just like my cabbage patch. It’s not until they start to grow and choke the good things that we realize the damage the weed is doing. And by then, it takes more effort to get the weeds under control.
So let me ask you… are you letting your career be choked by weeds?
You’ll realize you have a career weed when you feel discontent, or unhappiness or unease that seems to be choking the very life out of you – it’s as if the weed has tentacles that has crept into everything you do… at work, at home, in leisure activities.
Here’s how to discover your weeds and eradicate them:
1. Pinpoint an area in your career where you feel something isn’t right… be specific. For example, if you are unhappy in your job, don’t just say that. Delve deeper to identify what SPECIFICALLY you are unhappy about. If you leave it too vague you won’t be able to find the weed.
2. Once you have identified the source of your unhappiness or unease, reflect on it! When did you begin to feel that way? You’ll want to associate a timeline.
3. Next step is to identify the decision that led you to the path you are now on – the path that seems to have a lot of weeds on it. We make decisions with good intentions that serve us well at that point in time. But as you know, we don’t stand still; therefore, a decision you made for your career some time ago may no longer be serving you.
4. Spend time reflecting on the decision you made back then and, importantly, WHY it no longer serves you. What is different NOW?
5. Determine where the weeds are growing in your career. From the timeline that you recognized in Step 2 to the point where you are now… what have you been doing to cultivate your weeds? Remember, weeds can sometimes be disguised as pretty flowers… we initially think they are okay, so we pour a lot of water on them and fertilize… then suddenly, BAM! They’re massive and we realize the pretty flower is a pest that is now encroaching not just on our career, but our life… what we hold dear and what matters to us most.
6. Next, determine what steps you can take to remove the weeds from your career – WITHOUT killing anything which isn’t a weed right next to it.
Your weed may be a soul-crushing job that is impacting on your family life, your values, or your deep seated passion for the impact you want to make in your organisation or the world as a whole. If you were to pour a big can of weed killer on that weed, it will kill off whatever is sitting next to it… such as the opportunities that bring you closer to that dream job. Think of that weed killer as being: no clear vision, no solid foundation, having a dysfunctional résumé, having no strategic career or job search plan, doing what everyone else is doing by applying for advertised jobs, convincing yourself it’s a numbers game and something will come up… eventually… someday. And worse, settling for second best. Uh oh… you’ve suddenly killed the pretty flower next to the weed… the opportunities that fast track you to your dream job.
Weed killer won’t work when the weed is sitting too close to something you love or want. There is no quick fix. It requires manual digging to eliminate the big weed; taking care to preserve the other things next to it. This is where you need to lay a solid foundation first, then have a strong plan of attack so you successfully get rid of the weed without killing off something good. If you don’t position yourself correctly as an expert in your field or take a strategic approach to sourcing and landing your dream job, this is your weed killer which can kill job opportunities when not done right.
7. Lastly, celebrate your courage and commitment in completing Steps 1 to 6. Take time to thank your higher self for supporting you on your weeding journey and reflect on the gifts that the weeds actually gave you.
By the way, my poor little cabbages never did make it. You see, the weeds tricked me into thinking they were cabbages. I gave love and care to the weeds that choked the life out of any cabbages that were left. I didn’t take the time to learn or do things differently. So the weeds starved the cabbages of sun, nutrients and ultimately, life. It’s a bit like the careers I hear about every day. Folks are starving their dream career while giving power to the job they hate… because they’re not getting rid of the weeds and they’re using weed killer on things they shouldn’t use it on.
As Albert Einstein said:
“You cannot resolve a problem with the same thinking that created it.”
When you get rid of the weeds that are not serving your career and take a different approach to positioning yourself as an expert, aligning yourself as a solution, and bypassing what most people do to land a job, you feel empowered and confident. You feel in control of the direction you are taking, and you can take intelligent and inspired action so you get better results in less time.
If you’d like a chat about your career weeds and how to get rid of them without killing off your job opportunities, let’s jump on a call to see if I can give you clarity on what’s getting in your way and how you can get the results you know you deserve. Schedule your free 1-on-1 time with me here: https://www.bigoakcoaching.com/schedule/