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Yes, you read it right. Career skills, interviewing and gardening–what? I am sure you are wondering what in the world is this gal talking about. Well, I thought I would share my personal story.
If you are a “working gal” like me, the new year brings a time when you consider not just the usual getting in shape goals, but also reflecting on your career. In January, I try to reflect on strengths, weakness as well as formulate a annual plan for my career. You know what “they”say, if you don’t set goals, you won’t reach them.
So one of my weakest skills–you could say both in life and work is PATIENCE. Interestingly, this is one of the most needed skills in the work world today. A little background that may intensify my lack of patience….so my area of expertise is innovation–mostly in marketing–but have done lots of program and even product development. In an innovative role, things move at the speed of light and you are constantly racing against the clock….but just like a good joke, introducing innovation is all about timing. The market, the consumer or your target audience has to be ready in order for you to be successful. Patience is a much needed skill for success and happiness. And that is where my garden has come in…
Gardening teaches patience. You plant a seed or a small plant and you don’t see instant success. No, you have to nurture it, you have to wait for it. And then you see the reward for that hard work and waiting. And for some plants like biennials–you have to wait every other year for it! And cycle of waiting and reward doesn’t happen once…no, it happens over and over therefore re-enforcing patience. If you aren’t a natural at something it takes repetition and success in order for it to stick and that is exactly what my garden has done over the years. When I get frustrated at work because something isn’t moving as quick as I expect, I try to always remind myself of my garden.
Ok–so you believe me a little, but I am sure you are still skeptical about how to weave this in an interview. This is what I have done.
For me in any interview the number one question I dread is….
Q: What is your greatest weakness?
A: I would say my greatest weakness is patience. Many of my successes in my career have come from my ability to identify trends and quickly capitalize on them before they become main stream and routine, therefore patience isn’t necessarily a must have. With that being said, I have seen many innovative ideas die on the vine because the market isn’t ready, and therefore patience is a key skill I identified to improve. And true to my brand, I took an innovative approach in improving this skill. I started a garden and a garden blog in order to learn patience and then apply that skill to my work. So far so good, I have written my garden blog with a partner for more than a year and that has really helped keep my garden progressing and my patience blooming.
So convinced yet? If nothing else, if you are struggling for an answer perhaps my answer will inspire yours.
In addition to building my weakness, it also serves as a major stress reliever.
So that’s my how to…do you have other thoughts? Are there are skills a garden can build to help in your career, if so share.
Sounds like a line from a bad 80′s romantic comedy, huh?
Well, it is true. I have such a hard time committing when I garden. Ok, true confessions, my yard is mostly grass…how boring! And not even good grass at that…but for another post indeed.
So I am a little jealous of Chris’s path…it is dramatic and beautiful. But for me a super BOLD move, hence why I have no path.
Here are my fears that keep me from making the leap:
1)Bold move, could mean expensive…and what if it doesn’t look good?
2)I just don’t have the vision. You know some people can visualize things…i just don’t have that. I have this problem in junk shops and yard sales too. I want to find something and transform it. But that is where my imagination falls off a cliff.
3)Hard scapes…brick, stone, 2X4, old railroad ties, slate pieces….i just can’t do it. Believe me, I have gone to those places that sell this stuff. Even the best sales person couldn’t get me to commit. Plus, there are so many choices….
4)Lack of knowledge…what if I pick a plant there or a bush here and it is the wrong spot and the other stuff I mix it with doesn’t have the same needs. Yikes!
So that is my true confession…I just can’t commit. How about you?
In response to my own neurotic sparring, I pledge to take baby steps. As the weather warms, I will pick out one spot in my yard and transform it. I will do some homework, finally get the nerve to commit at the hard-scape place and share the progress with you all. How about you? Ready to take a baby step? Take the transform-one-corner-and-commit-challenge with me?
So new year begins and this blog is a result of a promise to a wise friend and amazing gardener. You will find much more as you follow us on an incredible journey in the garden.
Chris already told you how I officially started–home ownership! But that is only part of the story, actually, I have been a garden lover since I can remember. My grandmother used to quiz me as we strolled through hers. She married the lead horticulturist for Tryon Palace for a time, which fueled her garden love and, luckily, as a byproduct my knowledge. I used to say when I was in high school I wanted to be a horticulturist…not a heart surgeon or lawyer…but that was short-lived when I found out how much chemistry was involved. But I did have the honor to take a class in college with the famous Dr Clifford Parks. Not only was it cool that I walked around campus and identified plants during class, but I learned to graph, start seeds and those kinds of things…(cooler part, was I “sweet talked” my way in the class and was very fortunate to skip freshman biology for my handiwork). While I have fond memories of that class, the knowledge part has since faded into the partying past.
While many of my generation conjure up images of retired people and gardening, I think gardening has a lot to offer peeps of my era–my generation (those younger or a bit older) have been raised within the digital revolution. We have had a far easier time than generations before, i.e. not much manual labor here. While I always joke I went to college so I didn’t have to do manual labor, I find it has tremendous value that I never imagined. And all this digital stuff has unfortunately taken away something majestic..working with your hands and getting dirty.
So the point…What’s up with the rain gauge title...well, I got one for Christmas. Not one of those fancy Smith and Hawkins ones..just a plain old tubular rain gauge. I feel like it is one of those rights of passage as a gardener..like getting your first watering can, or buying your first bags of dirt and compost(never thought I would spend my money on chicken poo) and many others, which we will get to later.
Here it is..mounted on my deck, ready to gauge rainfall. Yeah, I probably could look it up…but that is not the point. What is…actively engaged in the process…getting dirty, writing what you find down, and learning from it all. Not sure how I am going to use that info, perhaps Chris can help me(and you), but I got one. It is installed and ready for its first collection.
First take away of this blog: why I garden, why I blog about it?
Why I garden? In short..it’s fun–working with the earth, seeing the miracle of something from almost nothing and eating veggies and herbs I grew, plus lots more. It is hard to describe actually, hence why the blog. I wanted to share with you. I found, even in this internet age, it is hard to find practical info on how to garden. You usually find academic stuff, professional stuff or super-condescending beginner stuff…my quest is to share with you the joy and the knowledge that will help us all be better gardeners and make the world a prettier place. So I ask you, why you do or do not garden? What are your top 3 excuses for not gardening? Do you have info or sites you have found that could help us?
Cheers to the New Year…in the garden.