Planting Seeds — No Effort is Wasted

9 01 2009

tree2009-istock_000007693258small2A few weeks ago, a dear friend said, “I feel like a rat on a treadmill,” when describing her many calls, emails and meetings to find work. She felt she was working so hard, yet getting little or no return.

First of all, I asked her to dump that image immediately since it wasn’t a reflection of reality. She is a talented and incredible person, so the rat analogy couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, I told her to look at it as “planting seeds.”

When we think of our efforts as planting seeds, the picture changes.

If the current economy looks like a cold and barren field, shift your perspective to see it as promising soil that’s rich in nutrients and a solid foundation for roots to grow and plants to flourish.

And there’s no telling which seed (or action) is going to bring about the magic results! The goal is to plant a LOT of seeds. Water them regularly (that means that good follow up on your actions will help to make things happen).

Some seeds will sprout too early and get hit by frost, while others get nipped in the bud by wayward rabbits. Yet some seeds will sprout at the right time and grow to yield a healthy harvest.

But it’s important to remember that when you’re first planting those seeds, you never know which one is going to be the one that’ll bear the most fruit. That’s half the fun of it — and most of the frustration, too.

I’m not suggesting that that any action is a good action. Some things will be a good use of your time, while others may be a waste. Test out some new activities and see if they produce results. But even what seems like a waste turns into an excellent learning experience. There are many times I’ve told myself, “Well, I won’t do THAT again!”

It’s definitely worth focusing your efforts on a few key things you can give your best efforts, and where you can do good follow up. In the seed analogy, a farmer doesn’t mix up the seeds from different plant types and toss them around. There is careful thought in deciding which kind of plants go into which rows, and where the sunlight and drainage are appropriate for each type of plant.

The same goes for your job search efforts. It’s worth it to choose a few smart things you can do, and then do them regularly. Don’t lose hope when things don’t happen as quickly as you planned. Your hard work is bound to pay off in some unexpected ways!

During the upcoming months, I will ask the hiring experts in the KIT List community to share their advice and tips with job seekers through this blog. Also, job seekers can share their best techniques to help others find great work. This will help us all to figure out the best seeds to plant!

In the meantime, feel free to share your own ideas and tips in the Comments section so everyone can benefit. Thanks!