Those of you that know me hear all the time of my ‘farmer-wannabe’ desire, and you know I’m slowly making that dream a reality.This morning I was watering my garden, which is in the process of transitioning from summer to winter produce, and I was thinking about crop rotation and soil nutrition. All of a sudden it hit me – we should recharge ourselves like we do our soil! You’re probably thinking I’ve finally gone off the cliff but hear me out – I think you’ll love it!
I’ve talked in the past about how to bring your best, but how do you recharge and re-energize? Gardeners (and farmers) know that to get the most out of your crops, you need to take care of the soil. One of the best ways to do this is to rotate your crops and incorporate plants that are beneficial to the soil, like legumes. These plants actually put nitrogen into the soil, giving it a natural nutrient boost. This isn’t a quick fix - it takes time - but the soil benefits, releasing these nutrients for the next round of plants. So, as I was watering my peas, I wondered how people recharge and bring back that spark for what they’re doing. It is not just about showing up their best, but deep-down recharging.
What I have learned personally, and from my coaching clients, is that if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, we get stale.Apply this to our garden/farm analogy and if you plant the same crop in the soil, the nutrients are depleted, and the plants become weaker and more prone to disease. I think the same happens to us, and I’d like to propose three ways you can inject ‘nutrients’ into your routine that build fertile ground for creativity and energy.
Take on new projects. Look for opportunities to stretch yourself. Whether it is at work or for personal achievement, learn how to do a new skill, or understand how a given activity may impact something you do. Examples of this at work could be as simple as talking to or shadowing someone whose work influences what you do– either feeding into your work or utilizing the output of your work.
Look for efficiencies. Here’s a way for you to express opinions on how things could be better, or how it could be done differently. When you have a genuine intent to improve, rather than criticize, most people are generally receptive to simplifying approaches or processes.
Create opportunities to help others. A great way to recharge our batteries is to help others. There is a good bit of evidence that shows helping others makes us happy (one example). In a work setting, if you shared your knowledge and expertise with others (think lunch and learn), there is an opportunity to create a positive culture where ideas and experiences can be additive.
“Oh yes,” I hear you say, “but I’m too busy, I have no time.” My thought to you is that if you are noticing that you are stale, then you should truly reflect on your activities and make time to recharge your ‘soil.’ Understand why you are doing this and what is motivating you. Perhaps there’s a bit of self-interest: increased visibility could result in career advancement, but with the right intent this can be balanced with selfless motivation to help others. These ideas will not only recharge you, but will create an environment that energize others.Identifying ways to inject your metaphorical nitrogen (just a thought) will create a culture around you that also feeds your needs.