One of my favorite things is planting a whole bunch of seeds in my garden every spring, watering them, and seeing what grows. Gardening to me is a bit like an experiment. I don't plan much, I just plant lots of different little seedlings, I water them, and then I hope for the best.
Of course, the soil must be prepped and be ready receive the roots for the seeds to gain the nutrients they need to grow into something edible and delicious. Speaking of delicious, I love carrots from the garden, but even though I really enjoy them, I wouldn't want to plant my whole garden with carrot seeds. I also love tomatoes, but I really like kale and spaghetti squash and sugar snap peas too... you get the point. I like variety. And I think a lot of people do, which is interesting, because we are often asked from an early age this question, you may have heard it before, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
You mean I only get to pick ONE thing? I want ALL THE THINGS.
For anyone who knows me, I like to do a lot of things - I like to play guitar, piano and ukulele. I love to play ultimate frisbee and trail run in the woods with my pup. I like to cook good food for people, have spontaneous dance parties and hike in the mountains and ride my bike and eat brunch and set up my hammock near the ocean... ALL THE THINGS. I want to do ALL OF THEM.
Asking me what I want to be when I grow up is like allowing me to just pick ONE of those things that I like to do and do that forever...and well... that sounds really boring and I don't like being bored.
This is what I am discovering is true for me in my career right now as I continue to explore what is next for me. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and getting to advise college students and help them navigate the complicated and sometimes overwhelming world of college, but I have this desire to make a bigger impact in the world. Sometimes it has felt hard to know how I am going to do that. I have asked myself lots of questions like, What is my "niche"? Who am I serving? What is it that I REALLY want to do? Or as Scott Dinsmore would say, "What is the work you can't not do?"
There are just so many things that I want to do and it feels hard to choose just one... But I am realizing that maybe I don't have to... at least not right now.
So, over the past six months or so I have been planting LOTS of different seeds...
Youth Speaker seeds, Life Coach seeds, Workshop Facilitator seeds, Retreat Leader seeds and I have been watering them by reading books and blogs, going to conferences, talking with people and finding the confidence to take a lot of IMPERFECT ACTION to begin to build some momentum.
Here is a snap shot of the seeds and how they have grown over the past few months...
A year ago I probably didn't even know that people got paid to be a "Youth Speaker". When I discovered that I could actually get paid to inspire students, I began to put in a lot of time, money and energy into finding ways to make this a reality. After months of watering this seed, this coming Tuesday, I am going to speak to my largest audience yet of 400 high schoolers - and get paid for it! Seriously!? That is amazing :) I will let you know in next week's post how it goes - so stay tuned.
Around the same time, I thought it would be cool to start doing some life coaching for people, since my friends and others seemed to come to me often for advice. Just this past month, I signed on my first coaching client who I am thrilled to be doing some incredible work with. If you are interested in finding out more about coaching with me - let me know - my ultimate goal is helping you CREATE AND LIVE A LIFE THAT YOU REALLY LOVE.
For a while, I have been talking about putting on a retreat for women and this past summer, I co-led a Women's Wilderness Retreat in the North Cascades called Peak Connection and am planning to take that forward and expand on that platform around creating spaces and places that allow us to be our best selves.
AND on top of all of that, I co-convened a regional conference, developed a brand new weekend-long program for first-generation freshmen at Western and have facilitated a handful of workshops on active listening and growth mindset.
WHEW! The seeds are planted, and they are now starting to grow. Sometimes, it feels like it takes a long time from when you plant the seeds until the time you get to eat those delicious vegetables and then all of a sudden you don't know what to do with all the food you have to eat.
I wonder what would happen if we started to look at our careers in this way, especially for those of us who are trying to figure out our "next". Instead of making big giant leaps from one career to the next, begin to plant some seeds based on what you are interested in and curious about. Experiment with your ideas before going back to grad school for another 2 or 3 years... maybe you will figure out what it is that you really want to do... or maybe you will even find that you can in fact do ALL THE THINGS.
Plant Your Seeds. Water Them. See What Grows.