Let’s face it, it’s frustrating when you feel like the effort you’re putting into advancing your career or business is getting you nowhere. Just like a farmer who plants seeds in the ground expects a harvest, we expect to see results from the time and energy we invest in professional success. But in order for that farmer (and you) to reap a good harvest, here are five steps that need to be followed:
Know What Season You’re In
There is a season for sowing and a season for reaping. It’s important to know and respect the season you’re in, or else you may be disappointed. Once your seeds are sown, it takes time for your crop to develop. You wouldn’t plant watermelon seeds today and expect to eat it for breakfast tomorrow. Just the same, launching your website or finishing your degree won’t necessarily mean a six-figure payday next month. A number of things must take place before a crop is ready. The hard outer shell of the seed must be broken, roots need to develop and the fragile new growth must be continuously nourished. Be grateful for the process that may force you to be broken, the time it takes to grow deep roots and the effort necessary to cultivate continuous development.
Plant According to the Harvest you Want to Reap
Before we start planting, we need to ask ourselves exactly what type of harvest we’re looking to reap. What does “career stability” mean? What does your definition of business success really look like? Earning one dollar above expenses (that’s profitable) or a million gross? Once you know what you want, make sure you’re planting the right seed or are engaged in the right activity to get there. Just like cucumber seeds won’t yield an apple tree, you won’t achieve the goal of building your professional network if you never associate with anyone outside of your circle.
Sow Multiple Crops
In 2002, harsh conditions in the chemical industry (which I was working in at the time) lead to downsizing in my company. I remember many of my colleagues being completely unnerved about how they would support their families if they lost their jobs. Have you ever truly stopped to realize that worrying can’t add a day to your life or a dollar to your bank account? Instead of working myself into a tizzy, I pulled out my journal and made a list of every possible way I could bring in income based on what I already knew and had. And although I survived that round of layoffs, I realized there were things on that list that I still wanted to pursue.
In Ecclesiastes 11:6, Biblical wisdom tells us that of the seeds we sow, we don’t know which will succeed. So wouldn’t it be prudent to sow multiple crops? My company has three income streams – coaching and training, speaking and product sales. If one is floundering, I have two more to depend on. And I’m a firm believer that everyone should have a “hustle” – something you could do right now to bring income if you needed to (legally, of course!). But remember, crops need continuous cultivating to prosper, so don’t take on more than you can manage.
Protect Your Seed
Pestilence is one of the biggest enemies of farmers and their growing crops. This can come in the form of insects, animals or disease. If we want to reap a bountiful harvest, we have to protect our crops from pestilence. Some of the biggest threats to our harvest are negativity, fear and doubt. Watch the company you keep, the thoughts you think and the words you speak. Create good ground for your crops by replacing fear, doubt and negativity with positive truth.
Don’t Sleep Through the Harvest
If you’ve been planting the right seed, cultivating, nourishing and protecting it, after time, harvest season will arrive. Don’t be mistaken – harvesting can take more effort than sowing! I’ll have to admit, I’ve been guilty of putting in great effort to attract potential clients and then failing to follow up even after people tell me they’re interested in working with me. Proverbs – the book of wisdom – calls one who sleeps during harvest disgraceful. You may have business deals or career opportunities ripe for the picking, but it still requires some work on your part. Do your part to reap the full benefits of your time, effort and patience. Don’t get caught sleeping during harvest.
Could you use some help figuring out the right seeds to plant for the professional harvest you’re looking to reap or strategy and accountability to properly develop your crops? Get a copy of my book, 5 Rules to Win Being You.