Business

Wednesday 18 September 2019

A guide for all seasons - plant those seeds of success

The Communicator

'You can mentor, encourage and advise young professionals' (stock photo)
'You can mentor, encourage and advise young professionals' (stock photo)

Gina London

As you read this in the Sunday paper, I will be on a plane bound for Australia where I'm to be the featured keynote speaker at Facebook's future of work HR and communications conclave in Sydney.

Although I did speak before a public audience last year in New Zealand, this will be my first major event in Australia.

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In addition to the keynote, I'll be leading a masterclass in culture and communications, and hosting a series of executive dinners alongside my local strategic partner, Enablo, the preferred provider of Facebook's workplace employee engagement platform.

I tell you this not to brag, but to share with you the tremendous feeling I've been experiencing since this trip was confirmed - the thrill of anticipation of working with the many business leaders I will meet during my three-city visit.

I'm reminded of that old song from The Byrds, "To everything (turn, turn, turn); There is a season (turn, turn, turn)…." Those lyrics, in turn (get it?), are lifted from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, which states basically the same thing. There's a season for everything. And right now, I'm feeling like I'm in the season of abundance.

As students returned to school and friends posted "goodbye to summer" photos on Instagram (and, of course, Facebook), it's clear we are all in the season of abundance. It's autumn. It's the time to share the bounty of harvest.

But maybe you're not feeling the same way I am right now. Maybe you're feeling you're not yet in the position to share your cornucopia of plenty with others around you.

That's because, as a reader recently suggested to me, the trajectory of our careers can be compared with the changing of the seasons. I may be in fall, as this transplanted American still prefers to say, but maybe you're in spring, or summer or winter.

Like the seasons, your professional life contains a time to sow, a time to grow, a time to reap. It's important to make strategic decisions and actions during each phase to get the most out of the next.

Let's examine your career path through the pages of a calendar.

Spring

You're in your early 20s and 30s. This is the birth-time of your career. The time when you're planting what you want to nurture.

What are the seeds? Your education path is seed number one. But there are many. What are you studying? How are your grades? What are your outside activities? Community? Sport? Are you leaning more toward academia or practitioner? Who are you beginning to associate with? What networks are you cultivating? What experience are you getting? Internships? Apprenticeships? More education?

These seeds grow into the brand of you, that you will sell. Make no mistake, we're all salespeople.

Summer

Now you're in your mid 30s to early 40s. The seeds you have planted should be in full bloom. You've blossomed into an active contributor in your field.

It's time that you achieve an expert-level or managerial position, depending on your profession at this point.

Experts observe if you haven't obtained some form of leadership role during this time, it will be difficult to do so later on.

But even if you haven't yet, don't stop your commitment to growth.

How can you layer on additional education? How can you expand and enrich your network? What professional organisations can you join to broaden your reach? Like a leafy vine, this is the perfect time to stretch.

Autumn

You are in your 40s and early 50s now. You should be reaping the rewards from the seeds you planted of education and commitment to networking and gaining experience.

As with summer, however, this season doesn't imply it's time to sit back, kick off your gardening shoes and rest.

This time of your professional career could present a tremendous opportunity to expand your role toward even more leadership responsibilities, or perhaps you can make a "leader-shift" into a whole new industry or related sector.

Where else would you like to serve? And in what way?

You should have enough combined confidence, clout and content that you can explore and get creative.

Winter

OK, you've reached your late 50s, 60s and beyond. First off, don't picture this season with stark, bare trees, frigid temperatures and a lifeless icy tundra.

No. My winter in this comparative calendar is filled with large, fragrant evergreens. By this time, you should have influence. You will have cultivated an influential network.

The combination of all of you together in one room is a magnificent forest - bestowing comfort and strength to the next generation that rightly look up to you.

You can mentor, encourage and advise young professionals.

But this is not only a legacy play, you can also gain super insights and stay current on trends when you build your network among the next generation.

This is an opportunity for you to stay relevant while you continue to contribute.

Where are you today? I realise you may feel stuck in a perpetual season. Sometimes you won't harvest your seeds for a decade. But please, keep planting.

Sunday Indo Business

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