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Learn to stop and recognise the fruits of your labours

August 16, 2023

Picking beans has to be one of my favourite allotment jobs. Firstly, you don’t have to bend down which is rare for allotment jobs, and secondly because of their incredible abundance.

Hunting among the tangle of twisting stems and palm-sized leaves, you find the slim, silky pods hanging in rows like newly drip-dried candles. If you’ve been away, like we’ve been, the abundance is almost overwhelming. It’s the most mindful of tasks too. Ruffling through the greenery to spot the treasure is totally absorbing. My mind switches off and I often find ideas pop into the quiet.

Can you see what your efforts are producing?

Picking the holiday haul this last weekend, I was struck by the thought that with gardening, it’s easy to see the return for your efforts, but what if your job doesn’t produce results you can so easily hold in your hand?

We always take a photo of the post-holiday harvest because it’s so satisfying to see the fruits of our labours. But what if your job is about change management or quality control, data processing or leading through others? What do you photograph at the end of the day to help you stand back and proudly recognise your achievements?

What you might be missing out on if you don’t stop to recognise your achievements

One of the things I find my coaching clients appreciate and benefit from is the opportunity to stop and reflect on what they have achieved or what they are already doing to help themselves through a challenging situation.

Some people do this more naturally than others.

In my experience, people who are driven by high-achievement rarely stop to recognise their successes. Having climbed one mountain, they’re too busy looking at the next one to enjoy the view from where they are. Which is sad because it means they’re missing out on:

  • motivation and confidence: acknowledging achievements boosts motivation, builds confidence, and combats imposter syndrome, reminding you of your capabilities (high-achievers are often driven by a fear of being ‘found out’).
  • progress and perspective: recognizing accomplishments helps track progress, broadening your perspective to value the journey not just the end result, and reduces stress by highlighting the positive outcome of your hard work.
  • positive mindset and growth: this practice fosters a positive mindset, encourages gratitude (another stress combatant), and helps you see what you’re learning, which is as important as what you produce.
5 questions to help you reflect on your own harvest

So what does your harvest look like? What seeds have you sown recently and how are they producing fruit? Here are 5 questions to prompt your thinking:

  1. What have you achieved or are proud of?
  2. How have you grown? (in skills, knowledge and personal attributes like patience or resilience)
  3. What impact have you had? (positive impacts on yourself, others, your workplace, your environment)
  4. What challenges have you overcome?
  5. What lessons have you learned?

As I say, this doesn’t come naturally for everyone but like all things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. 

It’s especially beneficial if you’re going through some tough stuff: it reminds you that even when life’s like wading through treacle, you’re still moving forwards. 

If you’d like an objective listener to help spot your successes, you can book a one-off Sounding Board session with me. For those high-achievers, or people pleasers who constantly give to others and rarely stop to fill their own cup, you’ll find this an energizing and replenishing hour just about YOU. It’s something I love helping people do as much as I love picking beans!

About me

I’m Celia Clark. I’m a career development coach based in the dreaming spires of Oxford. I help you think clearly about your job, in all its ups and downs, so you can be happy and successful in your work.

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