We are in the season of cultivating

To cultivate is to nurture, help something grow, or improve its growth. When I think of cultivating, I immediately think of my plants. I am an average gardener, but I like to see my plants grow and flourish. So, since we are approaching springtime, I started looking at my plants.

One plant needs to be moved into a larger pot to continue growing. Some leaves are dying because they don’t have enough room to grow. Because of my average skills in this area, I’m worried that if I move the plant into a bigger pot, it won’t flourish or, worse, it will die.

Does this sound familiar to you in terms of career or leadership? Do you feel stagnant but are worried about moving onto a bigger job, taking a more impactful leadership position, or a high-profile project? The risks and the fears of what might happen to tend to shut down the action for moving forward.

Is it possible to over-cultivate?

I also have some outside plants that grew larger than I expected. They are now shading ones that need sun. Do I cut back the ones that grew bigger than intended, or do I move the ones currently being unintentionally shaded to a new spot so they can continue to grow as well?

This scenario can be applied to looking at our strengths. Are you currently overutilizing a few of your strengths? Has this caused those strengths to shade or diminish some other attributes you want to bring? Do you need to dial back your overused strength? Do you need to step into some different strengths intentionally so they have time to grow in the sun?

What have you grown that’s doing really well?

I also look at my outside plants as a whole garden. What plants are doing well where they are planted? Is something missing? What didn’t survive the ice storm, and what else might be needed in its place? As leaders, we must look at the whole picture, the entire team and the leaders reporting to us. This is about cultivating an atmosphere for continued growth and compassion.

Then we must ask ourselves: which areas of our team and what people need additional attention from us to continue growing and developing in valuable ways? Which individuals are ready for their time in the sun to grow larger and have a more significant presence? 

In this season of cultivating, I encourage you to look at your leadership and career

  • What areas of your career or leadership need some focus or nurturing?  
  • What goals or intentions need some refocus?
  • How do you need to cultivate your leaders and your team? How can you help them grow and develop? 
  • Which areas have you put on the back burner that needs moving to the front?
  • Are there opportunities you avoid because the risks seem too high right now? 
  • What new mindset do you need to bring to the foreground? Or what old perspective has lived out its usefulness and needs to be removed?
  • In what ways do you need to feel discomfort to cultivate and grow?
  • What important, but not urgent, projects need your attention so they can continue moving forward?
  • Are there relationships and connections you need to spend some time building now?
  • Which team members are you spending less time with? What might you cultivate if you shift some time to that member?
  • When are your beliefs limiting your perspective?
  • What behaviors must you demonstrate more often to align with the leader you want to be?
  • Are there skills you want to learn that would round some gaps you must spend time on?

To grow, we need to spend time nurturing that growth

If we don’t focus on how we want to grow, how we want to improve, and how we want to nurture that growth, we end up with results that don’t serve us in the long run. We are like a garden. We all need the right soil, amount of watering, climate conditions, and placement to cultivate and grow to our very best. And this is what we need to nurture our development. 

To do that, we must reflect and decide what to focus on and how to achieve the desired results.