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How to thrive at work – do your soil test

How to thrive at work – do your soil test

Not happy at work? Feeling the effects of burnout? Maybe it’s time for a soil test to learn how you can thrive at work.

Before you start reading check our latest FREE Masterclass on Burnout.

Why do gardens and soil have anything to do with my career?

Well, indulge me a little while I explain.

When it comes to a thriving career, at Career Matters we believe that environment makes the difference.

We’re all unique and much like any plant in the garden, we’re designed to thrive at work in certain conditions.

So, imagine you are a plant and the soil that you are planted in represents the environmental fit of your work place, surely you’d want to make sure you’re in the right spot to enable you to flourish and be at your best?

Well, the environmental fit (aka the soil) is made up of lots of key elements; the hours you work, the location, the pace of work, the culture and values of organisation, the style and approach (i.e. lots of freedom and autonomy vs. structure and hierarchy), the size of the organisation, the people and many more.

We want to make sure the soil we are in is nourishing us and suits our uniqueness, if not we’re unlikely to thrive at work.

I’ve had many coaching conversations over the years where people are frustrated, exhausted, de-motivated and have simply lost their mojo.

Yet they’re surprised, they feel they should love the job, it’s what they’re passionate about, they’ve got bags of the right skills for it and they get to make a real difference…but for some reason they’re unhappy.

That’s when we start exploring the environment of where they work.

Low and behold, it’s usually the soil that’s the problem.

So ask yourself;

Thrive at work -  by Zoë Schofield

★ Am I thriving in this soil at the moment?

★ What are the key ingredients of the perfect soil for me?

★ What ingredients need to change or be tweaked to help improve the soil?

★ When I reflect on my career so far, when has the soil felt better and why?

★ What actions can I take to make a change?

Of course, the outcome doesn’t always mean you have to leave the place you work, sometimes it’s a conversation that is needed with your manager about changes that you think would help you to thrive at work.

Maybe there is even another part of the organisation (aka the garden) that would be better suited to you, one that has those key ingredients that you feel are missing.

Either way, one thing’s for sure, nothing will change if nothing changes.

So just starting with a little reflection exercise for yourself on what’s going on in your soil right now may be just the trigger you need to start improving the conditions.

If you’d like to explore our thoughts on the other key components of a thriving career, dive into our video on The Career Equation®, it’s our simple, practical and yet very powerful framework for career alignment and the basis for thousands of empowering Career Conversations.

Here are 3 inspiring case studies for you to thrive at work

1. A little adjustment = I think my soil needs some nourishment!

Feeling torn between work and parental responsibilities was leaving one of my clients feeling stressed, exhausted and a failure.

She had been back from maternity leave for about 12 months when we first met and I could see that the situation was taking its toll.

Her department was about to embark on a restructure and she was concerned that if she didn’t continue full-time, she would not be able to keep her team leader role.

We spent some time understanding what good would look like for her and challenging her thoughts and assumptions on what was possible.

Through this process she was able to see that she had to make some changes to enable her to feel fulfilled at both work and home, and that it may even present an opportunity for others in the team.

Having explored this further, she felt empowered to have a discussion with her manager as was able to provide a potential solution that worked for her and the business, with minimal cost implications.

This was really about make small but significant changes that ultimately made a huge difference to her work-life balance.

2. A change of role and department = I like this garden…just not this spot!

One of my clients who worked in local government, whilst loving working in the public sector, just felt that she needed a new challenge in a role that would have more autonomy, be at the coal face, still give her the opportunity to develop her own leadership style but in an area that would feel like a family.

Our exploration and discussions on how she likes to feel at work, what matters most to her about the environment she works in and what she wanted to avoid, helped her to create a wish-list of key ingredients for her work soil.

This proved invaluable during the organisational transformation project when she had to preference for a future role, using this new insight gave her the clarity and confidence to go after a position leading a frontline team that she would never have considered previously.

3. Time to leave – I’ve changed…I’d like to find a new garden!

Another of my clients had lost her career mojo, she was still doing a great job but an organisational restructure had caused her to feel unhappy, stressed, isolated and as if she was being set up for failure.

There was a role for her to apply for in the new structure but the thought of it left her feeling cold, uninspired and thinking there must be another option.

Not only that, she wanted to be able to utilise her unique personal experiences to support and encourage others facing similar situations.

When we explored what kind of environment would best suit her, she described a place where she would feel recognised and valued, making a tangible difference to people’s lives, being proud of what she did, with a strong feeling of connection morally and ethically to the work.

Discovering all the key ingredients for her perfect career soil made it so clear to her that her existing organisation was never going to nurture her and help her to flourish in that way, and so she embarked on her plan to leave and retrain.

Enjoy your soil test and good luck cultivating your perfect spot in the garden! Want to get in touch? Connect with Zoe on LinkedIn.

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