Over the last three years, I have been focusing attention on increasing my counseling practice as a clinical consultant and an executive coach. I created a vision of the end result I was seeking and then worked to incorporate goal-setting, actions and timelines to produce the intended results. My vision has evolved and often brought more clarity and new opportunities. One of my most significant learnings through this process was the practice of patience.
I was committed to following my heart, expanding connections that were part of my passion and being supported by my spiritual and professional beliefs. I operated from faith --- trusting the evidence of things felt but still unseen. I nurtured my vision with daily meditation and followed an action plan of specific practice-building strategies, including:
1. Personally contacting past referral sources
2. Accepting invitations for speaking engagements to potential client groups
3. Offering pro bono services to gain important experience and testimonials
4. Extending contractual agreements when appropriate
Once I followed my plan of action, I discovered that the changes were varied but eventually certain. I was reminded of my childhood experience of planting seeds. Expanding my practice is like planting a seed, nurturing its growth, and trusting that my efforts would come to fruition at the appropriate time and season. My Dad had been an agriculture major and was always teaching us to grow things. Patience was a necessary part of planting as different seeds had different cycles to maturity. I watched vegetables and some fruits grow and reach their full ripe state in a matter of weeks. A tree often took several years. I remember the pets that I raised. A puppy was a work in progress taking lots of time and energy. In a few months, the grown dog was a dear friend and a protector. I watched pigs, calves, rabbits and chickens grow from babies or fertilized eggs and become full-grown animals and playmates over several weeks or months. After many seasons, I stopped questioning how long it would take before my plants or animals were fully mature. I learned their cycles and patience while nurturing their growth in the meantime.
I see where I can practice patience in many areas of my life. Now, as I coach and counsel, I am sometimes still an excited little girl helping someone else to plant a seed. Knowledge and experience become the water. Self-reflection is the sun. Some glitches and setbacks are like an occasional storm. The plant may be a little damaged but it still can survive. We wait for the drying out of the earth. That is when we rest and review. We may need to change the fertilizer, adjust the watering schedule, dig a trench to slough off any excess mud, and get the planting area back to its ideal state for growth. The time this takes will vary with the nature of the seed. Even seeds from the same plant family may take different times to reach maturity. The watching is like our listening as we wait for the slightest change to show up. Each shift in attention, each sign of wonder or inventiveness, each choice to embrace a new way of thinking or managing --- these are the growth buds.
What cycles for growth are you experiencing right now? A promotion can be an exciting adventure to one person as they dive right in and get to work. For another, it may be a painful process, first letting go of the past before embracing the new opportunity. A new boss can create a sense of anticipation for some and intense anxiety for others.
What are you seeking to create? What are you willing to do to make that happen? Are you willing to practice patience through your own cycles of change? What do you need to do differently to get the necessary results? How can we, as executive coaches, or other mentors and supporters help you to bring forth your fruit in your own season?
With Warm Regards,
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