The Organizer #18 | Personal Growth

How do I grow in my job? Growth should be about discovering what fuels you and practicing habits that make you stronger.

How you grow at work

You grow at work, whether or not you want it, plan it, or enjoy it. It happens when you are paying attention, and it happens when you are looking the other way.

When you grow, some things become more familiar, easier to repeat. These are usually the things you practice, the things you do often. You grow better at something, more confident. Or, you develop a deep-held belief that you “can’t” do something, a quirk becomes normalized.

Growth isn’t good or bad. It just is. And it’s inevitable.

How you spend your time is how you grow

When it comes to social impact work, people don’t like to admit that training and skills matter. We like to think that good work is done by heroic types, that change has more to do with our personalities and our identities than with practice and habit.

In truth, how we spend our time affects how we grow. We get better at what we practice. We equip ourselves for equity, sustainability, and compassion. Or, we train ourselves to be disconnected, fearful, protective of the status quo.

Don’t try to “fix” yourself

If I ask you to think about how you want to grow, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a weakness? Something you aren’t “good” at? An area where you feel yourself lacking?

Do you assume you need to “fix” something about yourself? Make some broken bit whole?

For some reason, when we think about personal development and personal growth, we focus on the negative. We compare ourselves to an impossible standard or dwell on our faults. We think of all the things we aren’t.

Personal growth isn’t supposed to be a struggle for perfection. It isn’t an assignment reserved for people who aren’t “good enough”. As long as we breathe and eat and live, we’re developing. All of us.

So why not find a better way?

Learn how to grow from daisies

When I lose sight of what growth means, I look to plants.

Right now, I am learning from daisies.

Sunlight is their fuel, so daisies grow towards it.

Daisies face east when the sun rises in the morning. They slowly turn their heads during the day, following the sun as it arcs westward across the sky.

Daisies are onto something.

Growth doesn’t have to be about filling voids and fixing imperfections. It can be about discovering what fuels you and learning which habits make you stronger. When you lean in that direction, growth comes from a place of joy.

Your effort is worth it

Your growth shapes your work, and your work shapes your community.

This is not an easy time to work for public health, racial equity, or environmental protection. Every day seems to bring more tragedy as communities are rocked by hatred, violence, fear, and selfishness. Our communities need us.

Doing nothing isn’t an option. But judgement, intolerance, and a need to conquer “weakness” are part of the problem. We shouldn’t practice those behaviours.

Instead, we should grow like daisies. Look for the light. Find the sun. Practice activities that give strength. Rest. Then open up and follow the light again.

It’s a better way to thrive in this world. It empowers us to return day after day, season after season.

This is the better way to grow.

How to grow as a better ally at work

The Organizer is a weekly newsletter for people working to create equitable and sustainable communities. Whether you are part of a nonprofit, a charity, or a social enterprise, this newsletter is for you.

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